Monday, August 21, 2017

[Entomology • 2017] Pyrophleps ellawi • A New Species of Wasp-mimicking Clearwing Moth (Lepidoptera, Sesiidae) from Peninsular Malaysia with DNA Barcode and Behavioural Notes

 Pyrophleps ellawi Skowron Volponi, 2017

Figure 1. Pyrophleps ellawi has a strong blue sheen in sunlight. Representatives of this species vary in the number of orange scales on the thorax. The scales form two longitudinal stripes, either dashed or solid.

A new species of clearwing moth, Pyrophleps ellawi Skowron Volponi, sp. n., is described from Peninsular Malaysia. Information on the habitat, time and conditions of occurrence, flight and mud-puddling behaviour, functional morphology, and DNA barcode are also provided. Photographs and a supplementary video from the wild demonstrate the postures and behaviour of this species of Pyrophleps, whose remaining members were described only on the basis of pinned specimens. This is the first record of this genus in Peninsular Malaysia.

Keywords: Sesiidae, clearwing moth, Pyrophleps ellawi, mimicry, mud-puddling, behaviour, Malaysia

Figure 3. Male holotype of Pyrophleps ellawi.

Diagnosis: The new species is superficially most similar to Pyrophleps vitripennis, from which it can easily be distinguished by the configuration of male genitalia (compare Fig. 4 herein with Arita and Gorbunov 2000, fig. 6), presence of hair-like scales on labial palpi (smoothly scaled in species compared), presence of orange hair-like scales on fore- and mid tibiae and lack of orange scales on wings, broader external transparent area of forewing. Apart from morphological features, P. ellawi shows 8% COI sequence divergence from P. vitripennis (Table 1). Based on genitalia configuration, this species is most similar to P. nigripennis. However, it differs in the shape of the valva and gnathos. Besides that, it can immediately be distinguished by the well-developed transparent areas of forewing (compare Fig. 3 herein with Arita and Gorbunov 2000, fig. 8), narrow discal spot on hindwing and by the colouration of the hind leg tuft (extensive red both externally, on tibia, and internally, on tibiae and tarsi, in P. nigripennis). From P. ruficrista it differs in more developed forewing ATA and PTA and less developed ETA and in the hind leg tuft (cinnabar red with two black spots and patches of blue scales in P. ruficrista). From P. cruentata, P. haematochrodes , P. cucphuonganae and P. bicella, it can be distinguished by the entirely transparent hindwings and absence of red scales on wings and abdomen.

Figure 1. Pyrophleps ellawi has a strong blue sheen in sunlight. Representatives of this species vary in the number of orange scales on the thorax. The scales form two longitudinal stripes, either dashed or solid. 

Figure 2. Pyrophleps ellawi puddling on a river bank. Note the curled-up hind leg tarsi.

Etymology: The species is named after our dear friend El Law, a dedicated conservation activist with sincere sensibility for Malaysian nature who, over the years of our studies on Malaysian Sesiidae, offered us his help in countless aspects.

Distribution and habitat: In addition to the type locality, the species is known also from the Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia, where it was observed and filmed in two locations approx. 50 km from each other. All observations were done on sandy and pebble river banks exposed to sunlight, in a lowland dipterocarp forest (Fig. 5)

Figure 5. Habitat of Pyrophleps ellawi: sandy/pebble river banks in a lowland dipterocarp forest, Malaysia.

The new wasp-mimicking species of Sesiidae, Pyrophleps ellawi, represents the first record of the genus Pyrophleps in Peninsular Malaysia and the first filmed in the wild. The video realized in its habitat provided valuable information on its authentic habitus, functional morphology, and behaviour.

 Marta Skowron Volponi and Paolo Volponi. 2017. A New Species of Wasp-mimicking Clearwing Moth from Peninsular Malaysia with DNA Barcode and Behavioural Notes (Lepidoptera, Sesiidae). ZooKeys. 692: 129-139.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.692.13587

[Ichthyology • 2017] Channa pseudomarulius • A Valid Species of Snakehead from the Western Ghats region of Peninsular India (Teleostei: Channidae), with Comments on Ophicephalus grandinosus, O. theophrasti and O. leucopunctatus

Channa pseudomarulius (Günther, 1861)
 subadult, 164 mm SL, Kerala, Pamba River, not preserved.


An investigation integrating morphological and molecular data to address the taxonomic status of Indian Channa marulius-like fishes reveals the presence of two species within Indian Rivers. As a consequence, Channa pseudomarulius is resurrected as a valid species and removed from the synonymy of C. marulius. Channa pseudomarulius appears to be restricted to the southern Western Ghats region of peninsular India and can be distinguished from the more widespread C. marulius by fewer lateral-line scales, fewer dorsal- and anal-fin rays, fewer vertebrae, and by a difference of about 8% in mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene sequences. Channa marulius and C. pseudomarulius both possess low levels of genetic diversity across their range suggestive of small historical population sizes. This is especially interesting in the case of C. marulius, which is shown to have a large natural geographical range spanning at least the Indian subcontinent and parts of the Indo-Burman ranges in westernmost Myanmar. The synonymy of Channa marulius with Ophicephalus grandinosusO. theophrasti, and O. leucopunctatus is confirmed based on examination of type specimens. A lectotype is designated for O. grandinosus.

