Monday, April 24, 2017

[Botany • 2017] Etlingera frederikii • A New Species of Etlingera (Zingiberaceae) from Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea

Etlingera frederikii A.D.Poulsen

A new species, Etlingera frederikii, is described and illustrated, and is the first record of the genus in the Bougainville Region. Etlingera frederikii and E. cevuga, which occurs in Fiji and Samoa, are the two most easterly species in the distribution range of the genus. The new species differs from Etlingera cevuga in its much larger leaves, with a conspicuously silky-haired band on the ligule; the smaller, narrowly ovoid to cylindrical inflorescence with pale brown bracts (not hemiglobose with reddish brown bracts); and fewer, smaller flowers.

Fig. 1. Photographs of Etlingera frederikiiA, Clump of leafy shoots; B, leafy shoot with two ligules (white triangles indicating sericeous bands) and leaf bases; C, inflorescence in situ; D, inflorescence excavated; E, fertile bract; F, bracteole; G, calyx; H, flower, lateral view (calyx removed).
A and B, Poulsen et al. 2880, made in Lae Botanic Gardens; C–H, the type, Poulsen et al. 2593. Photographs by A. D. Poulsen.  DOI: 10.1017/S0960428617000026    

Etlingera frederikii A.D.Poulsen, sp. nov. 

Etymology. Named in honour of H.R.H. Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, who was the patron of the Danish Expedition Fund that planned and executed the Galathea 3 circumnavigation during which this new species was discovered. The Crown Prince has himself participated in expeditions to Central China and Northeast Greenland and has also supported an expedition to Borneo in 2002 led by the first author. 

Distribution. Bougainville Island. So far, documented only from the type locality in ridge forest at 850 m. It is likely to occur naturally on the neighbouring island to the south-east, Choiseul, in the Solomon Islands. A cultivated plant with a dried-up inflorescence in a garden in Buka Town, Buka Island (just north of Bougainville Island) is very likely of the same species.

Vernacular name. Rurutate (Rotokas language). Uses not known. 

Etlingera frederikii A.D.Poulsen

 A. D. Poulsen and B. B. Bau. 2017. A New Species of Etlingera (Zingiberaceae) from Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea.  Edinburgh Journal of Botany. DOI: 10.1017/S0960428617000026

[Mammalogy • 2017] Sturnira adrianae • A New Polytypic Species of Yellow-shouldered Bats, Genus Sturnira (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae), from the Andean and Coastal Mountain Systems of Venezuela and Colombia

Sturnira adrianae adrianae 
Molinari, Bustos, Burneo, Camacho, Moreno & Fermin, 2017

Photo: Jesús Molinari  

Sturnira is the most speciose genus of New World leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae). We name Sturnira adrianae, new species. This taxon is born polytypic, divided into a larger subspecies (S. a. adrianae) widespread in the mountains of northern and western Venezuela, and northern Colombia, and a smaller subspecies (S. a. caripana) endemic to the mountains of northeastern Venezuela. The new species inhabits evergreen, deciduous, and cloud forests at mainly medium (1000–2000 m) elevations. It has long been confused with S. ludovici, but it is more closely related to S. oporaphilum. It can be distinguished from other species of Sturnira by genetic data, and based on discrete and continuously varying characters. Within the genus, the new species belongs to a clade that also includes S. oporaphilum, S. ludovici, S. hondurensis, and S. burtonlimi. The larger new subspecies is the largest member of this clade. The two new subspecies are the most sexually dimorphic members of this clade. The smaller new subspecies is restricted to small mountain systems undergoing severe deforestation processes, therefore can be assigned to the Vulnerable (VU) conservation category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Keywords: Mammalia, Andes, evolutionary species concept, geographic variation, morphometrics, sexual dimorphism

Sturnira adrianae adrianae, the larger and more widespread of the newly described Sturnira adrianae subspecies.
Photo: Jesús Molinari  

• Sturnira adrianae new species 
• Sturnira adrianae adrianae new subspecies 
Adriana’s Yellow-shouldered Bat 
Murciélago de Charreteras de Adriana

Diagnosis. Epaulettes (yellow shoulders) present. Lower molars with continuous lingual cusps. All four lower incisors well developed, bilobed. Upper middle incisor long, bilobed, pointed, strikingly protrudent, tip laterally diverging. Lower canine long, narrow. Upper premolars broad and long in labial view. Molars with no gaps between them. Zygomatic arch complete, not bowed outwards. Occiput low. Preorbital frontal ridges well developed. Foramen ovale touching the caudal pterygoid process.

