Thursday, June 27, 2013

[Paleontology / PalaeoIchthyology • 2013] Teleost centrum and jaw elements from the Upper Cretaceous Nemegt Formation (Campanian – Maastrichtian) of Mongolia and a re-identification of the fish centrum found with the theropod Raptorex kreigsteini

RAPTOREX REBUTTAL: A new paper by Newbrey et al 2013 adds even stronger evidence that the small tyrannosaurid skeleton named "Raptorex" was illegally removed from the Late Cretaceous Nemegt Formation of Mongolia, and not from the Early Cretaceous of China (as originally claimed).
via Horner Paleo Lab, Museum of the Rockies

Isolated centra and a premaxilla of a teleost from the Upper Cretaceous Nemegt Formation (Late Campanian - Early Maastrichtian) of Mongolia are described and aligned with the hiodontids and the Late Cretaceous teleost Coriops from North America. The atlas of the Nemegt taxon has an anterior articular surface with the dorsal half being subdivided into two flat articulator surfaces as in those of the hiodontids. In more posterior abdominal centra, the centrum is strongly constricted at the notochord foramen, the rib loosely articulates in a facet on the lateral wall of the centrum posterior to the parapophysis as in hiodontids, and parapophyses are fused to the centrum. Neural arch articular facets are small and round. Distinct mid-dorsal foramina are absent or small and poorly developed. A single stout premaxilla is relatively straight and has a low rounded dorsal margin on the posterior end. There are two rows of strong conical teeth and the tooth bases of the lateral row protrude laterally. The Nemegt centra are then used to re-identify a teleost centrum associated with the Asian theropod, Raptorex kreigsteini. Initially the fish centrum found with R. kreigsteini was assigned to Lycoptera. The stratigraphic range of Lycopteridae, ~120-135 Ma, was used to infer an age of deposition for the basal taxon Raptorex. Subsequently this centrum was re-identified as a clupeomorph centrum. However, centra of Lycoptera are mainly comprised of the chordacentrum surrounded by a very thin autocentrum, thus giving the appearance of being tubular with an unconstricted notochordal foramen; they are thin-walled, small (≤ 2 mm diameter), and may have a broad bar (presence depends on the species and ontogenetic development) extending the length of the centrum in lateral view. Parapophyses are not fused with the autocentrum and articulate with the centrum at large facets as in those of lower teleosts. Pleural ribs in Lycoptera articulate with the parapophyses. The fish centrum found with R. kreigsteini is of a higher teleost with a well-developed autocentrum strongly constricting the notochord, thereby giving the centrum an amphicoelous shape. This centrum has several aspects in common with the Nemegt Formation teleost centra: poorly developed mid-dorsal foramen; shape and position of the facets, where the arch articulates, being circular and located near the anterior end of the centrum; presence of short, fused parapophyses at the ventro-lateral corner of the centrum; lateral surface of the centrum bearing a series of foramina of small to moderate size that are generally organized into rows. Thus we reject the hypotheses that the fish centrum found with R. kreigsteini has affinities with the Lycopteridae or the Clupeomorpha and reassign the centrum to the hiodontids. The morphological characteristics of the fish centrum found with R. kreigsteini suggest a Late Cretaceous hiodontid-like taxon and thus its co-occurrence with Raptorex suggests that dinosaur is an Upper Cretaceous theropod.


RAPTOREX REBUTTAL: A new paper by Newbrey et al 2013 adds even stronger evidence that the small tyrannosaurid skeleton named "Raptorex" was illegally removed from the Late Cretaceous Nemegt Formation of Mongolia, and not from the Early Cretaceous of China (as originally claimed). 

The new paper shows that a fossil fish vertebra (backbone) found with the "Raptorex" skeleton does not belong to a "lycopterid" fish, as originally claimed, but instead is indistinguishable from a type of fish only found in the Nemegt Formation of Mongolia. This supports the findings of a previous rebuttal by MOR researchers (Fowler et al., 2011b), which disputed the major claims of the original species description (Sereno et al., 2009).

The findings are important as if "Raptorex" was from the Early Cretaceous (~ 130 million years old, as originally claimed) then it would mean that many of the distinctive features that we associate with tyrannosaurids evolved much earlier in time than previously thought. However, the new paper further supports the view that Raptorex is actually from the late Cretaceous (~ 70 million years ago), and that tyrannosaurs evolved their distinctive features more gradually.

