Wednesday, September 20, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Worms in the Sand: Systematic Revision of the Australian Blindsnake Anilios leptosoma (Robb, 1972) Species Complex (Squamata: Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae) from the Geraldton Sandplain, with Description of Two New Species

 Anilios obtusifrons Ellis & Doughty,
  in Ellis, Doughty, Donnellan, Marin & Vidal, 2017 


The blindsnake genus Anilios (formerly Ramphotyphlops) is the largest and most diverse genus of snakes in Australia with 45 currently recognized species. Recent molecular genetic studies of the genus have identified high levels of cryptic diversity within many taxa, suggesting true species diversity is greatly underestimated. Anilios leptosoma is a slender blindsnake endemic to the mid-west of Western Australia. Although morphological variation has been identified within the species in the past, the systematics and true diversity remained unstudied. Here we use recent molecular data to guide a reappraisal of morphology in order to provide a taxonomic revision of the A. leptosoma species complex. We redescribe Aleptosoma and describe two new species that occur to the south of most of true A. leptosoma’s distribution: A. systenos sp. nov. and Aobtusifrons sp. nov. Anilios systenos sp. nov. is known from the Geraldton region with the furthest record only 100 km to the north-east, a very small range for a species of snake. Anilios obtusifrons sp. nov. has an even smaller distribution, as it is only known from a small coastal area south of Kalbarri and may represent a range-restricted taxa. All species are genetically divergent from each other and can be distinguished by consistent morphological characteristics, including the shape of the snout, the termination point of the rostral cleft and number of mid-body scale rows and ventral scales.

Keywords:  Reptilia, taxonomy, morphology, mtDNA, nDNA, cryptic species, cryptic diversity, Ramphotyphlops leptosomaAnilios systenos sp. nov., Anilios obtusifrons sp. nov., Western Australia

Typhlopidae Merrem, 1820
Anilios Gray, 1845

Type species. Anilios australis Gray, 1845, by subsequent designation by Stejneger (1904) [p. 683].

Etymology. Masculine noun formed from the Greek words annot and heliossun (without sun) in reference to the fossorial or below ground habits of these species (Savage & Boundy 2012; Hedges et al. 2014).  

Anilios leptosoma (Robb, 1972) 
Murchison Blindsnakes

Etymology. Derived from the Greek words leptos meaning fine or thin and soma meaning body in reference to the thin thread-like appearance of the species. The amendment to the specific epithet to A. ‘leptosomus’ by McDiarmid et al. (1999) and subsequently accepted by other authors (Hedges et al. 2014; Pyron & Wallach 2014; Wallach et al. 2014) is not warranted (Shea 2015). As Robb (1972) did not state explicitly the use of the word ‘soma’ as a noun or adjective, it is to be treated as a noun and does not change from A. leptosoma with the resurrection of Anilios by Hedges et al. (2014).

Anilios systenos sp. nov. Ellis & Doughty
Sharp-snouted Blindsnakes

Etymology. Derived from the Greek word systenos, meaning ‘tapering to a point’ in reference to the tapering appearance of the head and snout to a rounded point when viewed dorsally.

FIGURE 6. Anilios obtusifrons sp. nov. (WAM R129778) in life (photograph—B. Maryan).

Anilios obtusifrons sp. nov. Ellis & Doughty
Blunt-snouted Blindsnakes

Etymology. From a combination of the Latin words obtusus meaning ‘blunt or dull’ and frons meaning ‘front’ in reference to the rounded or blunt appearance of the snout in dorsal and lateral view.  

Ryan J. Ellis, Paul Doughty, Stephen C. Donnellan, Julie Marin and Nicolas Vidal. 2017. 
Worms in the Sand: Systematic Revision of the Australian Blindsnake Anilios leptosoma (Robb, 1972) Species Complex (Squamata: Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae) from the Geraldton Sandplain, with Description of Two New Species.   Zootaxa. 4323(1); 1–24.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4323.1.1

[Entomology • 2017] Themira lohmanusHidden in the Urban Parks of New York City: A New Species of Themira (Sepsidae, Diptera) Described Based on Morphology, DNA Sequences, Mating Behavior, and Reproductive Isolation

 Themira lohmanus   Ang, 2017

New species from well-studied taxa such as Sepsidae (Diptera) are rarely described from localities that have been extensively explored and one may think that New York City belongs to this category. Yet, a new species of Themira (Diptera: Sepsidae) was recently discovered which is currently only known to reside in two of New York City’s largest urban parks. Finding a new species of Themira in these parks was all the more surprising because the genus was revised in 1998 and is not particularly species-rich (13 species). Its status is confirmed as a new species based on morphology, DNA sequences, and reproductive isolation tests with a closely related species, and is described as Themira lohmanus Ang, sp. n. The species breeds on waterfowl dung and it is hypothesized that this makes the species rare in natural environments. However, it thrives in urban parks where the public feeds ducks and geese. The mating behavior of Themira lohmanus was recorded and is similar to the behavior of its closest relative T. biloba.