Keywords: Pisces, CO1, DNA barcoding, Integrative taxonomy, Kerala, Morphometry


FIGURE 3. Channa pseudomarulius, colouration in life.
Juvenile (A), KUFOS 2017. KUT. 15, ca. 55 mm SL, Kerala, Kuttiyadi river; juvenile (B) ca. 80 mm SL, Kerala, Irrity, not preserved; subadult (C), 164 mm SL, Kerala, Pamba River, not preserved. 

FIGURE 3. Channa pseudomarulius, colouration in life.  Juvenile (A), KUFOS 2017. KUT. 15, ca. 55 mm SL, Kerala, Kuttiyadi river; juvenile (B) ca. 80 mm SL, Kerala, Irrity, not preserved; subadult (C), 164 mm SL, Kerala, Pamba River, not preserved. 

FIGURE 6. Original illustration (A) of Ophicephalus grandinosus reproduced from Cuvier & Valenciennes (1831) and lateral view (B) of lectotype (MNHN A 1959, 564 mm SL). Original illustration (C) of O. theophrasti reproduced from Jacquemont (1839) and lateral view (D) of holotype (MNHN A- 668, 330 mm SL). Reproduction of Sykes' (1841) original illustration of O. leucopunctatus (E). 

Ralf Britz, Eleanor Adamson, Rajeev Raghavan, Anvar Ali and Neelesh Dahanukar. 2017. Channa pseudomarulius, A Valid Species of Snakehead from the Western Ghats region of Peninsular India (Teleostei: Channidae), with Comments on Ophicephalus grandinosusO. theophrasti and O. leucopunctatusZootaxa. 4299(4); 529–545. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4299.4.4


[Botany • 2017] Argostemma cordatum • A New Species (Rubiaceae) from southern Vietnam

Argostemma cordatum Nuraliev


Argostemma cordatum, a new species of Rubiaceae, is described and illustrated. The species was discovered in 2014 during a botanical survey of the Chu Yang Sin National Park (Dak Lak province, Southern Vietnam). Argostemma cordatum possesses a solitary large leaf per plant (along with one very small leaf). The new species differs from morphologically similar species mainly by the small size of the enlarged leaf and cordate base of the enlarged leaf. It is also characterized by the following features: plant completely glabrous, stipules minute and reduced to papillate warts, inflorescence with all axes elongated, anthers coherent into anther cone and dehiscent by longitudinal slits, style slightly exserted. An extended description of the vegetation in the area inhabited by A. cordatum is provided.

Keywords: Argostemma, taxonomy, Southern Vietnam, Chu Yang Sin National Park, flora, biodiversity, Eudicots

FIGURE 2. Argostemma cordatum at type locality.
A. General view of population. B. Flowering individual. D. Dichasium with flower buds. E. Flower, apical and oblique view.
Nuraliev, Kuznetsov, Kuznetsova 960. All photos by M. Nuraliev.  

Argostemma cordatum Nuraliev, sp. nov.

Etymology:— The specific epithet “cordatum” refers to the prominently cordate base of large leaf which distinguishes the new species from its relatives.  

Maxim S. Nuraliev, Anton S. Beer, Andrey N. Kuznetsov and Svetlana P. Kuznetsova. 2017. 
Argostemma cordatum (Rubiaceae), A New Species from Vietnam.
 Phytotaxa. 317(1); 42–52. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.317.1.4

[Invertebrate • 2017] Eupolybothrus liburnicus • A New Cave Centipede (Chilopoda, Lithobiomorpha, Lithobiidae) from Croatia with Notes on the Subgenus Schizopolybothrus Verhoeff, 1934

 Eupolybothrus liburnicus
Akkari, Komerički, Weigand, Edgecombe & Stoev, 2017 

A new species of Eupolybothrus Verhoeff, 1907 discovered in caves of Velebit Mountain in Croatia is described. Eupolybothrus liburnicus sp. n. exhibits a few morphological differences from its most similar congeners, all of which are attributed to the subgenus Schizopolybothrus Verhoeff, 1934, and two approaches to species delimitation using the COI barcode region identify it as distinct from the closely allied E. cavernicolus Stoev & Komerički, 2013.
E. spiniger (Latzel, 1888) is redescribed and a lectotype is designated for it as well as E. caesar (Verhoeff, 1899) to stabilize their respective taxonomic status. The subspecies E. acherontis wardaranus Verhoeff, 1937, previously suspected to be a synonym of E. caesar (Verhoeff, 1899), is redescribed and its taxonomy revised after the study of type material whereas the identity of E. acherontis (Verhoeff, 1900) described from a female from southwest Trebinje (Bosnia and Herzegovina) remains unknown. Type material of E. stygis (Folkmanova, 1940) is confirmed to be lost and future designation of neotypes from topotypic specimens is necessary to stabilize its taxonomy. The importance of setal arrangement on the intermediate and 14th tergites and the sexual modifications on the male 15th prefemur for species identification is discussed in the light of present findings, and a review of the species of E. (Schizopolybothrus) that display these traits is also provided.