NEWBREY, M.G., BRINKMAN, D.B., WINKLER, D.A., FREEDMAN, E.A., NEUMAN, A.G., FOWLER, D.W., & WOODWARD, H.N. 2013. Teleost centrum and jaw elements from the Upper Cretaceous Nemegt Formation (Campanian – Maastrichtian) of Mongolia and a re-identification of the fish centrum found with the theropod Raptorex kreigsteini. 291-303. in Arratia, Schultze & Wilson (eds), Mesozoic Fishes 5 - Global Diversity and Evolution. Verlag, Munchen, Germany. ISBN 978-3-89937-159-8.

[Herpetology / Evolution • 2009] A Central Role for Venom in Predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the Extinct Giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus

Fig. 2. Anatomical investigation of the Varanus komodoensis venom system. (A) Magnetic resonance imaging of the V. komodoensis head showing the protein-secreting mandibular venom gland, with the 6 compartments colored in alternating red and pink (C1–C6), and the mucus-secreting infralabial gland in yellow (L).
(B) Longitudinal MRI section showing the large duct emerging separately from each compartment of the mandibular venom gland and threading between the mucus lobes of the infralabial gland to terminate between successive teeth (black oval areas).
(C) Transverse MRI section showing the large central lumen of the mandibular venom gland and individual lobes of the labial gland.
(D) Transverse histology of Masson’s Trichromestained section showing the intratubular lumina of the mandibular venom gland that feed into the large central lumen.
(E) Transverse histology of Masson’s Trichrome-stained section of a mucus infralabial gland showing numerous tightly packed internal lobules (note that the 6 large dark folds are histology artifacts).

The predatory ecology of Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) has been a subject of long-standing interest and considerable conjecture. Here, we investigate the roles and potential interplay between cranial mechanics, toxic bacteria, and venom. Our analyses point to the presence of a sophisticated combined-arsenal killing apparatus. We find that the lightweight skull is relatively poorly adapted to generate high bite forces but better adapted to resist high pulling loads. We reject the popular notion regarding toxic bacteria utilization. Instead, we demonstrate that the effects of deep wounds inflicted are potentiated through venom with toxic activities including anticoagulation and shock induction. Anatomical comparisons of V. komodoensis with V. (Megalania) priscus fossils suggest that the closely related extinct giant was the largest venomous animal to have ever lived.

Keywods: evolution, phylogeny, squamate, protein, toxin

Fry, B., Wroe, S., Teeuwisse, W., van Osch, M., Moreno, K., Ingle, J., McHenry, C., Ferrara, T., Clausen, P., Scheib, H., Winter, K., Greisman, L., Roelants, K., van der Weerd, L., Clemente, C., Giannakis, E., Hodgson, W., Luz, S., Martelli, P., Krishnasamy, K., Kochva, E., Kwok, H., Scanlon, D., Karas, J., Citron, D., Goldstein, E., Mcnaughtan, J., & Norman, J. 2009. A Central Role for Venom in Predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the Extinct Giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

[Ornithology • 2013] Orthotomus chaktomuk | Cambodian Tailorbird | นกกระจิบจตุมุข หรือ นกกระจิบคอดำกัมพูชา • A New Species of Lowland Tailorbird (Passeriformes: Cisticolidae: Orthotomus) from the Mekong floodplain of Cambodia

'Cambodian Tailorbird' Orthotomus chaktomuk
Mahood, John, Eames, Oliveros, Moyle, Chamnan, Poole, Nielsen & Sheldon 2013
photo: James Eaton / Birdtour Asia

Based on distinctive morphological and vocal characters we describe a new species of lowland tailorbird Orthotomus from dense humid lowland scrub in the floodplain of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers of Cambodia. Genetic data place it in the O. atrogularis–O. ruficeps–O. sepium clade. All data suggest that the new species is most closely related to O. atrogularis, from which genetic differences are apparently of a level usually associated with subspecies. However the two taxa behave as biological species, existing locally in sympatry and even exceptionally in syntopy, without apparent hybridisation. The species is known so far from a small area within which its habitat is declining in area and quality. However, although birds are found in a number of small habitat fragments (including within the city limits of Phnom Penh), most individuals probably occupy one large contiguous area of habitat in the Tonle Sap floodplain. We therefore recommend it is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. The new species is abundant in suitable habitat within its small range. Further work is required to understand more clearly the distribution and ecology of this species and in particular its evolutionary relationship with O. atrogularis. 

Figure 1. Distribution of records of Orthotomus chaktomuk and O. atrogularis
within and close to the floodplain of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers.