Keywords: cryptic species, Sepsidae, species description

Figure 2. Adult male (A–M), showing lateral (A) and dorsal (B) views of habitus, anterior (C) and ventral (D) views of head capsule, anterior and posterior views of fore leg (E), mid leg (F) and rear leg (G); ventral view of abdomen (H) showing modified 4th sternites; anterior (I), dorsal (J), left (K) and right (L) views of hypopygium, as well as various views of the penis (M).

Figure 3. Adult female (A–H), showing lateral (A) and dorsal (B) views of habitus (sans abdomen), anterior (C) and ventral (D) views of head capsule, anterior and posterior views of fore leg (E), mid leg (F) and rear leg (G), and ventral view of abdomen (H).

Themira lohmanus Ang, sp. n.

Diagnosis:  Themira lohmanus is a relatively large, robust-looking sepsid species that resembles T. biloba. However, adult T. lohmanus males can be readily differentiated from the latter by their uniquely shaped, asymmetrical surstyli, which is symmetrical in T. biloba (Fig. 1A, see Morphological analysis section). While females of these two species do not have distinct structural differences, they can potentially be distinguished based on the color of the sclerous cuticle: in T. biloba, it tends to be glossy black while T. lohmanus tends to have a cupreous tinge. However, these characters may not be easily differentiated in faded specimens.

Etymology:  The new species is named after David J. Lohman, for his generous contributions of specimens to sepsid taxonomy.

Distribution: Nearctic. Thus far only found in New York City (Central Park and Prospect Park); likely to be found in more localities in the future, especially where waterfowl congregate.

 Yuchen Ang, Rudolf Meier, Kathy Feng-Yi Su and Gowri Rajaratnam. 2017. Hidden in the Urban Parks of New York City: Themira lohmanus, A New Species of Sepsidae Described Based on Morphology, DNA Sequences, Mating Behavior, and Reproductive Isolation (Sepsidae, Diptera).  ZooKeys. 698; 95-111.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.698.13411

[Herpetology • 2017] Buergeria otai • Acoustic Differentiation and Behavioral Response reveals Cryptic Species within Buergeria Treefrogs (Anura, Rhacophoridae) from Taiwan

Buergeria otai 
Wang, Hsiao, Lee, Tseng, Lin, Komaki & Lin, 2017


Buergeria japonica is a widely distributed treefrog occurring from Ryukyu Archipelago to Taiwan. Across this wide distributional range, we combined molecular, acoustic, morphological, and behavioral characters to clarify the taxonomic status among these insular populations. Genetic differentiation in mitochondrial sequences indicated an over 16% divergence among two deeply divergent clades: Japanese clade distributes in Ryukyu Archipelago and northwestern drainages of Taiwan, while Taiwanese clade distributes in the remaining drainages on Taiwan. The Taiwanese clade can be distinguished from the nominative species not only by molecular and morphological differences, but also distinguishable by considerable acoustic differentiation, which is extraordinarily noticeable for an additional type of long call that never recorded from Japanese clade. The two clades form a parapatric distribution pattern with narrow contact zones both in western and eastern Taiwan. Playback experiments indicated that male frogs show significantly stronger defensiveness against conspecific calls rather than heterospecific calls, indicating that these signals play a crucial role in species recognition. Here we describe the Taiwanese clade as a new species; the behavioral response and the magnitude of gene flow across their contact zones are especially worth for detailed studies.

Species description

Family Rhacophoridae Günther, 1859
Genus Buergeria Tschudi, 1838

Buergeria otai sp. nov.
Ixalus japonicus—Hallowell, 1861 "1860", Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 12: 501. 
Polypedates japonicus—Stejneger, 1907, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 58: 155. 
Rhacophorus (Rhacophorusjaponicus—Ahl, 1931 in Das Tierreich, 55: 111. 
Rhacophorus (Rhacophorusbuergeri japonicus—Wolf, 1936, Bull. Raffles Mus., 12: 166. 
Buergeria japonica—Liem, 1970, Fieldiana, Zool., 57: 90.