Keywords:  Biospeleology, COI barcoding, Eupolybothrus, new species, SEM, Velebit Mountain

Order Lithobiomorpha Pocock, 1895
Family Lithobiidae Newport, 1844
Subfamily Ethopolyinae Chamberlin, 1915

Genus Eupolybothrus Verhoeff, 1907

Eupolybothrus liburnicus sp. n.

Diagnosis: A species morphologically similar to Eupolybothrus cavernicolus, genetically differing from it by 11% interspecific distance based on COI, and morphologically differing by the slightly convex posterior margin of T14, presence of 15CxVp and 15PDp spines, and by the leg 15 to body length ratio of ca. 64% in the adult male.

Figure 1: Eupolybothrus liburnicus sp. n. habitus, cephalic plate+T1 and ocelli.
  A Habitus, holotype B Cephalic plate and T1, holotype, dorsal view C Ocelli, paratype ZMUC 00040237.

Etymology: Liburnicus denotes „of Liburnia“, a district in the coastal region of the northeastern Adriatic; adjective.

Habitat: Eupolybothrus liburnicus sp. n. is here recorded from five caves of the Velebit Mountain, Croatia. Four of these (Plitka peć, Skorupuša, Rašljekovac and Bundalova pećina) are situated in the area where the southern slopes of the Crnopac Massif meet the Krupa River canyon while one of them, Markova špilja, is a small anchialine cave situated a few hundred meters from the Adriatic coast near the village of Seline.

 Nesrine Akkari, Ana Komerički, Alexander M. Weigand, Gregory D. Edgecombe and Pavel Stoev. 2017. A New Cave Centipede from Croatia, Eupolybothrus liburnicus sp. n., with Notes on the Subgenus Schizopolybothrus Verhoeff, 1934 (Chilopoda, Lithobiomorpha, Lithobiidae). 
ZooKeys. 687; 11-43.  DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.687.13844


[Ichthyology • 2017] Three New Species of Algae-scraping Cyprinid Genus Capoeta (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) from Tigris River Drainage in Iran

Capoeta ferdowsii,  C. pyragyi C. shajariani
Jouladeh-Roudbar, Eagderi, Murillo-Ramos, Ghanavi & Doadrio, 2017

Traditionally small-scale populations of Capoeta in the Tigris River drainage are identified as Capoeta damascina. The recent finding revealed that some populations of small-scaled C. damascina species group are not identified as any described species. We examined these populations and the results showed that there are pronounced differences between them in morphological and molecular characters. Therefore based on differences found, here we describe three new small-scaled Capoeta species from Zohreh, Tireh and Gamasiab Rivers, Tigris River drainage, Iran.

Keywords: Biodiversity, Cyprinid, Freshwater fish species, Iran, Taxonomy.

Figure 4. Capoeta ferdowsii, IMNRF-UT-1111 67, 138 mm SL; Iran: Fars Prov.: Bekr sofla village, Tang-e Shiv River, Tigris River drainage.
Figure 10. Capoeta pyragyi, IMNRF-UT-1109 134, 155.8 mm SL; Iran: Lorestan Prov.: Tire River, Sezar River drainage, Tigris river drainage.
Figure 15. Capoeta shajariani, IMNRF-UT-1106 49, 149 mm SL; Iran: Hamedan Prov.: Gamasiab River, Saad-e Vaghas Village, Tigris River drainage.

Capoeta ferdowsii, new species

Distribution: Capoeta ferdowsii is known from the Zohreh and Fahlian Rivers in Tigris river drainage (Fig. 7).
Etymology: The species is named to honor of Abu Al-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi (Persian: وسمس ابوالقاسمفردوسیسمسر (a Persian poet and the author of Shahnameh book which is the world's longest epic poem created by a single poet, and the national epic of Greater Iran.

Capoeta pyragyi, new species

Distribution: Capoeta pyragyi is known from the Tireh and Sezar Rivers (Fig. 13).
Etymology: The species is named to honor of Magtymguly Pyragy (Persian: دواغس مختومقلس (a Turkmen spiritual leader and philosophical poet.

Capoeta shajariani, new species

Distribution: Capoeta shajariani is known from the Gamasiab (Fig. 20), Dinevar, Qarasu, Khoram (Khoram Abad), Aran and Sarab-e Maran Rivers in the Tigris River drainage.
Etymology: The species is named to honor of Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, an acclaimed Iranian classical singer, composer and master of Persian traditional music.