 Distribution. Known from all the Andean and coastal mountain systems of Venezuela, except those east of the Unare Depression. Presumably, also distributed throughout the Cordillera Oriental in Colombia ..... 

Etymology. The epithet adrianae, a feminine noun in the genitive case, is dedicated to the memory of the Colombian-Venezuelan bat biologist, Adriana Ruiz, 1971–2012. Adriana was a charismatic, imaginative, and dedicated colleague. She published 14 papers and book chapters. Owing to her untimely departure, much of her most valuable research was left unpublished. Adriana had a particularly keen interest in species of Sturnira. We are privileged to name after her a member of the genus wandering in the environments in which she so joyfully conducted much of her field work.

• Sturnira adrianae caripana new subspecies 
Caripe Yellow-shouldered Bat 
Murciélago de Charreteras de Caripe
Diagnosis. Identical to that of S. a. adrianae, except for: 1) upper premolars narrower and shorter in labial view; 2) preorbital frontal ridges little developed; 3) foramen ovale not touching the caudal pterygoid process.

Distribution (Fig. 1). Known from four localities in the Turimiquire Massiff, and from two localities in the neighboring Paria Peninsula (Appendix). Presumably, endemic to the mountain ranges of northeastern Venezuela, east of the Unare Depression. 

Etymology. The epithet caripana [Carip(e) + -ana], a feminine adjectival toponym, is derived from Caripe, a town near the type locality made known to science in the book “Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America, During the Years 1799–1804”, of the famous German explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

 Jesús Molinari, Xiomar E. Bustos, Santiago F. Burneo, M. A. Camacho, S. A. Moreno & Gustavo Fermin. 2017. A New Polytypic Species of Yellow-shouldered Bats, Genus Sturnira (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae), from the Andean and Coastal Mountain Systems of Venezuela and Colombia.   Zootaxa. 4243(1); 75–96.   DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4243.1.3

New leaf-nosed bat uncovered amidst burning habitat in Venezuela via @mongabay

[Botany • 2017] Sabal antillensis • A New Palmetto Species (Arecaceae) from the Leeward Antilles

Sabal antillensis M.P.Griff.


A new species of palmetto, Sabal antillensis, native to Curaçao and Bonaire, is described and illustrated. The new species is characterized by a pachycaulous habit, a compact crown of leaves, large seeds, and frequent fiber bundles in leaflet transection. Details on history, morphology, distribution, habitat, and conservation status are provided.

Keywords: anatomy, Coryphoideae, Christoffelpark, Palmae, palms, Southern Caribbean, Monocots

FIGURE 2. Sabal antillensis, Christoffelpark, Curaçao, showing pachycaul trunk habit, and most leaves held at an angle ascending from the trunk axis (photograph: Griffith). 

Sabal antillensis M.P.Griff., sp. nov.

Diagnosis:— This new species is most similar to Sabal causiarum in leaf morphology and inflorescence structure, but differs in the pachycaul habit, the petioles less than half the total leaf length giving a distinctive densely foliated crown, the smaller and less persistent ligules, the more divided leaf segments and leaf segment apices, the frequent adaxial fiber bundles between most secondary minor leaf segment veins, the inflorescences not pendant below the leaves, the abaxially lepidote sheathing inflorescence bracts, the lower density of flowers on the rachilla, the tubular to cupulate calyx, the larger fruits and the larger seeds. 

 Distribution:— This species occurs on the islands of Bonaire and Curaçao. On Bonaire, the plants are found in the southern part of the island, west of Lac Bay and north of the solar salt factory. On Curaçao, the plants are within and to the west of Christoffelpark, on the western side of Christoffelberg.

 Habitat:— On Bonaire, the plants are found in the Coccoloba–Melocactus Middle Terrace landscape type (de Freitas et al. 2005), on limestone pavements, at elevations near 5 m. On Curaçao, the plants are found in the Bromelia– Schomburgkia Hills landscape type (Beers et al. 1997), on cherty mudstones, at elevations between 140–260 m.

Local Names:— The plant is called Cabana or Sabalpalm in the Dutch Caribbean. 
Etymology:— The name honors the Dutch Antilles, where the species is endemic. 