Etymology:  The specific epithet of the new species “otai” is a latinized patronymic noun in genitive case, dedicated to Prof. Hidetoshi Ota for his great contribution to herpetology and biogeography in East Asia, including Taiwan and adjacent regions. During 1980s to 1990s, Ota published four reptile species in Taiwan, carefully reviewed the herptile fauna across the East Asian Arc, and provided great assistance and encouragement to new-generation herpetologists in this region. We suggest the following common name “Ota’s stream tree frog” in English.

Diagnosis: Buergeria otai sp. nov. is characterized by a combination of the following characters: (1) a small-sized rhacophorid, body moderately slender; (2) SVL in adult males 23.1–29.3 mm (N = 133; mean ± SD = 26.57 ± 1.21 mm); females 29.7–37.5 mm (N = 3; 32.44 ± 4.42 mm); (3) dorsum slightly tubercular, with a pair of parallel tubercles on scapula; (4) head triangular, snout rounded and somewhat acute; (5) tips of fingers and toes dilated, forming expanded disks (over twice the width of phalanges); (6) tibiotarsal articulation on adpressed limb reaching beyond snout tip; (7) forelimb webbing absent; (8) hindlimb webbing partial, webbing formula (the number of phalanges free of web): I 1–1 II 1–2 III 1–1 IV 2–1 V; (9) vertebral stripe absent; (10) dark dorsal marking in the shape of inverted triangle between the eyes; (11) dark dorsal marking in a form of letter X or H extending from scapula to the middle of the back; (12) chin gray-white, with small irregular mottling; belly gray-white; (13) arms and thighs with sparse brownish bands; (14) regular tiny white spots on the ventral side of the thighs; usually concentrated at the base of the thighs.

Fig 6. Buergeria japonica (A, C) and Buergeria otai sp. nov. (B, D, E, F) in live. The irregular patches of B. japonica on the thighs could be compared to the regular tiny spots of Buergeria otai sp. nov., regardless the intraspecific variation from very few (E) to many (F).
Photographed by YJ Liang (A, C), CM Tsao (B), and HN Nguyen (D, E, F).

Natural history notes.
Although belonging to the Old-world treefrog family Rhacophoridae, Buergeria otai sp. nov. is specialized to live in the streams like all its congeners. They prefer to gather in small ditches or shallow waters near by the streams, but seldom entering into the major river course. Breeding season usually lasts from February to October, with a major peak from April to July (personal observation in this study), but may appear all year round in some habitats. Males gather to form chorus beside the streams after sunset, and the chorus reach its climax near midnight. Eggs 1.2–1.4 mm in diameter, attached on vegetation or spread on the substrates in shallow water, hatched after 24–36 hr. Tadpoles herbivorous or detritivorous, live benthically in shallow waters, with a larval stage period 15–30 days, depending on the water temperature.

Both Buergeria otai sp. nov. and B. japonica are well known for their special tolerance in geothermal hot springs, which seems to be an extraordinary adaptation from all anuran species in the world. The tadpoles of the frogs often show thermal affinity by approaching hot waters with temperature higher than 30°C, and their critical thermal maxima could reach more than 41°C. This adaptation was deduced to extend the breeding season, decrease the hatching rate, and increase the tadpole size. Furthermore, B. japonica was also well addressed for their special to salt tolerance. Although Buergeria otai sp. nov. is suspected to share the same tolerance, there was not yet an experiment designed to test this ability in this clade.

Ying-Han Wang, Yu-Wei Hsiao, Ko-Huan Lee, Hui-Yun Tseng, Yen-Po Lin, Shohei Komaki and Si-Min Lin. 2017. Acoustic Differentiation and Behavioral Response reveals Cryptic Species within Buergeria Treefrogs (Anura, Rhacophoridae) from Taiwan. PLoS ONE. 12(9); e0184005.  DOI:  10.1371/journal.pone.0184005

[Herpetology • 2017] Preliminary Estimation of Home Range Size for Meristogenys orphnocnemis, A Common Bornean Ranid, in An Altered Forest Ecosystem using Radiotelemetry

Meristogenys orphnocnemis (Matsui, 1986)

[upper] Female Meristogenys orphnocnemis showing transmitter and attachment belt.
[lower] Section of stream in SAFE Project experimental site, known as logged forest edge (LFE) stream, where all radiotracking occurred.