 Arash Jouladeh-Roudbar, Soheil Eagderi, Leidys Murillo-Ramos, Hamid Reza Ghanavi and Ignacio Doadrio. 2017. Three New Species of Algae-scraping Cyprinid from Tigris River Drainage in Iran (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). FishTaxa. 2(3); 134-155.

[Entomology • 2017] A Revision of Bittacomorphinae (Diptera) with A Review of the Monophyly of Extant Subfamilies of Ptychopteridae

Bittacomorphella sp.

Fasbender & Courtney. 2017. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4309.1.1


The phylogenetic relationship between the two extant subfamilies of Ptychopteridae is examined using morphological characters. Bittacomorphinae is supported as a monophyletic group with several synapomorphies. Monophyly of the Ptychopterinae is less certain. Descriptions are provided for the family and subfamilies. The genera and species of Bittacomorphinae are reviewed, and phylogenetic relationships within the subfamily are discussed. While Bittacomorpha is a monophyletic group, Bittacomorphella is probably paraphyletic. Redescriptions of the species of Bittacomorpha and most of Bittacomorphella are presented. Bittacomorphella furcata sp. nov., is described from the central Coast Range of Oregon and Olympic Peninsula of Washington, USA. The range of Bittacomorphinae is found to extend into the Neotropical region with a record of Bittacomorpha clavipes from Costa Rica. A key to the world species of Bittacomorphinae is provided.

Keywords: Diptera, Bittacomorpha, Bittacomorphella, phylogeny, morphology, natural history

 Andrew Fasbender and Gregory W. Courtney. 2017. A Revision of Bittacomorphinae with A Review of the Monophyly of Extant Subfamilies of Ptychopteridae (Diptera).   Zootaxa. 4309(1); 1–69. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4309.1.1

[Ichthyology • 2017] Systematic Revision of the Potamotrygon scobina Garman, 1913 Species-complex (Myliobatiformes: Potamotrygonidae), with the Description of Three New Freshwater Stingray Species from Brazil and Comments on Their Distribution and Biogeography

Potamotrygon scobina Garman, 1913


Potamotrygon scobina Garman, 1913, described from Cametá, rio Tocantins, lower Amazon basin, is taxonomically reviewed through an extensive morphological study of internal and external features. Specimens identified as P. scobina from different locations of the Amazon basin were also studied. The identity of P. scobina, its morphology, and distribution are redefined. In addition, three new species closely related to P. scobina are described from Brazil: Potamotrygon adamastor, sp. nov., from rio Uraricoera, rio Branco system, upper Amazon basin; Potamotrygon amazona, sp. nov., from rio Juruá, upper Amazon basin; and Potamotrygon garmani, sp. nov., from the mid to upper rio Tocantins. These three new species do not occur sympatrically with P. scobina, as far as known. Together with P. scobina and P. limai Fontenelle, Silva & Carvalho, 2014, the new species have three angular cartilages of different sizes, a condition not seen in any other potamotrygonin (which have either one or two angulars). Diagnostic characters in combination are primarily morphometric proportions, especially tail length and width, dermal denticles and tail thorns (their relative size, number, morphology, and distribution), tooth size and number of rows, and color pattern.

Keywords: Pisces, taxonomy, Neotropics, angular cartilages, Potamotrygon garmani sp. nov., Potamotrygon amazona sp. nov., Potamotrygon adamastor sp. nov.

Potamotrygon scobina Garman, 1913 

João Pedro Fontenelle and Marcelo R. de Carvalho. 2017.  Systematic Revision of the Potamotrygon scobina Garman, 1913 Species-complex (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes: Potamotrygonidae), with the Description of Three New Freshwater Stingray Species from Brazil and Comments on Their Distribution and Biogeography. Zootaxa.  4310(1); 1–63. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4310.1.1

[Herpetology • 2017] Species Delimitation with Gene Flow: A Methodological Comparison and Population Genomics Approach to Elucidate Cryptic Species Boundaries in Malaysian Torrent Frogs

DOI: 10.1111/mec.14296 


Accurately delimiting species boundaries is a non-trivial undertaking that can have significant effects on downstream inferences. We compared the efficacy of commonly-used species delimitation methods (SDMs) and a population genomics approach based on genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to assess lineage separation in the Malaysian Torrent Frog Complex currently recognized as a single species (Amolops larutensis). First, we used morphological, mitochondrial DNA and genome-wide SNPs to identify putative species boundaries by implementing non-coalescent and coalescent-based SDMs (mPTP, iBPP, BFD*). We then tested the validity of putative boundaries by estimating spatiotemporal gene flow (fastsimcoal2, ABBA-BABA) to assess the extent of genetic isolation among putative species. Our results show that the A. larutensis complex runs the gamut of the speciation continuum from highly divergent, genetically isolated lineages (mean Fst = 0.9) to differentiating populations involving recent gene flow (mean Fst = 0.05; Nm > 5). As expected, SDMs were effective at delimiting divergent lineages in the absence of gene flow but overestimated species in the presence of marked population structure and gene flow. However, using a population genomics approach and the concept of species as separately evolving metapopulation lineages as the only necessary property of a species, we were able to objectively elucidate cryptic species boundaries in the presence of past and present gene flow. This study does not discount the utility of SDMs but highlights the danger of violating model assumptions and the importance of carefully considering methods that appropriately fit the diversification history of a particular system.