After a hiatus of over half a century owing to the intense human conflicts in the area, the last two decades have witnessed the discovery of a flush of novel bird taxa in Indochina. These recent discoveries have been facilitated by better sampling of remote micro-habitats and to a much lesser degree the greater use of nonmorphological characters in delimiting species. Most of these discoveries concerned babblers (Timaliidae) from isolated montane areas in Vietnam (Eames et al. 1994, Eames et al. 1999a,b, Eames & Eames 2001, Eames 2002). A smaller wave of discoveries involving a diverse range of taxa took place in forested limestone karst in Lao PDR, Vietnam and adjacent areas of China (Zhou Fang & Jiang Aiwu 2008, Woxvold et al. 2009, Alström et al. 2010). Only one new species, Mekong Wagtail Motacilla samveasnae, was named from Cambodian specimens, but it also occurs in Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam in ‘channel mosaic’ habitat on the Mekong and its major tributaries (Duckworth et al. 2001, Le Trong Trai & Craik 2008). Here we describe a new species of lowland tailorbird Orthotomus, confined to low elevation humid evergreen scrub in the floodplain of the Mekong and associated large rivers, in Cambodia


The specific epithet ‘chaktomuk’ is a Khmer word meaning ‘four faces’. It is used in reference to the low-lying area at which the Tonle Sap, Bassac and Mekong rivers come together to form an ‘X’ centred on Phnom Penh, itself historically known as ‘Krong Chaktomuk’ (literally ‘City of Four Faces’). Based on current knowledge, the global distribution of the new species is restricted to scrub within the dynamic floodplain created by the confluence of these waters. We use chaktomuk as a noun in apposition to the genus name, and it is thus invariable.

The distribution of O. chaktomuk is incompletely known. It is apparently constrained by the distribution of seasonally flooded dense scrub within the floodplain of the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac rivers in Cambodia (Figure 1). However, based on current data it is absent from part of this floodplain. Searches at various locations in apparently suitable habitat in the Tonle Sap floodplain have thus far only found the species in the south-east (see Table SOM 1 for a list of all locations in the floodplain of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers where searches for O. chaktomuk have been conducted). In the north of the Tonle Sap floodplain (where we have searched for and not found O. chaktomuk), O. atrogularis is abundant in habitat that is superficially structurally similar to habitat in the south-east, and it is unclear how far north and west along the lakeshore the distribution of O. chaktomuk extends. There is no biogeographic reason why O. chaktomuk should be absent from parts of the Tonle Sap floodplain, and the causes of its absence are unknown; O. atrogularis is scarce or absent at sites where O. chaktomuk was recorded (Table SOM 1). 

Orthotomus chaktomuk was not found in seemingly appropriate small seasonally flooded scrub patches at the northern limit of the Mekong floodplain (12°36’27.52”N 106°01’36.06”E) in Kratie province (Table SOM 1, J. A. Eaton verbally 2012). Satellite data indicate that there is little, if any, suitable habitat for O. chaktomuk in the Mekong floodplain in Vietnam and it is currently unrecorded there (although no specific searches have been conducted). As might be expected, we have located only O. atrogularis in scrub habitats outside of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac floodplain (where these records were within 10 km of superficially suitable habitat for O. chaktomuk they are mapped on Figure 1). Based on current knowledge of its range, the distribution of O. chaktomuk covers less than c.10,000 (Figure 1); it therefore can be considered a restricted-range species (sensu Stattersfield et al. 1998).

Mahood, Simon P., Ashish J. I. John, Jonathan C. Eames, Carl H. Oliveros, Robert G. Moyle, Hong Chamnan, Colin Poole, Howie Nielsen & Frederick H. Sheldon. 2013. A New Species of Lowland Tailorbird (Passeriformes: Cisticolidae: Orthotomus) from the Mekong floodplain of Cambodia. Forktail. The Journal of Asian Ornithology. 29: 1-14.

 นักวิทยาศาสตร์ทึ่ง พบนกกระจิบพันธุ์ใหม่ในกรุงพนมเปญ | นกกระจิบกัมพูชา หรือ Orthotomus chaktomuk via @ASTVManager

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

[Conservation • 2013] Terrestrial Biodiversity and the World Heritage List: Identifying broad gaps and potential candidate sites for inclusion in the natural World Heritage network

Global natural World Heritage coverage 
— the gaps identified

A new IUCN report identifies ‘gaps’ in the World Heritage List. The study also represents the first global effort to identify the most irreplaceable sites of outstanding biodiversity values for species conservation that may merit inscription on the prestigious list.

The World Heritage List includes 156 sites that are explicitly recognized for their outstanding biodiversity values. They span 72 countries across all continents except Antarctica and represent all of the world’s major ecosystems.

‘Biodiversity World Heritage sites’ are generally very large protected areas such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Cape Floral Region of South Africa or India’s Western Ghats. They cover a land area of 1.1 million km2 - nearly 0.8% of the global land surface.

But there are still areas with outstanding biodiversity values that are not yet part of this network and these are outlined in the report Terrestrial Biodiversity and the World Heritage List: Identifying broad gaps and potential candidate sites for inclusion in the natural World Heritage network. The study is released during the annual UNESCO World Heritage meeting taking place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia this week.