 We tracked six female Meristogenys orphnocnemis for 17 ± 4.3 days (11.5–22 days) in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo to determine core area (home range size) and movement patterns. We found that the core usage area was 3351.0 ± 963.4 m2 . Mean distance of each female from the stream during tracking was between 4.9–29.3 m and median distance from the stream for individual females was 4–20 m. Net distance between first and last observation was 80.6 ± 24.5 m, and there was no relationship between number of days tracked and total distance traversed or core area size, nor between body size and core area size, though our sample sizes were likely too small to detect such patterns. We suggest additional radio-tracking to determine differences in movement ecology between sexes and across species, to better predict impacts on anurans from logging and fragmentation in Southeast Asia.

 Key words. behaviour, radio-tracking, frogs, Malaysia

Fig. 1. Section of stream in SAFE Project experimental site, known as logged forest edge (LFE) stream, where all radiotracking occurred.

 Jennifer A. Sheridan, Nicolas Rakotopare and Rachel Mebberson. 2017. Preliminary Estimation of Home Range Size for Meristogenys orphnocnemis, A Common Bornean Ranid, in An Altered Forest Ecosystem using Radiotelemetry. RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY65; 539–544. 


[PaleoOrnithology • 2017] Late Pleistocene Songbirds of Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia); The First Fossil Passerine Fauna Described from Wallacea

Figure 3: Late Pleistocene passerines from Liang Bua.
 (A) Left tarsometatarsus of Philemon sp. (LB-Av-740), (B) left tarsometatarsus of P. buceroides (NMNH 347688); (C) right femur of Philemon sp.(LB-Av-795), (D) right femur of P. buceroides (NMNH 347688); (E) right tibiotarsus of cf. Philemon (LB-Av-857), (F) right tibiotarsus of P. buceroides (NMNH 347688), (G) left tibiotarsus (LB-Av-726) of cf. Philemon, (H) right tibiotarsus (LB-Av-775) cf. Philemon;
(I) right humerus of Rhipidura sp. (LB-Av-762), (J) right humerus of R. albicollis (NMNH 620568);
 (K) distal fragment of right humerus of Corvus cf. macrorhynchos (LB-Av-856), (L) right humerus of C. macrorhynchos (NMNH 641775); (M) right scapula of Corvus cf. macrorhynchos (LB-Av-766), (N) right scapula of C. macrorhynchos (NMNH 641775).
 (scale bars 1 cm) DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3676


Passerines (Aves: Passeriformes) dominate modern terrestrial bird communities yet their fossil record is limited. Liang Bua is a large cave on the Indonesian island of Flores that preserves Late Pleistocene–Holocene deposits (∼190 ka to present day). Birds are the most diverse faunal group at Liang Bua and are present throughout the stratigraphic sequence.

We examined avian remains from the Late Pleistocene deposits of Sector XII, a 2 × 2 m area excavated to about 8.5 m depth. Although postcranial passerine remains are typically challenging to identify, we found several humeral characters particularly useful in discriminating between groups, and identified 89 skeletal elements of passerines.

At least eight species from eight families are represented, including the Large-billed Crow (Corvus cf. macrorhynchos), the Australasian Bushlark (Mirafra javanica), a friarbird (Philemon sp.), and the Pechora Pipit (Anthus cf. gustavi).

These remains constitute the first sample of fossil passerines described in Wallacea. Two of the taxa no longer occur on Flores today; a large sturnid (cf. Acridotheres) and a grassbird (Megalurus sp.). Palaeoecologically, the songbird assemblage suggests open grassland and tall forests, which is consistent with conditions inferred from the non-passerine fauna at the site. Corvus cf. macrorhynchos, found in the Homo floresiensis-bearing layers, was likely part of a scavenging guild that fed on carcasses of Stegodon florensis insularis alongside vultures (Trigonoceps sp.), giant storks (Leptoptilos robustus), komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), and probably H. floresiensis as well.

Hanneke J.M. Meijer​, Rokus Awe Due​, Thomas Sutikna, Wahyu Saptomo, Jatmiko, Sri Wasisto, Matthew W. Tocheri and Gerald Mayr. 2017. Late Pleistocene Songbirds of Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia); The First Fossil Passerine Fauna Described from Wallacea.
 PeerJ. 5: e3676.  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3676

[Botany • 2017] Asplenium minutifolium (Aspleniaceae) • A New Species from Thailand

Asplenium minutifolium Kanem. & Tagane


A new species of Asplenium (Aspleniaceae), Asplenium minutifolium Kanem. & Tagane, from Phu Kradueng National Park, Loei Province, Northeast Thailand and Khao Yai National Park, Nakhon Nayok Province, Central Thailand, is described and illustrated. This species can be distinguished from all similar species in East and South-East Asia by its simple and small lamina (1–5 × 0.3–0.7 cm), small and entire pinnae (1–4 × 0.8–2.5 mm), reflexed pinna arrangement (>90° from the midrib) in the lower 2/3 of the lamina and a sori arrangement that is almost always arranged in a single row on the basiscopic vein. 