M. Patrick Griffith , John De Freitas , Michelle Barros and Larry R. Niblick. 2017. Sabal antillensis (Arecaceae): A New Palmetto Species from the Leeward Antilles.
 Phytotaxa. 303(1);  56–64. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.303.1.4

Sunday, April 23, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Species Delimitation of the Blue-spotted Spiny Lizard within A Multilocus, Multispecies Coalescent Framework, Results in the Recognition of A New Sceloporus Species; Sceloporus gadsdeni

 DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.04.004 

• Reciprocal monophyly supported clades were found for Sceloporus cyanostictus.
• Parametric coalescent-based method confirms two different lineages.
• A new species of Sceloporus is recognized and described.

Species delimitation is a major topic in systematics. Species delimitation methods based on molecular data have become more common since this approach provides insights about species identification via levels of gene flow, the degree of hybridization and phylogenetic relationships. Also, combining multilocus mitochondrial and nuclear DNA leads to more reliable conclusions about species limits. Coalescent-based species delimitation methods explicitly reveal separately evolving lineages using probabilistic approaches and testing the delimitation hypotheses for several species. Within a multispecies, multilocus, coalescent framework, we were able to clarify taxonomic uncertainties within S. cyanostictus, an endangered lizard that inhabits a narrow strip of the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico. We included, for the first time in a phylogenetic analysis, lizards from the three populations of S. cyanostictus recognized so far (East Coahuila, West Coahuila and Nuevo León). Phylogenetic analysis corroborates the hypothesis of two separately evolving lineages, i.e. the East and West Coahuila populations, as proposed in a previous study. We also found a distant phylogenetic relationship between the lizards from Nuevo León and those of East and West Coahuila. Finally, based on the species delimitation results, we propose and describe a new species of SceloporusSceloporus gadsdeni sp. nov.

Keywords: BP&P; Chihuahuan Desert; Molecular data; Systematics; Sceloporus; Taxonomic uncertainties

Fig. 1. Known distribution of Sceloporus cyanostictus. 

Sceloporus gadsdeni Castañeda-Gaytán & Díaz-Cárdenas sp. nov. 
(Lagoon Spiny Lizard)

Diagnosis: This species differs from S. cyanostictus in the dorsal color pattern (live), which is completely green with two dominant tonalities (metallic green and turquoise). The ventral pattern has a blue patch that joins in the middle of the belly and the chest with black borders in males; in contrast, in Scyanostictus the chest and undersurfaces of arms are pale grayish blue with melanin specks, each flank has a poorly defined bluish black belly patch sometimes without contact in the middle of the belly. According to currently available published information, S. cyanostictus from eastern Coahuila has 6 superciliars and 6 infralabials (Axtell and Axtell, 1971), while S. gadsdeni has 4 superciliar scales on each side of the head and 5 infralabials with uncertainty on this character due to sample size (Table 2).

The distribution of S. gadsdeni is restricted to the Sierras Texas, Solis and San Lorenzo mountain ranges in southwestern Coahuila, and this species inhabits rock walls, boulders and canyons. These mountains are separated from the location of S. cyanostictus by ca. 190 km as the crow flies and immersed within the low Mayran Basin.

Etymology: This species is named in honor of Hector Gadsden, a researcher who has made praiseworthy contributions to the ecology and conservation of the herpetofauna of La Comarca Lagunera and the Chihuahuan Desert. The suggested common name alludes to its restricted distribution within the La Comarca Lagunera region.

Brenda Díaz-Cárdenas, Eduardo Ruiz-Sanchez, Patricia Castro-Felix, Gamaliel Castañeda-Gaytán, Sergio Ruiz-Santana and Héctor Gadsden. 2017. Species Delimitation of the Blue-spotted Spiny Lizard within A Multilocus, Multispecies Coalescent Framework, Results in the Recognition of A New Sceloporus Species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. In Press.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.04.004

[Diplopoda • 2017] Revision of the Vietnamese Millipede Genus Annamina Attems, 1937 (Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae), with Descriptions of Three New Species

Figure 10. Annamina mikhaljovae sp. n., ♂ holotype (ZMUM).
A habitus, lateral view B anterior part of body, ventral view C midbody segments, dorsal view D segments 5–7, ventral view E caudal part of body, dorsal view.
Pictures taken not to scale. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.669.12561

The hitherto monotypic diplopod genus Annamina contains now four species, including the revised type-species A. xanthoptera Attems, 1937, as well as Annamina attemsi sp. n.Annamina irinae sp. n. and Annamina mikhaljovae sp. n., all from central or southern Vietnam. The genus is rediagnosed and a key to its constituent species given.