It updates the previous study on the biogeographic coverage, and the representation of biodiversity World Heritage sites on the global conservation priorities such as Biodiversity Hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness areas, the Global 200 terrestrial priority ecoregions, Centres of Plant Diversity and Endemic Bird Areas to assess the 156 sites and identify broad gaps. It also identifies the most irreplaceable protected areas that may merit World Heritage listing and evaluates how these can help to fill the broad gaps.

Gaps in the coverage of global biodiversity conservation priorities include areas in the mountains of Central Asia, southwest Arabian Peninsula, and mountain, forest and desert areas in the southwest of North and South America. Broad ‘biogeographic’ gaps include Oceania, temperate grasslands and cold deserts and semi-deserts.

There is potential for new biodiversity World Heritage sites in the four biodiversity hotspots, where currently have no representation on the List: Chilean Winter Rainfall and Valdivian Forests (Argentina and Chile); Irano-Anatolian (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Turkmenistan), the Göreme National Park World Heritage site in Turkey falls into this hotspot but is not listed under biodiversity criteria; Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands (Mexico and United States), the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve World Heritage site in Mexico falls into this hotspot but is not listed under biodiversity criteria; Mountains of Central Asia (Afghanistan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).
“Together with other regional gap studies, this work should go a long way in providing continued guidance for the development of the World Heritage List in coming years, further strengthening its contribution to protecting the world’s most important ecosystems and better safeguarding our planet’s natural heritage for future generations,” says Tim Badman, Director of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme.
Two sites from this hotspot (Xinjiang Tianshan, China and Tajik National Park, Tajikistan) have just been declared World Heritage sites.

Another 19 hotspots and one ‘high-biodiversity wilderness area’ have less than 1% of their area in biodiversity World Heritage sites. Hotspots with less than 0.1% coverage are New Caledonia, Succulent Karoo, Philippines and Mediterranean Basin. A further 46 Global 200 terrestrial priority ecoregions, 159 Centres of Plant Diversity, and 136 Endemic Bird Areas do not have a biodiversity World Heritage site.

IUCN launched a terrestrial biodiversity World Heritage gaps study 
Photo: Juriah Mosin/

Terrestrial Biodiversity and the World Heritage List
: Identifying broad gaps and potential candidate sites for inclusion in the natural World Heritage network

37th session of the World Heritage Committee

Friday, June 21, 2013

[Conservation • 2013] A Mekong Giant - Current Status, Threats And Preliminary Conservation Measures For The Critically Endangered Mekong Giant Catfish Pangasianodon gigas (Chevey 1930)

A Mekong Giant - Current Status, Threats And Preliminary Conservation
Measures For The Critically Endangered Mekong Giant Catfish

Dams could signal death knell for Mekong giant catfish 

– Damming the mainstream of the lower Mekong River would represent a significant new threat to the survival of the Mekong giant catfish, one of the world’s largest and rarest freshwater fish, according to a new study commissioned by WWF. 

The study sheds new light on the status of this elusive species, including data on its numbers, distribution, threats and measures needed to prevent its disappearance. While the exact population size is unknown, there could be as few as a couple of hundred adult Mekong giant catfish fish left.

According to the study, the Xayaburi dam on the Mekong mainstem in northern Laos would prove an impassable barrier for the migratory giant catfish – which are capable of reaching up to three metres in length and weighing as much as 300kg – and risks sending the species to extinction.

“A fish the size of a Mekong giant catfish simply will not be able to swim across a large barrier like a dam to reach its spawning grounds upstream,” said the study’s author and associate research professor at the University of Nevada, Dr. Zeb Hogan. 

“These river titans need large, uninterrupted stretches of water to migrate, and specific water quality and flow conditions to move through their lifecycles of spawning, eating and breeding.” 


photo: Zeb Hogan 

Executive Summary 
Conservation Status: The Mekong giant catfish, Pangasianodon gigas (Chevey 1930), is one of the most endangered fish in Southeast Asia. It is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Critically Endangered A4abcd (IUCN 2011). The Mekong giant catfish is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Distribution: P. gigas is a Mekong endemic. Historically, Mekong giant catfish occurred throughout the large rivers of the Mekong River Basin in Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and possibly Burma and southwestern China (Smith 1945, Lenormand 1996, Roberts and Vidthayanon 1991). There is some evidence that Mekong giant catfish were very widely distributed and relatively abundant in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Mekong giant catfish now appear limited to the Mekong and its tributaries in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Thailand. The species has also been introduced into reservoirs and rivers in Thailand but these introductions have failed to result in self-sustaining populations (Hogan et al. 2001). 