Keywords: Amolops, migration rate, fastsimcoal2, site frequency spectrum, gene flow, single-nucleotide polymorphism 

Kin Onn Chan, Alana M. Alexander, Lee L. Grismer, Yong-Chao Su, Jesse L. Grismer, Evan S. H. Quah and Rafe M. Brown. 2017. Species Delimitation with Gene Flow: A Methodological Comparison and Population Genomics Approach to Elucidate Cryptic Species Boundaries in Malaysian Torrent Frogs.  Molecular Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/mec.14296 

[PaleoMammalogy • 2017] Anatoliadelphys maasae • Skeleton of An Unusual, Cat-sized Marsupial Relative (Metatheria: Marsupialiformes) from the middle Eocene (Lutetian) of Turkey

Anatoliadelphys maasae  Maga & Beck, 2017


We describe a near-complete, three-dimensionally preserved skeleton of a metatherian (relative of modern marsupials) from the middle Eocene (Lutetian: 44–43 million years ago) Lülük member of the Uzunçarşıdere Formation, central Turkey. With an estimated body mass of 3–4 kg, about the size of a domestic cat (Felis catus) or spotted quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), it is an order of magnitude larger than the largest fossil metatherians previously known from the Cenozoic of the northern hemisphere. This new taxon is characterised by large, broad third premolars that probably represent adaptations for hard object feeding (durophagy), and its craniodental morphology suggests the capacity to generate high bite forces. Qualitative and quantitative functional analyses of its postcranial skeleton indicate that it was probably scansorial and relatively agile, perhaps broadly similar in locomotor mode to the spotted quoll, but with a greater capacity for climbing and grasping. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of a total evidence dataset comprising 259 morphological characters and 9kb of DNA sequence data from five nuclear protein-coding genes, using both undated and “tip-and-node dating” approaches, place the new taxon outside the marsupial crown-clade, but within the clade Marsupialiformes. It demonstrates that at least one metatherian lineage evolved to occupy the small-medium, meso- or hypo-carnivore niche in the northern hemisphere during the early Cenozoic, at a time when there were numerous eutherians (placentals and their fossil relatives) filling similar niches. However, the known mammal fauna from Uzunçarşıdere Formation appears highly endemic, and geological evidence suggests that this region of Turkey was an island for at least part of the early Cenozoic, and so the new taxon may have evolved in isolation from potential eutherian competitors. Nevertheless, the new taxon reveals previously unsuspected ecomorphological disparity among northern hemisphere metatherians during the first half of the Cenozoic.

Systematic palaeontology

Mammalia; Theria
Metatheria; Marsupialiformes

Anatoliadelphys gen. nov.  
Anatoliadelphys maasae sp. nov.  

Etymology: Anatolia (Greek): the geographic name for the Asian part of Turkey; delphys (Greek): uterus, a common suffix for marsupials and their fossil relatives; maasae: in honour of Dr. Mary Maas and her contributions to Paleogene mammalian palaeontology, particularly in Turkey.

Holotype: Ankara Üniversitesi Jeoloji Müzesi (AÜJM) specimen 2002–25, which comprises a fragmented partial cranium, both dentaries, and associated postcranial elements, including most of the vertebral column, partial pectoral and pelvic girdles, all of the long limb bones, both calcanei, two metapodials, and a few phalanges.

Locality and age: AÜJM 2002–25 was collected from the Lülük member of the Uzunçarşıdere Formation (UCF), which is part of the small Orhaniye-Güvenç sedimentary basin located at the northwestern edge of the city of Ankara, approximately 5 km southwest of the town of Kazan, in central Turkey. The Lülük member is the lowest of the three members currently recognised within the UCF (together with the Gökdere [middle], and Sarıbeyler [upper] members), and is the source of all fossil mammals known from the UCF to date. AÜJM 2002–25 is from locality AK33, which is approximately 90m above the base of the UCF, at Memlik village. Until recently, the age of the UCF was poorly constrained, but a combination of U-Pb dating of zircons and magnetostratigraphy now support a date of 44–42 MYA (= Lutetian) for the formation as a whole, and 44–43 MYA for the Lülük member.