Keywords: Diplopoda, Paradoxosomatidae, Annamina, taxonomy, new species, Vietnam

Figure 1. Annamina xanthoptera Attems, 1937, ♂ paralectotype (NHMW).
A habitus, lateral view B anterior part of body, lateral view C midbody segments, dorsolateral view. 

Figure 5. Annamina attemsi sp. n., ♂ paratype (NHMW).
A habitus, lateral view B anterior part of body, lateral view C midbody segments, dorsolateral view D caudal part of body, dorsolateral view. 

Figure 8. Annamina irinae sp. n., ♂ paratype (ZMUM).
A habitus, lateral view B anterior part of body, anteroventral view C midbody segments, dorsal view D caudal part of body, dorsal view E gonopods, ventral view. Pictures taken not to scale. 

Sergei I. Golovatch, Jean-Jacques Geoffroy and Nesrine Akkari. 2017. Revision of the Vietnamese Millipede Genus Annamina Attems, 1937, with Descriptions of Three New Species (Diplopoda, Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae).  ZooKeys. 669: 1-18. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.669.12561

[Ichthyology • 2011] Fangfangia spinicleithralis • A New Genus and Species of Miniature Cyprinid Fish (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) from the Peat Swamp Forests of Borneo

Fangfangia spinicleithralis 
Britz, Kottelat & Tan, 2011 

Fangfangia spinicleithralis, new genus, new species, is described from peat swamp forest habitats in Kalimantan Tengah, Borneo, Indonesia. It differs from all other cyprinids in having the anteroventral tip of the left cleithrum projecting into a strong anteriorly directed spine and a pointed posteriorly directed spine at the posteroventral aspect of each cleithrum. In addition, it can be diagnosed by the following characters: the base of the dorsal hemitrich of the first pectoral-fin ray with serrated margin, multicuspid pharyngeal teeth, ventrally directed lateral processes on vertebra 1, the high number of procurrent caudal-fin rays (14-18 dorsally, 11-15 ventrally), absence of scales with the exception of six or seven tubular lateral line ossicles, and the greatly elongated middle radials in the anal fin, which may reach half the length of proximal radials.

Fangfangia, new genus

Etymology. The new genus is named after the late Fang Fang, a passionate and productive cypriniform researcher, who left us too early, honouring her contribution to danionine taxonomy and phylogeny. Gender feminine.

 Fangfangia spinicleithralis, new species 

Distribution. Fangfangia spinicleithralis is presently known only from the type locality in Sebangau peat swamp forest, Kalimantan Tengah, Borneo, Indonesia.

Etymology. The species name spinicleithralis, an adjective, is derived from the Latin words spina, thorn, and cleithralis, belonging to the cleithrum (the main element of the dermal shoulder girdle). It refers to the unique pointed anterior and posterior spines on the cleithrum of this species.

Britz, R., Kottelat, M., & Tan, H.H. 2011. Fangfangia spinicleithralis, A New Genus and Species of Miniature Cyprinid Fish from the Peat Swamp Forests of Borneo (Teleostei: Cyprinidae).
 Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters. 22 (4): 327-335.

[Botany • 2016] Rhododendron longipedicellatum • A New Species (Ericaceae) from southeastern Yunnan, China

Rhododendron longipedicellatum Lei Cai & Y.P. Ma


A new species of Rhododendron (Ericaceae) in sect. Vireya subsect. Pseudovireya from Malipo County, Southeast Yunnan, China, Rhododendron longipedicellatum, is described and illustrated. The new species is most similar to R. rushforthii but differs in its arrangement of leaves, the shape and color of the lamina, length of the petiole and the size of the calyx lobes. It also resembles R. trancongii and R. datiandingense, but differs in its color and shape of the lamina, the leaf apex, lengths of the petiole, pedicel and stamens, and the indumentum of the ovary.

Keywords: Ericaceae, Rhododendron, new species, China, Eudicots

FIGURE 2. Rhododendron longipedicellatum Lei Cai & Y.P. Ma. (A, C, E-J) and R. rushforthii (B & D)
A & B. Pressed branch with leaves and flowers; C. Branch with young fruits and flower; D. Flowering branch; E. Habitat and habit; F-G. Flowers; H. Lateral view of flowers showing corollas and pedicels; I-J. Fruiting branches. 