KEYWORDS: Asplenium, Aspleniaceae, Pteridophyte, Fern, new species, Phu Kradueng National Park, Khao Yai National Park, Thailand.

Figure 2. Asplenium minutifolium  Kanem. & Tagane, sp. nov.
. habit; B. portion of lamina (undersurface) showing sori; C. rhizome with scales; D. habitat.

Asplenium minutifolium Kanem. & Tagane, sp. nov. 

Similar to Asplenium kiangsuense Ching & Y.X.Jing of southern China in size and shape of lamina, but differs in having a narrower lamina (ca 0.7 cm wide in A. minutifolium vs. ca 1 cm wide in A. kiangsuense), wingless rachis (vs. 2 slightly raised lateral wings), smaller pinnae (1–4 × 0.8–2.5 mm vs. 4–5 × 4–5 mm), generally fewer sori per pinna (1– 3(–4) vs. 3–5), and in the sori arrangement (usually arranged in a row vs. arranged oppositely). Also similar to Asplenium siamense Tagawa & K.Iwats. of North-East Thailand, but can be distinguished by its simple pinnae at the tip of lamina (vs. lamina forked several times at the tip), thicker pinnae (thickly papery vs. thinly papery), reflexed pinna arrangement in lower part (vs. divaricate around lamina), and pinnae with entire or slightly undulate margins (vs. shallowly lobed (lobes to ca 1mm long)). 
–– Type: Thailand. Loei Province, Phu Kradueng National Park, Lom Sak Cliff, alt. 1292 m, 12 June 2015, Kanemitsu et al. T4736 (holotype BKF!, isotype TNS!).  

Distribution.–– Currently Asplenium minutifolium is known only from Phu Kradueng National Park and Khao Yai National Park. 

Ecology.–– In Phu Kradueng National Park, Asplenium minutifolium occurs in a semi-shaded and damp rock crevice that is ca 50 cm wide and 10 cm deep, on the plateau at an altitude of ca 1300 m. Associated fern and lycophyte species include Aglaomorpha rigidula (Sw.) Hovenkamp & S.Linds., Goniophlebium subauriculatum (Blume) C.Presl, Oleandra undulata (Willd.) Ching, Pyrrosia lingua (Thunb.) Farw. var. heteractis (Mett. ex Kuhn) Hovenkamp, and Selaginella siamensis Hieron. Other than the elevation, nothing is known about the ecology of this species at Khao Yai National Park. 

Etymology.–– The species epithet “minutifolium” refers to the very small lamina and pinnae of this species.

 Hironobu Kanemitsu, Shuichiro Tagane, Somran Suddee, Sukid Ruangruaea, Tetsukazu Yahara. 2017. Asplenium minutifolium (Aspleniaceae), A New Species from Thailand. THAI FOREST BULL., BOT.  45(1); 29–34.  DOI: 10.20531/tfb.2017.45.1.06

[Mammalogy • 2017] Murina hkakaboraziensis • A New Species of Murina (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, Sub-Himalayan Forests of northern Myanmar

Murina hkakaboraziensis
Soisook, Thaw, Kyaw, Oo, Pimsai, Suarez-Rubio & Renner, 2017

ค้างคาวจมูกหลอดคากาโบราซี || Hkakabo Razi Tube-nosed Bat || DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4320.1.9


A new species of Murina of the suilla-type is described from the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, Kachin, Upper Myanmar, an area that is currently being nominated as a World Heritage Site. The new species is a small vespertilionid, with a forearm length of 29.6 mm, and is very similar to M. kontumensis, which was recently described from Vietnam. However, it is distinguishable by a combination of external and craniodental morphology and genetics. The DNA Barcode reveals that the new species clusters sisterly to M. kontumensis but with a genetic distance of 11.5%. A single known specimen of the new species was collected from a lowland forest area in the plains of the Hkakabo Razi landscape, south-eastern Himalaya. Additional information on ecology, echolocation, and conservation are included. The high cryptic diversity of the genus Murina in Southeast Asia, as well as the Hkakabo Razi Landscape being a bat diversity hotspot, is highlighted.