Diagnosis: Anatoliadelphys maasae differs from all other metatherians in the following combination of features: comparatively large size (estimated body mass 3–4 kg); premolars increase markedly in size posteriorly (occlusal area of p1 less than one sixth that of p3); P3 and p3 very large (similar in occlusal area to M2 and m2 respectively) and also broad (labiolingual width:mesiodistal length ratio is 0.89 for P3 and 0.7 for p3); modified tribosphenic molar dentition, in which M1-3 and m1-4 increase markedly in size posteriorly (occlusal area of M1 approximately one third that of M3; occlusal area of m1 approximately one seventh that of m4); upper molars with cingula extending along the anterior and posterior margins; protocone large but conules indistinct or absent; metacone taller than the paracone on M3 but smaller than the paracone on M4; centrocrista v-shaped on M3, with the premetacrista extending labially to stylar cusp D; centrocrista straight on M4; parastylar lobe very large on M4; anterior cingulid weakly developed on m3-4; m4 trigonid dominated by enormous protoconid, with paraconid and metaconid both greatly reduced; preentocristid and cristid obliqua of m3-4 both with carnassial notch; posterior cingulid present but very faint on m3-4; strongly curved radius and tibia; femur with prominent third trochanter, well-marked trochlea and distal condyles of approximately equal width; calcaneus with medially-inflected tuber, large peroneal process with prominent groove for peroneus longus tendon, concave calcaneocuboid facet, and prominent pit (probably for plantar calcaneocuboid ligament) on ventral surface.


Fig 1. Holotype skeleton of Anatoliadelphys maasae (AÜJM 2002–25). Scale bar = 5 cm. 

Reconstruction of the Anatoliadelphys maasae.
Illustration: Peter Schouten 

A. Murat Maga and Robin M. D. Beck. 2017. Skeleton of An Unusual, Cat-sized Marsupial Relative (Metatheria: Marsupialiformes) from the middle Eocene (Lutetian: 44-43 million years ago) of Turkey.  PLoS ONE. 12(8); e0181712.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181712

Cenozoic carnivore from Turkey may have evolved without placental competitors via @physorg_com
Ancient Carnivorous Dread-Possum Is Upending The History Of Mammals | Gizmodo Australia (via @GizmodoAU)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

[PaleoOrnithology • 2017] Leucocarbo septentrionalis • Speciation, Range Contraction and Extinction in the Endemic New Zealand King Shag Complex

Leucocarbo septentrionalis
Rawlence, Till, Easton, Spencer, Schuckard, Melville, Scofield, Tennyson, Rayner & Waters, 2017

Kohatu Shag || DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.07.011 

• New Zealand King Shag occupied a ‘relict’ distribution for at least the past 240 years.
• Ancient DNA indicates drop in genetic variability and range shortly after human arrival.
• Leucocarbo from northern New Zealand represent new extinct species, Kohatu Shag.
• New Zealand biodiversity hotspot for Phalacrocoracidae.

New Zealand’s endemic King Shag (Leucocarbo carunculatus) has occupied only a narrow portion of the northeastern South Island for at least the past 240 years. However, pre-human Holocene fossil and archaeological remains have suggested a far more widespread distribution of the three Leucocarbo species (King, Otago, Foveaux) on mainland New Zealand at the time of Polynesian settlement in the late 13th Century CE. We use modern and ancient DNA, and morphometric and osteological analyses, of modern King Shags and Holocene fossil Leucocarbo remains to assess the pre-human distribution and taxonomic status of the King Shag on mainland New Zealand, and the resultant conservation implications. Our analyses show that the King Shag was formerly widespread around southern coasts of the North Island and the northern parts of the South Island but experienced population and lineage extinctions, and range contraction, probably after Polynesian arrival. This history parallels range contractions of other New Zealand seabirds. Conservation management of the King Shag should take into account this species narrow distribution and probable reduced genetic diversity. Moreover, combined genetic, morphometric and osteological analyses of prehistoric material from mainland New Zealand suggest that the now extinct northern New Zealand Leucocarbo populations comprised a unique lineage. Although these distinctive populations were previously assigned to the King Shag (based on morphological similarities and geographic proximity to modern Leucocarbo populations), we herein describe them as a new species, the Kohatu Shag (Leucocarbo septentrionalis). The extinction of this species further highlights the dramatic impacts Polynesians and introduced predators had on New Zealand’s coastal and marine biodiversity. The prehistoric presence of at least four species of Leucocarbo shag on mainland NZ further highlights its status as a biodiversity hotspot for Phalacrocoracidae.

Keywords: Ancient DNA; Extinct; Holocene fossil; King Shag; Kohatu Shag; Leucocarbo carunculatusLeucocarbo septentrionalis; New species; New Zealand

Fig. 8. Cranial skeletal elements of the holotype of Kohatu Shag (Leucocarbo septentrionalis; NMNZ S.34434). (a) Lateral view; (b) Dorsal view; (c) Ventral view. 

 Systematic palaeontology


LEUCOCARBO Bonaparte, 1857
 [type species (by subsequent designation, Ogilvie-Grant, 1898) Carbo bougainvillii Lesson, 1837]


English name: Kohatu Shag; Maori name: Kawau Kohatu

Type locality: Tokerau Beach, Doubtless Bay, Northland, New Zealand.