Etymology:— The epithet “longipedicellatum” refers to the relatively long pedicels of the new species. This species has almost the longest pedicels in R. subsect. Pseudovireya (Clarke) Sleumer. The Chinese name in Pinyin is “chang geng du juan”.  

 Lei Cai, Jens Neilsen, Zhi-Ling Dao and Yong-Peng Ma. 2016. Rhododendron longipedicellatum (Ericaceae), A New Species from southeastern Yunnan, China. Phytotaxa. 282(4); 296–300. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.282.4.7


[Botany • 2017] Dioscorea irodensis • A New Species of Critically Endangered Edible Yam (Dioscoreaceae) Endemic to northern Madagascar and Its Conservation

 Dioscorea irodensis  Wilkin, Rajaonah & Randriamb.

Morphological character data are used to show that a distinct morphotype of Dioscorea L. from the Irodo valley (East of Sadjoavato) in Antsiranana Province of Madagascar is an undescribed species, differing in its leaf arrangement, pubescence form and male inflorescence structure from all other taxa. It is described as Dioscorea irodensis Wilkin, Rajaonah & Randriamb., illustrated and a distribution map and ecological information provided. It is known from three sites, but is likely to have been eradicated from one of them. The population that has been studied in the field contains a very low number of adult plants. Tubers have been extracted for use as food at a level that appears to be unsustainable. Thus its provisional IUCN conservation status assessment is that it is critically endangered (CR). Its vernacular name in Irodo is Bemandry.

Key Words: conservation, critically endangered, distribution, edible, ex situin situ, Madagascar, morphology, new species, yam 

Fig. 1 Vegetative and reproductive organ morphology in Dioscorea irodensis.
 A habit of fruiting plant, showing leaves borne in clusters of up to 7 on short herbaceous branches; B detail of coarse, erect to spreading indumentum; C dehisced capsule; D seed and seed wing; E habit of male flowering plant with leaves in early development; F part of a male inflorescence showing condensed cymules of flowers; G a single cymule showing the cymule bract and inflorescence axis indumentum; H side view of a male flower showing pubescent tepal external surfaces; J half male flower showing three stamens, torus morphology and pistillode; K flower viewed from above showing inner and outer tepal whorls and anther presentation; L tuber drawn following its usual orientation in the soil and curved apex that subtends a shoot.
Scale bars: A, E = 2.5 cm; B = 5 mm; C, D = 2 cm; F = 4 mm; G = 2 mm; H – K = 1.5 mm; L = 6 cm.
 drawn by Lucy Smith. 
 DOI: 10.1007/s12225-017-9677-6  

Fig. 2 Photographs of Dioscorea irodensis showing its vegetative morphology in fruit and underground organs.
A leaves and an infructescence reduced to a solitary submature capsule; B node with a cluster of leaves on a short lateral shoot showing an infructescence at dehiscence; C two tuber apices (current (marked a) and previous year (b)) and separated body of current year’s tuber (c) with stem and leaves disentangled from surrounding vegetation. The size and curved apex of the tuber (indicated by arrows) linked to its horizontal habit is shown. 

Dioscorea irodensis Wilkin, Rajaonah & Randriamb., sp. nov. 

Type: Madagascar, Antsiranana: Diana, Antsiranana II, Anivorano, Irodo, ala fady S of village towards Irodo river estuary, 12°39'6.3"S 49°31'38.2"E, ♀ fr. 8 Feb. 2015, P. Wilkin, J. A. Kennerley, F. Rakotonasolo, M. Hamido & M. Tsaratiana 1675 (holotype TAN!; isotype K!).

Recognition. Tuber horizontal in soil with a curved apex (derived from digging up two plants and inferring a similar position in others from the shape of extraction holes and the Malagasy vernacular name). Leaves in clusters of up to 7 on short herbaceous branches, clustered particularly towards bases of main vegetative stems (Fig. 1A, 2B), blades thin in texture, densely pubescent below and when immature but coarse and never forming a tomentum as in Dioscorea ovinala. Plants at the locality near Irodo represented by Wilkin et al. 1674 and 1675 often have white spotting on their leaf blades which has the appearance of pathogenic infection (see Fig. 2A). Male inflorescences (Fig. 1 E, F) with irregularly spaced, spirally arranged dense cymules of 2 – 8 pedicellate flowers or rarely solitary, vs flowers (sub)sessile, or rarely with a pedicel to 0.5 mm long and solitary or in groups of 2 – 4 (D. ovinala). Fruit not inflated and fleshy during development but thin-lobed and capsular throughout, single layered at dehiscence. Restricted to a small area East of Sadjoavato in Antsiranana Province.