Keywords:  Mammalia, cryptic species, Hkakabo Razi, Myanmar, new species, Southeast Asia

FIGURE 1. The appearance of the face, ear and pelage (a), dorsal pelage (b), and ventral pelage (c) of Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov., ♂PS160218.6, holotype, from Kachin, Myanmar.

Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov. 

Etymology. The species is named after the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, where the only known specimen was collected. The proposed English name is ‘Hkakabo Razi Tube-nosed Bat

Ecology and distribution. The new species, M. hkakaboraziensis sp. nov., was collected in a mist net set at the edge of a lowland semi-evergreen forest at the transition zone to an open space grassland, which undergoes an annual burn (Fig. 5). The new species was the only bat captured in the mist net. However, on the same night, four other insectivorous bats, Rhinolophus affinis, R. pusillus, Aselliscus stoliczkanus and Hipposideros pomona were captured in nearby mist nets and harp traps. Four other vespertilionids, M. cyclotis, M. feae, M. cf. eleryi, Kerivoula hardwickii, and K. furva were also captured in the same area on other nights. Currently, the new species is only known from the holotype collected from the type locality in the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, Kachin, northern Myanmar.

The discovery of Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov., as well as a recently described Kerivoula furva (Kuo et al. 2017), indicates that the Hkakabo Razi Landscape is extremely understudied in terms of bats. Based only on a single scientific expedition in 2016, 37 species of bats were recorded from HRL (P. Soisook, unpublished data) representing approximately 40% of bats in Myanmar. Nevertheless, the 2016 expedition focused only on a limited geographical area and elevation of the HRL. Future surveys to cover the variety of habitats, particularly at the higher elevations, would be of interest. 

The vespertilionid community in the HRL appears to be a geographical connection and a unique mix of species those found widespread in the Indochinese Region (e.g. M. cyclotis, M. feae, M. cf. eleryi, K. kachinensis, K. hardwickii, and K. furva), and those from the Indian Region (e.g. M. cf. jaintiana, M. cf. pluvialis). It indicates the importance of primary forests, and ongoing biogeographical processes of the HRL, underlining the significance of Myanmar’s endeavour to nominate the area as a Natural World Heritage Site. 

FIGURE 5. The edge of a lowland semi-evergreen forest at the transition zone to an open space grassland where the specimen of Murina hkakaboraziensis sp. nov. was captured. Photograph by Sai Sein Lin Oo.

Pipat Soisook, Win Naing Thaw, Myint Kyaw, Sai Sein Lin Oo, Awatsaya Pimsai, Marcela Suarez-Rubio and Swen C. Renner. 2017. A New Species of Murina (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from sub-Himalayan Forests of northern Myanmar.   Zootaxa. 4320(1); 159–172. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4320.1.9
Hao-Chih Kuo, Pipat Soisook, Ying-Yi Ho, Gabor Csorba, Chun-Neng Wang and Stephen J. Rossiter. 2017. A Taxonomic Revision of the Kerivoula hardwickii complex (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) with the Description of A New Species.   Acta Chiropterologica. 19(1); 19-39.  DOI: 10.3161/15081109ACC2017.19.1.002


[Ornithology • 2017] Tapping the Woodpecker Tree for Evolutionary Insight

Shakya, Fuchs, Pons & Sheldon, 2017 

• We compared DNA sequences of six loci from 203 of the 217 recognized species to construct a comprehensive tree of intrafamilial relationships of woodpeckers and found numerous unknown relationships among clades and species.
• We discuss how convergence, mimicry, and potential cases of hybridization obscured woodpecker relationships for morphological taxonomists.
• We also used the tree to analyze rates of diversification and biogeographic patterns within the family.

Molecular phylogenetic studies of woodpeckers (Picidae) have generally focused on relationships within specific clades or have sampled sparsely across the family. We compared DNA sequences of six loci from 203 of the 217 recognized species of woodpeckers to construct a comprehensive tree of intrafamilial relationships. We recovered many known, but also numerous unknown, relationships among clades and species. We found, for example, that the three picine tribes are related as follows (Picini, (Campephilini, Melanerpini)) and that the genus Dinopium is paraphyletic. We used the tree to analyze rates of diversification and biogeographic patterns within the family. Diversification rate increased on two occasions during woodpecker history. We also tested diversification rates between temperate and tropical species but found no significant difference. Biogeographic analysis supported an Old World origin of the family and identified at least six independent cases of New World-Old World sister relationships. In light of the tree, we discuss how convergence, mimicry, and potential cases of hybridization have complicated woodpecker taxonomy.