Etymology: septentrionalis from the medieval Latin for northern. This specific name recognises that this was the northernmost New Zealand member of the genus Leucocarbo. The name Kawau Kohatu in Maori is derived from the phrase ‘Te Ao Kohatu’ and means ‘shag [Kawau] from the stone age before our time [Te Ao Kohatu]’. The name recognises the species was found in Holocene fossil deposits of the iwi Ngati Kuri’s tribal area.

Distribution: Formerly of Northland, New Zealand.

Nicolas J. Rawlence, Charlotte E. Till, Luke J. Easton, Hamish G. Spencer, Rob Schuckard, David S. Melville, R. Paul Scofield, Alan J.D. Tennyson, Matt J. Rayner and Jonathan M. Waters. 2017. Speciation, Range Contraction and Extinction in the Endemic New Zealand King Shag Complex.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. in press. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.07.011

Another extinct bird: Northland’s unique shag via @te_papa
Hiding in plain sight: how we found New Zealand’s newest seabird, the Kōhatu Shag"   @sciblogsnz 


[Ichthyology • 2017] Schistura thavonei • A New Species of Loach (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae) from northwestern Laos

 Schistura thavonei  Kottelat, 2017


 Schistura thavonei, new species, is described from the Nam Ma, Mekong drainage, in Louang Namtha Province, northwestern Laos. It is distinguished from all other Nemacheilidae by its unique colour pattern made of two broad dark brown stripes (one middorsal, one midlateral) and between them a pale yellowish-brown stripe (iridescent in life); a row of 12–24 short black bars are located increasingly lower on the flank from head to tail, posterior-most ones restricted to the lower half of the body or forming blotches along the ventral midline of the caudal peduncle. Besides, it has an elongate body with a hump immediately behind the head, 8+7 branched caudalfin rays; and 9–10 total pectoral-fin rays. It was found in riffles, over gravel to stone bottom. 

Key words. Cobitoidei, Schistura, Laos, Mekong basin, stone loach

Diagnosis. Schistura thavonei is distinguished from the other species of the genus by its unique colour pattern made of two broad dark brown stripes (one middorsal, one midlateral) and between them a pale yellowish-brown stripe (iridescent copper to orange in life) from the upper extremity of the gill opening to the upper half of the base of the caudal fin; overimposed to the midlateral stripe, a row of 12–24 short black bars, located increasingly lower on the flank from head to tail, posterior-most ones restricted to the lower half of the body or forming blotches along the ventral midline of the caudal peduncle. Additional characters useful for identification but not unique to the species are: body very elongate (depth 6.2–7.2 times in SL), with a marked hump behind the head; male without suborbital flap; 8+7 branched caudal-fin rays; 7½ branched dorsal fin rays; 9–10 pectoral-fin rays.

Notes on biology. A dissected female (CMK 25066, 46.6 mm SL) had unripe ovaries with white, irregular, not mature, ova about 1.0 mm diameter. The stomach of a 42.4 mm SL specimen was filled with insect larvae about 2–5 mm long. Schistura thavonei was observed in clear water [as expected for a benthic fish with bright coloration and contrasted pattern]. At all sites, S. thavonei has been collected in stretches of streams with riffles (in the sheltered parts with somewhat quieter current), over gravel to stone bottom (Fig. 7).

Distribution. Schistura thavonei is presently known only from the watershed of the Nam Ma in Louang Namtha Province, a tributary of the Mekong, in northeastern Laos (not to be confused with the Nam Ma in Houa Phan Province, which flows to Vietnam and enters the Gulf of Tonkin).

Etymology. The species is named for Mr. Thavone Phommavong, in appreciation for his help and companionship during several, and sometimes difficult, fish surveys in Laos. A noun in genitive.

Maurice Kottelat. 2017. Schistura thavonei, A New Species of Loach from northwestern Laos (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae). RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY. 65: 395–403

[Ichthyology • 2017] Five New Species of Marine Gobies of the Genus Grallenia (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from the tropical western Pacific Ocean