Population size: Evidence suggests that populations of Mekong giant catfish have been declining throughout the basin for the last several decades (Pavie 1904, Giles 1935, Smith 1945, Hogan et al. 2001, Hartmann et al. 2008). P.gigas is now very rare throughout its range and no significant catch has been reported from northeast Thailand, southern Lao PDR, or Vietnam since 1980. In northern Thailand, the catch of Mekong giant catfish has been declining steadily for the past 20 years (Hogan 1998). Basinwide catch numbers are difficult to ascertain but appear to have dropped from thousands of fish in the late 1880’s (Pavie 1904), to hundreds of fish in the 1920’s and 1930’s (Giles 1935), to dozens of fish in the 1990’s (Hogan et al. 2004), to less than 10 fish in recent times (Stone 2007).

Habitat and ecology: The ecology of the Mekong giant catfish is poorly understood. Most available information comes from catch records which indicate that Mekong giant catfish use a broad range of habitats throughout their life cycle. Juvenile fish have been reported from the Mun and Songkhram Rivers in Thailand and the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. Adult fish are believed to inhabit deep water areas of the Mekong River especially during the dry season (Mattson et al. 2002). P. gigas is migratory, but the extent of migrations is unknown. Migrating adults have been recorded moving out of the flooded habitats of Tonle Sap Lake and into the Mekong at the end of the rainy season (October-December), moving over the Khone Falls in July and August (Mollot unpublished data), and making spawning migrations in northern Thailand and Lao PDR in late May and early June (Hogan et al. 2004). Genetic data indicate that all P. gigas in the basin may be part of one, panmictic population (Ngamsiri et al. 2007). 

A Mekong Giant - Current Status, Threats And Preliminary Conservation 
Measures For The Critically Endangered Mekong Giant Catfish

Dams could signal death knell for Mekong giant catfish 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

[Herpetology • 2013] Microhyla orientalis • A New Species of microhylid Frog (Anura: Microhylidae: Microhyla) from Bali, Indonesia

We describe a microhylid frog from Bali, Indonesia as a new species, Microhyla orientalis sp. nov. It belongs to the M. achatina group and is close to M. mantheyi, M. malang, and M. borneensis. It is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following characters: small size (adult males about 16–17 mm in SVL); a faint vertebral stripe present; a black lateral stripe from behind eye to half length of trunk; snout rounded in profile; eyelid without supraciliary spines; first finger less than one-fifth of third; tips of three outer fingers weakly dilated, forming weak disks, dorsally with median longitudinal groove; outer palmar tubercle single; tibiotarsal articulation reaching up to center of eye; tips of toes distinctly dilated into disks, dorsally with median longitudinal groove; inner and outer metatarsal tubercles present; four or more phalanges on inner and outer sides of fourth toe, and three phalanges on inner side of fifth toe free of web; and tail of larva with a black marking at middle. The male advertisement call of the new species consists of a series of notes each lasts for 0.01−0.08 s and composed of 3−5 pulses with a dominant frequency of 3.2–3.6 kHz. Uncorrected sequence divergences between M. orientalis and all homologous 16S rRNA sequences available were >6.6%. At present, the new species is known from rice fields between 435–815 m elevation in Wongaya Gede and Batukaru.

Key words: new species, mtDNA phylogeny, Microhyla orientalis, Java, taxonomy

New species of frog from Bali, Microhyla orientalis, only the size of a human fingernail.
photo: Amir Hamidy

Matsui M, Hamidy A, Eto K 2013 Description of a new species of Microhyla from Bali, Indonesia (Amphibia, Anura). Zootaxa. 2670: 579-590.

Katak Baru Sebesar Kuku Ditemukan di Bali
Peneliti Temukan Spesies Katak Mini Baru di Bali | Republika Online via @republikaonline

Monday, June 17, 2013

[Orchidology • 2013] Nervilia khaoyaica | ว่านแผ่นดินเย็นเขาใหญ่Studies in Asian Nervilia (Orchidaceae) III: N. khaoyaica, a new species (Section Linervia) from Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, eastern Thailand

Nervilia khaoyaica
Suddee,Watthana & S.W. Gale

A new one-flowered species of Nervilia is described and illustrated from plants collected in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, eastern Thailand. The glabrous, angular leaf of Nervilia khaoyaica Suddee, Watthana & S. W. Gale affiliates it to the taxonomically difficult and widespread Nervilia adolphi punctata species alliance of Section Linervia, but it is otherwise readily distinguished by its broad, oblong-obovate lip with a saccate base and obscure, rounded side lobes below the middle, and by the striking colouration of the disk.