Keywords: biogeography; convergence; diversification rates; phylogeny; Picidae; rate-shifts

Subir B. Shakya, Jérôme Fuchs, Jean-Marc Pons and Frederick H. Sheldon. 2017. Tapping the Woodpecker Tree for Evolutionary Insight. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. In Press.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.09.005

New paper by #LSUMNS student Subir Shakya & Curator Fred Sheldon in MP&E. "Tapping the Woodpecker Tree for Evolutionary Insight" 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

[Entomology • 2017] Taxonomic Review of Eidmanacris Chopard, 1956 (Orthoptera: Grylloidea: Phalangopsidae)

Eidmanacris desutterae  Campos, 2017


Eidmanacris Chopard, 1956 is revised, redescribed and eleven species are redescribed. Seven new species from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest and Cerrado (E. scopula Campos, sp. nov.; E. gigas Campos, sp. nov.; E. neomarmorata Campos, sp. nov.; E, desutterae Campos, sp. nov.; E. putuhra Campos, sp. nov.; E. fontanettiae Campos, Nihei & de Mello, sp. nov. and E. melloi Campos, sp. nov.) are described, based on adults. One new generic synonymy with Endophallusia de Mello, 1990 syn. nov., resulting in two new combinations (E. minuta (de Mello, 1990) comb. nov. and E. endophallica (de Mello, 1990) comb. nov.), a new combination with Phalangopsis spelucae Mello-Leitão, 1937 (E. speluncae (Mello-Leitão, 1937) comb. nov.), and one species synonymy (E. lencionii Bolfarini, 2016 = E. dissimilis Desutter-Grandcolas, 1995, syn. nov.) are proposed. Following this revision, Eidmanacris comprises a total of 29 species. An identification key to species, and distribution maps are also given.

Keywords:  Orthoptera, Neotropical region, cricket, taxonomy, description, new species

 Lucas Denadai De Campos, Pedro G. B. Souza-Dias and Silvio S. Nihei. 2017. Taxonomic Review of Eidmanacris Chopard, 1956 (Orthoptera: Grylloidea: Phalangopsidae). Zootaxa. 4321(1);  1–93.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4321.1.1  

Monday, September 18, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Eumeces persicus • A New Species of Eumeces Wiegmann 1834 (Sauria: Scincidae) from Iran

Eumeces persicus
Faizi, Rastegar-Pouyani, Rastegar-Pouyani, Nazarov, Heidari, Zangi, Orlova & Poyarkov, 2017

Persian Striped Skink  || DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4320.2.5 
We describe a new species of skink in the genus Eumeces Wiegmann 1834 from Iran. Eumeces persicus sp. nov. is a medium sized skink, distinguished by two clear, wide, and brown lateral lines extending from the ear opening to the hindlimbs, with scattered light orange spots, and two median rows of dorsal scales broadly enlarged in eight longitudinal rows. The new species ranges from southern Tehran to Kerman Province along the eastern slopes of the Zagros Mountains towards the Iranian plateau. We provide morphological comparisons of the new species with other Eumeces species from the region and molecular analyses of two mitochondrial markers (16S and Cytb). We also present taxonomic and phylo-genetic accounts, with an updated identification key for the genus Eumeces in Iran and surrounding regions. 

Keywords: Reptilia, Eumeces persicus sp. nov., Iranian Plateau, Morphology, Phylogeny, Skink

FIGURE 4. (A) Holotype of Eumeces persicus sp. nov. RUZM-SE-07. Inset shows close-up of the lateral side of the head. (B) Paratype specimen (ZMMU R-14723-1) alive in its habitat.

Eumeces persicus sp. nov. 
Proposed vernacular name: Persian Striped Skink

Etymology. The species epithet “persicus” is an adjective that refers to the current known distribution of the new species—Iran (=Persia).

Distribution. The new species is widely distributed at the eastern Zagros Mountain slopes, in the central plains of Iran from the deserts of southern Tehran to Kerman Province encompassing a distribution range of about 900 km. .... Further investigation is necessary to find more records in other regions with similar habitats situated between the two current localities. Eumeces persicus sp. nov. is also found in sympatry with other reptile species including snakes and lizards such as Bunopus crassicauda, Tenuidactylus caspium, Trachylepis aurata, Varanus griseus, Spalerosophis diadema, Malpolon insignitus, Lytorhynchus ridgewayi and Platyceps karelini, and specifically in close syntopy with Trapelus agilis.  