Distribution and habitat. Endemic to the Irodo river Valley and Sahafary forest in Antsiranana Province (Map 1) at altitudes from 30 – 230 m. It is possible that the three collections from South of the village of Irodo represent two subpopulations on either side of the river as opposed to two distinct populations (the term population is used here in an ecological sense, except in the Conservation Status section), but the specimen from Sahafary forest is spatially isolated. At Irodo, it is found in semi-deciduous forest with a canopy to 10 m and a clear shrub layer, the principal canopy trees being Colvillea and Tamarindus, with Pachypodium in the shrub layer. Soil a brown sandy loam, possibly alluvial, or red sand over limestone bedrock. The Sahafary Forest specimen states that it was from scrub forest on red sand.

Etymology. Named for the village of Irodo and the Irodo River valley where this species is found.

Vernacular name. Bemandry in the village of Irodo. This name appears to be applied particularly to species with horizontal tubers, for example the element of Dioscorea soso Jum. & H. Perrier sensu lato with the same tuber habit.

Uses. Tuber edible cooked. Rather watery following cooking and thus not fully satisfying the appetite. Dioscorea maciba, known as batatala in Irodo, is the more sought after species of the two that are found in the Irodo valley and surrounding areas. Not believed to be sold in markets but consumed usually in March/April.

Paul Wilkin, James A. Kennerley, Mamy Tiana Rajaonah, Geodain Meva Huckël, Feno Rakotoarison, Tianjanahary Randriamboavonjy and Stuart Cable. 2017. A New Species of Critically Endangered Edible Yam Endemic to northern Madagascar, Dioscorea irodensis (Dioscoreaceae) and Its Conservation. Kew Bulletin. 72; 15.  DOI: 10.1007/s12225-017-9677-6

[Botany • 2017] Paphiopedilum lunatum & P. bungebelangi • Two New Species of Paphiopedilum (Orchidaceae: Cypripedioideae) Section Barbata from Sumatra, Indonesia

Paphiopedilum lunatum  Metusala

Two new species of Paphiopedilum from Sumatra, Indonesia, are described and illustrated. These two species belong in Paphiopedilum section Barbata and are so far known only from Aceh Province in the north of Sumatra.

Paphiopedilum lunatum Metusala, sp. nov. section Barbata

Etymology. From the Latin word lunatus, meaning bent like a crescent moon, in reference to the obviously crescent-shaped staminode of this species. 

Distribution. Indonesia, Sumatra, Aceh Province, Central Aceh Regency.

Habitat and ecology. Growing under shade as a terrestrial plant with roots in thick leaf litter or sphagnum moss. Its natural habitat ranges from open, flat areas dominated by forked fern (Dicranopteris sp.), low shrubs and grasses to slightly open forest on sloping hills dominated by rattan species, at 1300–1600 m altitude. 


Paphiopedilum bungebelangi Metusala, sp. nov. section Barbata

Etymology. The specific name is an adjective derived from the Gayo language (the Gayo people live in the highlands of Central Aceh), ‘bunge’ meaning flower and ‘belangi’ meaning beautiful, referring to the beautiful flower of this species.

 Distribution. Indonesia, Sumatra, Aceh Province, Central Aceh Regency. 

Habitat and ecology. Growing as a terrestrial plant with roots in thick leaf litter or sphagnum moss on sloping limestone hills from 1550–1650 m altitude. Plants were found growing in deep, shady forest with relatively low light intensity.  

  D. Metusala. 2017. Two New Species of Paphiopedilum (Orchidaceae: Cypripedioideae) Section Barbata from Sumatra, Indonesia.
 Edinburgh Journal of Botany. 74(1); 1-10. DOI:  10.1017/S0960428617000063

Peneliti BKT Kebun Raya Purwodadi Temukan Dua Spesies Baru Anggrek dari Pulau Sumatera, Indonesia

[Botany • 2017] Rhododendron stanleyi • A New Rhododendron Species (Ericaceae, Subgenus Vireya) from Papua New Guinea

Rhododendron stanleyi S.James & Argent

Rhododendron stanleyi S.James & Argent is described as a new species from Mount Yule, Central Province, Papua New Guinea. Its morphological position in the subgenus is discussed and the differences given from the most closely similar species. A note on the habitat and conservation assessment is also provided.