 Keywords: Section Linervia, species alliance, taxonomy

มีการสำรวจพบพืชชนิดใหม่ของโลกในประเทศไทย  วงศ์กล้วยไม้ (Orchidaceae)  ให้ชื่อว่า Nervilia khaoyaica Suddee,Watthana & S.W. Gale  หรือ “ว่านแผ่นดินเย็นเขาใหญ่” เนื่องจากพบที่อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาใหญ่ จ.นครราชสีมา โดยขณะนี้ได้รับการยืนยันจากสวนพฤกษศาสตร์หลวงเมืองคิวประเทศอังกฤษ ซึ่งเป็นศูนย์กลางและแหล่งรวบรวมข้อมูลทางด้านวิชาการของพรรณไม้จากทั่วโลก  และได้รับการตีพิมพ์ในวารสารทางพฤษศาสตร์คิว บูลเลติน ( kew Bulletin) ของทางสวนพฤกษศาสตร์หลวงเมืองคิว  ฉบับล่าสุดคือฉบับที่ 68 ของปี 2556 แล้ว

นายสมราน สุดดี  นักวิทยาศาสตร์ชำนาญการพิเศษ สำนักหอพรรณไม้ วิจัยการอนุรักษ์ป่าไม้และพันธุ์พืช กรมอุทยานแห่งชาติสัตว์ป่าและพันธุ์พืช กระทรวงทรัพยากรธรรมชาติและสิ่งแวดล้อม กล่าวว่า สำหรับว่านแผ่นดินเย็นเขาใหญ่ นั้นจัดเป็นกล้วยไม้ดินชนิดหนึ่ง ชอบขึ้นในพื้นที่ที่มีความชุ่มชื้นสูงและเย็น จึงได้ชื่อว่าว่านแผ่นดินเย็น   แต่ชาวบ้านทั่วไปมักเรียกพืชชนิดว่าว่านพระฉิม สำหรับว่านแผ่นดินเย็นเขาใหญ่นั้น ขึ้นอยู่บนเขาที่มีความสูงจากระดับน้ำทะเลประมาณ  733 เมตร ความสูงของต้นตั้งแต่หัวใต้ดินถึงช่อดอกประมาณ 9 ซม.  ดอกมีกลีบเลี้ยงสีน้ำตาลอ่อนแกมเขียว ไปจนถึงน้ำตาลเข้มหรือน้ำตาลแดง 5 กลีบ กลีบปากมีแถบสีเขียวหรือบางดอกมีสีเหลืองตรงกลางกลีบ และมีเส้นและจุดสีม่วงกระจายอยู่รอบๆ กลีบดอก ออกดอกช่วงเดือน มี.ค. ที่สำคัญใบมีลักษณะพิเศษคือเป็นรูปหัวใจ ทรงเหลีี่ยม ยาว 4.8-6.7 ซม. กว้าง 5.5-6.8 ซม.  บางต้นออกใบเป็นสีม่วง บางต้นใบเป็นสีเขียว ซึ่งถือเป็นความผันแปรของพืชชนิดนี้  ใบและดอกออกคนละช่วงเวลาไม่พร้อมกัน

นายสมราน กล่าวอีกว่า ทั้งนี้ว่านแผ่นดินเย็นเขาใหญ่ ผู้พบคนแรกคือ นายณรงค์ จิระวัฒน์กวี นักวิจัยนกเงือกในพื้นที่อุทยานฯ เขาใหญ่ พบบริเวณเส้นทางไปยังน้ำตกผากล้วยไม้ เมื่อปี 2554 และได้นำภาพถ่ายมาสอบถาม จึงได้ลงพื้นที่เก็บตัวอย่างมาศึกษาและตรวจสอบร่วมกับ นายสันติ วัฒฐานะ นักวิชาการองค์การสวนพฤกษศาสตร์  (อสภ.) และ นาย เอส.ดับบลิว.เกล นักพฤกษศาตร์ ชาวฮ่องกง ใช้เวลาตรวจพิสูจน์ 2 ปี จึงได้รับการยืนยันว่าเป็นพืชชนิดใหม่ของโลก  ทั้งนี้สำหรับปริมาณที่พบนั้นไม่มาก พบขึ้นประปรายอยู่จุดเดียวบริเวณเส้นทางระหว่างน้ำตกผากล้วยไม้ไปยังน้ำตกเหวสุวัต อีกทั้งเรายังไม่ได้สำรวจทั่วบริเวณเขาใหญ่ สถานภาพตอนนี้จึงถือว่ามีความอ่อนไหวพอสมควร หากสภาพพื้นที่ป่ามีการเปลี่ยนแปลง ถูกทำลายก็อาจกระทบกับพืชชนิดนี้ได้