  Hiva Faizi, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani, Roman Alexeevich Nazarov,  Nastaran Heidari, Bahman Zangi, Valentina Orlova and Nikolay Poyarkov. 2017.  A New Species of Eumeces Wiegmann 1834 (Sauria: Scincidae) from Iran. Zootaxa. 4320(2) 289-304. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4320.2.5

[Ichthyology • 2017] Trichomycterus pascuali • A New Species of Trichomycterus (Siluriformes: Trichomycteridae) Lacking Pelvic Fins from Paranapanema Basin, southeastern Brazil

Trichomycterus pascuali
Ochoa, Silva, Silva, Oliveira & Datovo, 2017


A new species of trichomycterid catfish, Trichomycterus pascuali, is described from Paranapanema basin and is distinguished from all congeners by the possession of five pectoral-fin rays and the absence of pelvic fin, girdle, and muscles. Additional features further differentiate the new species from the other congeners lacking pelvic fins, T. candidus, T. catamarcensis, and T. tropeiro. The identification of T. pascuali is additionally corroborated by genetic divergence based on DNA-barcode analysis. Osteological and myological data unequivocally support the inclusion of the new species in the Trichomycterinae and molecular analyses justify its allocation to the genus Trichomycterus rather than Eremophilus, a trichomycterine taxon traditionally diagnosed by the lack of pelvic fins. Our genetic analysis further indicates that pelvic fins were independently lost in E. mutisii, T. candidus, and T. pascuali.

Keywords: Pisces, Upper Paraná Basin, Freshwater catfish, pelvic-fin loss, taxonomy

FIGURE 2. Body coloration patterns observed in Trichomycterus pascuali, LBP 23323, (A) 45.4 mm SL, (B) 52.2 mm SL. 

Luz E. Ochoa, Gabriel S. C. Silva, Guilherme J. Costa E. Silva, Claudio Oliveira and Alessio Datovo. 2017. New Species of Trichomycterus (Siluriformes: Trichomycteridae) Lacking Pelvic Fins from Paranapanema Basin, southeastern Brazil.   Zootaxa. 4319(3); 550–560. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4319.3.7

[Herpetology • 2017] Abavorana nazgul • A New Species of Frog of the Genus Abavorana (Anura: Ranidae) from Gunung Jerai, Kedah, northwestern Peninsular Malaysia

Abavorana nazgul
Quah, Anuar, Grismer, Wood, Azizah & Muin, 2017


The recently erected ranid genus Abavorana is thought to contain one nominal species, A. luctuosa, that ranges from the Thai-Malay Peninsula to Borneo and Sumatra. A melanistic form from Gunung Jerai, Peninsular Malaysia previously thought to be the same species is new to science and herein described based on new specimens and data. Based on morphology, colour pattern, and phylogenetic analyses using the mitochondrial genes 16s, ND1 and three tRNAs (tRNA-leu, tRNA-lle, and tRNA-gln), we determine that this new speciesAbavorana nazgul sp. nov., is the sister lineage to other populations of A. lucutosa from Peninsular Malaysia and one from Borneo. It differs from A. luctuosa by a minimum sequence divergence of 7.5% and the following combination of morphological and colour pattern characteristics: (1) SVL 42.1–50.0 mm in adult males; (2) prominent but small humeral glands in males (2.3–2.5 mm); (3) dorsolateral stripe continuous, orange to yellow in colour; (4) mid-dorsal region of dorsum black, with or without faint orange or yellow speckles; (5) flanks with distinct cream spots; (6) dorsal surfaces of limbs with cream spots–bar; and (7) venter grayish brown, with prominent light spots on throat and belly. The discovery of yet another endemic species from the upland regions of Peninsular Malaysia highlights the rich diversity of these habitats and the need for more studies in montane areas throughout the region.

Keywords: Amphibia, Herpetofauna, montane, new species, taxonomy, conservation, systematics

Abavorana lucutosa  

Evan S.H. Quah, Shahrul M.S. Anuar, L.L. Grismer, Perry L. JR. Wood, Siti M.N. Azizah and Mohd Abdul Muin. 2017. A New Species of Frog of the Genus Abavorana Oliver, Prendini, Kraus & Raxworthy 2015 (Anura: Ranidae) from Gunung Jerai, Kedah, northwestern Peninsular Malaysia.  Zootaxa. 4320(2); 272–288. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4320.2.4