Keywords: Ericaceae, new species, Papua New Guinea, Rhododendron, subgenus Vireya.


Etymology. Named in honour of Jonathan H. Stanley (1960–2006), an avid sailor and keen naturalist; and Evan R. Stanley (1895–1924), the first Government Geologist for the Territory of Papua, from 1911–1924.

S. A. James and G. Argent. 2017. Rhododendron stanleyi S. James &. Argent: A New Rhododendron Species (Ericaceae, Subgenus Vireya) from Papua New Guinea. Edinburgh Journal of Botany. DOI: 10.1017/S096042861700004X 

Rhododendron stanleyi S.James et Argent This new Vireya (section Hadranthe) is a shrubby tree to 2m and was discovered on the summit of Mt Yule, Central Province PNG


[Paleontology • 2017] Isaberrysaura mollensis • A New Primitive Neornithischian Dinosaur from the Jurassic of Patagonia with Gut Contents

 Isaberrysaura mollensis
Salgado, Canudo, Garrido, Moreno-Azanza, Martínez, Coria & Gasca, 2017

DOI: 10.1038/srep42778 

We describe a new species of an ornithischian dinosaur, Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. The specimen, consisting in an almost complete skull and incomplete postcranium was collected from the marine-deltaic deposits of the Los Molles Formation (Toarcian-Bajocian), being the first reported dinosaur for this unit, one of the oldest from Neuquén Basin, and the first neornithischian dinosaur known from the Jurassic of South America. Despite showing a general stegosaurian appearance, the extensive phylogenetic analysis carried out depicts Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. as a basal ornithopod, suggesting that both Thyreophora and neornithischians could have achieved significant convergent features. The specimen was preserved articulated and with some of its gut content place in the middle-posterior part of the thoracic cavity. Such stomach content was identified as seeds, most of them belonging to the Cycadales group. This finding reveals a possible and unexpected role of this ornithischian species as seed-dispersal agent.

Figure 2: Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. holotype.
 Skull in dorsal (a and b, photograph and drawing respectively), and left lateral (c and d, photograph and drawing respectively) views. (e) Premaxillary tooth; (f,g) maxillary teeth (g inverted).
amf, anterior maxillary fossa; aof, antorbital fossa; aso, anterior supraorbital; d, dentary; ef, elliptical fossa; f, foramina; fr, frontal; ift, infratemporal fenestra; j, jugal; mx, maxilla; n, nasals; o, orbit; pd, predentary; pdb, postdentary bones; pmx, premaxilla; po, postorbital; pso: posterior supraorbital; prf, prefrontal; qj, quadratojugal; sq, squamosal; stf, supratemporal fenestra. 1–7 denticles. 

Figure 3 Gut content of Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov.
(a–c), seeds of cycads (c), and other seeds (s); rib (r). (d,e) Detail of seeds of cycads: sarcotesta (sa), sclerotesta (sc), coronula (c), nucellus (n). (f) Location of the gut content in the reconstructed skeleton of Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov.  

Systematic palaeontology

Ornithischia Seeley, 1887
Genasauria Sereno, 1986

Neornithischia Sereno, 1986

Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: In honour of Isabel Valdivia Berry, who reported the finding of the holotype material.

Holotype: MOZ-Pv 6459. A skeleton comprising a nearly complete skull, and a partial postcranium (still unprepared) consisting of 6 cervical vertebrae, 15 dorsal vertebrae, a sacrum with a partial ilium and an apparently complete pubis, 9 caudal vertebrae, part of a scapula, ribs, and unidentifiable fragments.

Type locality and horizon: The holotype comes from the locality of Los Molles (Neuquén Province, Argentina) (Fig. 1). The specimen was found in the marine-deltaic deposits of the Los Molles Formation (Toarcian-Bajocian), which in this sector reaches a thickness of approximately 1,042 m. The fossil-bearing level is composed of laminated pelites rich in ammonitiferous concretions and vertebrate remains, located some 40 m below the contact with the overlying unit (Lajas Formation, Bajocian-Bathonian). The presence of the ammonite Sonninia altecostata allows the fossil-bearing level to be situated biochronologically in the early Bajocian. In palaeoenvironmental terms, the sedimentary succession comprises a large-scale progradational deltaic system, dominated by wave action and the influence of storms. The dinosaur remains described here, the first reported from this unit, are among the oldest from Neuquén Basin.