Grallenia rubrilineata  Allen & Erdmann, 2017


Five new species belonging to the gobiid fish genus Grallenia of the tropical western Pacific Ocean are described from sand-bottom habitats. Grallenia compta n. sp. (11 specimens, 14.9–17.3 mm SL) from Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea and Grallenia rubrilineata n. sp. (81 specimens, 8.8–15.8 mm SL) from Luzon, Philippines share a suite of features that comprises an absence of cephalic sensory-canal pores, a rectangular first dorsal fin without a filamentous extension of the first spine, and the anterior and posterior scales separated by a scaleless gap, with 15–22 longitudinal scales in the posterior series. The two species differ from each other in dorsal- and anal fin-ray counts (8–9 for G. compta n. sp. vs. 9–11, usually 10, for G. rubrilineata n. sp.), scalation patterns, and coloration. A third new species, Grallenia dimorpha n. sp. (34 specimens, 9.8–16.7 mm SL) from Papua New Guinea is similar, except it has a continuous series of longitudinal scales without a gap, and females possess a triangular first dorsal fin featuring a filamentous extension of the first spine. The last two species, Grallenia lauensis n. sp. (two females, 11.1–11.4 mm SL) and Grallenia solomonensis n. sp. (three females, 11.4–12.5 mm SL), are described from Fiji and the Solomon Islands, respectively. They exhibit similar diagnostic features including the presence of cephalic sensory-canal pores, usually 7 segmented dorsal- and anal-fin rays, and most body scales restricted to the caudal peduncle. Grallenia solomonensis n. sp. differs from G. lauensis n. sp. in having several mid-lateral scales immediately behind the pectoral-fin base (vs. none), 16 (vs. 15) pectoral-fin rays, pelvic-fin rays with 2–3 branch points (vs. a single point), and a truncate (vs. slightly emarginate) caudal fin. An additional 33 non-type specimens, 7.0–15.6 mm SL, from Australia (southern Great Barrier Reef and northwestern Coral Sea) are provisionally identified as G. lauensis n. sp. However, at least some Australian specimens differ slightly in possessing branched segmented dorsal-fin rays and pelvic-fin rays with more than one branch point. Although fins are damaged in most specimens, two Australian males exhibit a long, filamentous first dorsal-fin spine.

Key words: taxonomy, systematics, ichthyology, coral-reef fishes, Indo-Pacific Ocean, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Australia, sand habitat

Grallenia compta, n. sp.
 Ornamented Goby

Etymology. The species is named compta (Latin: ornamented), with reference to the orange markings on the head, body, and fins. It is treated as a feminine singular adjective.

Distribution and habitat. The new species is currently known only from Sideia Island in Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea (Fig. 6), but is no doubt more widespread in this large marine province. The habitat consists of large (5–10 m2 ), flat, sandy areas surrounded by live coral, in depths of about 14–15 m.

Figure 5: Adult males of species of Grallenia: A) G. compta; B) G. dimorpha; C) G. rubrilineata (G.R. Allen & M.V. Erdmann).

Figure 10. Grallenia dimorpha, male (upper) and female (lower), approx. 15 mm SL, underwater photographs in 16 m, White Island, West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea (G.R. Allen). 

Grallenia dimorpha, n. sp.
 Dimorphic Goby

Etymology. The species is named dimorpha (Latin: two shapes) with reference to the sexual dimorphism in relation to dorsal-fin shape. It is treated as a feminine singular adjective. 

Distribution and habitat. The new species is currently known only from Papua New Guinea (Fig. 6). The type series was collected off the southern coast of New Britain Island and the non-type specimens from the vicinity of Madang and near Port Moresby. The habitat consists of sandy substrate in about 8–18 m.

Figure 14. Grallenia lauensis, female, approx. 11 mm SL, underwater photographs in 30–35 m, Lau Archipelago, Fiji (M.V. Erdmann). 

Grallenia lauensis, n. sp. 
Lau Goby

Etymology. The species is named lauensis with reference to the Lau Archipelago type locality. 

Distribution and habitat. The new species is currently known from the southern Lau Archipelago of southeastern Fiji and 33 non-type specimens from the Great Barrier Reef and northwestern Coral Sea. The Lau habitat consists of extensive gradual slopes of clean white sand in 30–35m depth. Both Lau sites were located in channel passes from the outer reef to extensive inner lagoons, and were hence subject to frequent strong currents and high rates of water exchange.

Figure 18. Grallenia rubrilineata, male (right), female (center), and juvenile (left) approx. 8–15 mm SL, underwater photograph in 15 m, Ligpo Island near Anilao, Batangas Province, Philippines (G.R. Allen).

Grallenia rubrilineata, n. sp. 
Redstripe Goby

Etymology. The species is named rubrilineata (Latin: “red-lined” or “red-striped”), with reference to the characteristic marking on the dorsal fin of adult males. It is treated as a feminine compound adjective.

 Distribution and habitat. The new species is currently known from the Philippines, including the type locality near Anilao in Batangas Province, Luzon, and on the basis of a photograph from Dauin, Negros in the Central Visayas Group. A female specimen examined at WAM (P.30410-015), 18 mm SL, from Bohaydulong Island, Sabah State, Malaysia is probably G. rubrilineata, judging from fin-ray counts, scale pattern, and lack of head pores; however, additional specimens, including males, would be required to verify this identification. The habitat at Anilao consists of extensive areas of sand/silt substrate in about 12–15 m. The new species was very abundant in some areas, including the type locality, with an estimated abundance of 10–15 individuals per square meter. It was typically seen in small groups.

Grallenia solomonensis, n. sp. 
Solomons Goby

Etymology. The species is named solomonensis with reference to the Solomon Islands type locality.

Gerald R. Allen and Mark V. Erdmann. 2017. Description of Five New Species of Marine Gobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae) of the Genus Grallenia from the tropical western Pacific Ocean. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. 27; 20–47.