นายสมราน กล่าวด้วยว่า นอกจากนั้นยังมีพืชพันธุ์ใหม่ของโลกที่พบในปรเทศไทย และอยู่ระหว่างการยืนยันข้อมูลและตีพิมพ์ในวารสารพฤกษศาตร์ต่างประเทศอีก 4  คือ ว่านแผ่นดินเย็นอุ้มผาง พบที่ดอยหัวหมด อ.อุ้มผาง   จ.ตาก  เอื้องรังนกอุ้มผาง  เสี้ยวศักดิ์สุวรรณ และสาวสนมดงนาทาม  พบที่ดงนาทาม จ.อุบลราชธานี   ซึ่งเป็นสิ่งที่แสดงให้เห็นความหลากหลายทางของชนิดพันธุ์พืชของประเทศไทย

Stephan W. Gale, Somran Suddee, Santi Watthana. 2013. Studies in Asian Nervilia (Orchidaceae) III: N. khaoyaica, a new species from eastern Thailand. Kew Bulletin.

นักพฤษศาสตร์ไทย-ฮ่องกง พบพืชชนิดใหม่กลางเขาใหญ่ ชี้เป็นวงศ์กล้วยไม้ดินให้ชื่อ“ว่านแผ่นดินเย็นเขาใหญ่"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

[Orchidology • 2011] Nervilia gracilis • A New Orchid Species from Northern Vietnam

Nervilia gracilis Aver.

Nervilia gracilis – a new species for science discovered in northern Vietnam was described and illustrated. This species belongs to complex of miniature 1-flowered species and has the closest relation to Laotian N. calcicola, from which it differs in keeled disk of the lip and very small membranaceous leaves. 

Key words: Flora of Vietnam, Nervilia gracilis, new orchid species, taxonomy, plant diversity

Ecology: Primary broad-leaved, mixed and coniferous humid shady evergreen forests on rocky limestone at elev. 900-1400 m a.s.l. Fl. March - April. Fruits May - June. Very rare (EN). 

 Distribution: Vietnam (provinces: Cao Bang, Ha Giang).

Leonid V. Averyanov. 2011. Nervilia gracilis – A New Orchid Species from Northern Vietnam. Taiwania. 56(1): 50-53.

Lin, T.-P. and W.-M. Lin. 2009. Newly Discovered Native Orchids of Taiwan (III). Taiwania 54: 323-333.

Friday, June 14, 2013

[Ichthyology • 2013] Two new species of Snappers (Lutjanidae: Lutjanus) from the Indo-West Pacific ; Lutjanus indicus from Indian Ocean & L. papuensis from western Pacific

Two new species of snappers, genus Lutjanus, are described from Indo-West Pacific seas. Lutjanus indicus is described from 20 specimens, 54.7–226 mm SL, from western Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, and Bahrain. It has also been photographed at Oman and the Andaman Islands (tissue sample also taken). It has invariably been confused with its sibling species, L. russellii, from the western Pacific. Comparison of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO1) genetic marker utilised in DNA barcoding produced a genetic divergence of about 4.1 % between L. indicus and its closest congener, L. russellii. In addition, significant colour differences are useful for separating the two species, specifically a series of seven narrow yellow-to-brown stripes on the side, obliquely rising (except lower two) dorsally and posteriorly, which are present on both juveniles and adults of L. indicus. Lutjanus papuensis is described from four specimens, 173–259 mm SL, collected at Cenderawasih Bay, West Papua and purchased from fish markets at Bali and western Java, Indonesia. It has also been observed at Timor Leste, northern Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. It is most closely related to L. bitaeniatus from eastern Indonesia and north-western Australia, but differs notably by its unique colour pattern (bluish to grey on upper side, yellow-orange below lateral line with bright yellow anal and pelvic fins), wider interorbital, deeper body shape, and flatter snout-forehead profile. Its status was also confirmed by genetic analysis. Comparison of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO1) genetic marker utilised in DNA barcoding produced a genetic divergence of about 2.7 and 3.9 % between L. papuensis and its closest congeners, L. bitaeniatus and L. lemniscatus, respectively.

Key words: snappers, Lutjanus, Lutjanidae, new species, reef fish, taxonomy, DNA barcoding, Indo-Pacific.

Lutjanus indicus, n. sp.