Leonardo Salgado, José I. Canudo, Alberto C. Garrido, Miguel Moreno-Azanza, Leandro C. A. Martínez, Rodolfo A. Coria and José M. Gasca. 2017. A New Primitive Neornithischian Dinosaur from the Jurassic of Patagonia with Gut Contents. Scientific Reports. 7: 42778. DOI: 10.1038/srep42778

Saturday, April 22, 2017

[Mollusca • 2017] Discovery of Chemoautotrophic Symbiosis in the Giant Shipworm Kuphus polythalamia (Bivalvia: Teredinidae) Extends Wooden-Steps Theory

Certain marine invertebrates harbor chemosynthetic bacterial symbionts, giving them the remarkable ability to consume inorganic chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S) rather than organic matter as food. These chemosynthetic animals are found near geochemical (e.g., hydrothermal vents) or biological (e.g., decaying wood or large animal carcasses) sources of H2S on the seafloor. Although many such symbioses have been discovered, little is known about how or where they originated. Here, we demonstrate a new chemosynthetic symbiosis in the giant teredinid bivalve (shipworm) Kuphus polythalamia and show that this symbiosis arose in a wood-eating ancestor via the displacement of ancestral cellulolytic symbionts by sulfur-oxidizing invaders. Here, wood served as an evolutionary stepping stone for a dramatic transition from heterotrophy to chemoautotrophy.

The “wooden-steps” hypothesis [Distel DL, et al. (2000) Nature 403:725–726] proposed that large chemosynthetic mussels found at deep-sea hydrothermal vents descend from much smaller species associated with sunken wood and other organic deposits, and that the endosymbionts of these progenitors made use of hydrogen sulfide from biogenic sources (e.g., decaying wood) rather than from vent fluids. Here, we show that wood has served not only as a stepping stone between habitats but also as a bridge between heterotrophic and chemoautotrophic symbiosis for the giant mud-boring bivalve Kuphus polythalamia. This rare and enigmatic species, which achieves the greatest length of any extant bivalve, is the only described member of the wood-boring bivalve family Teredinidae (shipworms) that burrows in marine sediments rather than wood. We show that K. polythalamia harbors sulfur-oxidizing chemoautotrophic (thioautotrophic) bacteria instead of the cellulolytic symbionts that allow other shipworm species to consume wood as food. The characteristics of its symbionts, its phylogenetic position within Teredinidae, the reduction of its digestive system by comparison with other family members, and the loss of morphological features associated with wood digestion indicate that K. polythalamia is a chemoautotrophic bivalve descended from wood-feeding (xylotrophic) ancestors. This is an example in which a chemoautotrophic endosymbiosis arose by displacement of an ancestral heterotrophic symbiosis and a report of pure culture of a thioautotrophic endosymbiont.

Keywords: symbiosis; shipworm; thioautotrophy; Teredinidae; chemoautotrophy

Fig. 1. Comparative anatomy and life position of Kuphus polythalamia and Lyrodus pedicellatus.
(A) Fresh specimen of K. polythalamia (PMS-1672Y) removed from its calcareous tube, (B) calcareous tube of K. polythalamia (PMS-1674K) removed from sediment, (C) diagram depicting the anatomy and life position of Kpolythalamia in sediment, and (D) Inset from box in C depicting the anatomy and life position of the wood-feeding shipworm Lyrodus pedicellatus in wood. (Scale bars: A–C, 5.0 cm; D, 0.5 cm.) b, bacteria; c, cecum; g, gill; HS−, hydrogen sulfide; m, mouth; p, pallet; s, siphon; t, calcareous tube; v, valve (shell); vm, visceral mass. Movie S1 shows a specimen of Kpolythalamia being removed from its tube and dissected. 


Daniel L. Distel, Marvin A. Altamia, Zhenjian Lin, J. Reuben Shipway, Andrew Han, Imelda Forteza, Rowena Antemano, Ma. Gwen J. Peñaflor Limbaco, Alison G. Tebo, Rande Dechavez, Julie Albanof, Gary Rosenberg, Gisela P. Concepcion, Eric W. Schmidt and Margo G. Haygood. 2017. Discovery of Chemoautotrophic Symbiosis in the Giant Shipworm Kuphus polythalamia (Bivalvia: Teredinidae) Extends Wooden-Steps Theory. PNAS.  DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1620470114

Science fiction horror wriggles into reality with discovery of giant sulfur-powered shipworm via @physorg_com
This Alien Worm-Creature Will Haunt Your Nightmares | Gizmodo Australia (via @GizmodoAU)