Etymology. The species is named indicus with reference to its Indian Ocean distribution

Distribution and habitat. The new species is known with certainty from the northern continental margin of the Indian Ocean including western Thailand, Myanmar, Andaman Islands, Sri Lanka, India, Gulf of Oman (Randall 1995), and Arabian Gulf. Allen and Talbot (1985) recorded L. russellii from the southern Red Sea, Zanzibar, South Africa, Seychelles, Madagascar, and Mauritius, and we provisionally include these records as L. indicus, but the status of the Red Sea and western Indian Ocean population needs to be reassessed, preferably utilising genetic analysis.
We observed this species in coral-reef habitat at western Thailand, Myanmar, and the Andaman Islands. It was generally encountered solitary or in small groups in about 5–15 m depth. It is also taken by trawlers in deeper water (to at least 50 m) and regularly appears in fish markets. There is scant information on juvenile habitat, but we suspect it is similar to that of L. russellii young, which consists of brackish mangrove estuaries and lower reaches of freshwater streams.

Lutjanus papuensis, n. sp.

Etymology. The species is named papuensis after the West Papuan location where it was first collected. Also, West Papua (particularly Cenderawasih Bay) appears to be the stronghold of the distribution, judging from its abundance compared to other locations within the known range. The species was also referred to as the Papuan Snapper by Allen and Erdmann (2012).

Distribution and habitat. Allen and Erdmann (2012) reported this species from Indonesia (West Papua Province), Papua New Guinea (Manus Island and Milne Bay Province), and the Solomon Islands (Malaita, Santa Ysabel, and New Georgia). In addition, M. Erdmann observed a single individual at Timor Leste during a 2012 survey. Although two of the paratypes were purchased at fish markets in Bali and western Java, their exact origin is uncertain, given that fishes entering these markets can be caught throughout the Indonesian Archipelago. 
The habitat consists of coastal fringing reefs in about 6–15 m depth. It is generally seen solitarily or in small groups. Cenderawasih Bay in West Papua Province, Indonesia is the only location where we have seen it on a regular basis. Otherwise, it is generally rare. Only six individuals were encountered during a month-long survey by G. Allen at the Solomon Islands in 2004. We have not encountered any juvenile fish or subadults under about 150 mm SL despite considerable searching. It appears likely they are confined to a particular habitat not frequented by divers, perhaps either dense mangroves or deeper reefs (i.e. below 70 m).

Allen, G.R., W.T. White & M.V. Erdmann. 2013. Two new species of snappers (Pisces: Lutjanidae: Lutjanus) from the Indo-West Pacific. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation.  6: 33-51.

[Ichthyology • 2012] Paracaesio brevidentata • a new snapper (Lutjanidae: Apsilinae) from southeastern Indonesia

Paracaesio brevidentata

Paracaesio brevidentata, a new species of apsiline lutjanid fish from southeastern Indonesia, is described, bringing the total number of known species in this deepwater snapper genus to nine. The new species is distinguished from its congeners by the following combination of characters: very small teeth in jaws without enlarged canines, tubular lateral-line scales 71–73, pectoral-fin rays 18 or 19, caudal fin deeply forked, penultimate rays of soft dorsal and anal fins not longer than adjacent rays, snout short, maxilla scaly and body purplish brown and caudal fin reddish with upper and lower lobes similar in colour. Members of the genus are distinguished in a key. A specimen of Paracaesio caerulea from southeastern Indonesia represents the first record of this species from Indonesian waters.

Key words: Paracaesio, Lutjanidae, new species, new distribution record, Indonesia, Lombok

White, W.T. and Last, P.R. 2012. Paracaesio brevidentata n. sp., a new snapper (Lutjanidae: Apsilinae) from Indonesia. Zootaxa, 3418: 51-60.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

[Paleontology • 2013] Taxonomic review of the Ornithocheirus complex (Pterosauria) from the Cretaceous Cambridge Greensand of England

The holotypes of the species recognized as valid by the researchers, put to the same scale, illustrate how diverse this pterosaur fauna was.


Over a decade after the last major review of the Cambridge Greensand pterosaurs, their systematics remains one of the most disputed points in pterosaur taxonomy. Ornithocheiridae is still a wastebasket for fragmentary taxa, and some nomenclatural issues are still a problem. Here, the species from the Cretaceous of England that, at some point, were referred in Ornithocheirus, are reviewed. Investigation of the primary literature confirmed that Criorhynchus should be considered an objective junior synonym of Ornithocheirus

Taxonomic review of more than 30 species known from fragmentary remains showed that 16 of them are undiagnosable (nomina dubia): Palaeornis cliftii, Cimoliornis diomedeus, Pterodactylus compressirostris, Pterodactylus fittoni, Pterodactylus woodwardi, Ornithocheirus brachyrhinus, Ornithocheirus carteri, Ornithocheirus crassidens, Ornithocheirus dentatus, Ornithocheirus enchorhynchus, Ornithocheirus eurygnathus, Ornithocheirus oxyrhinus, Ornithocheirus scaphorhynchus, Ornithocheirus tenuirostris, Ornithocheirus xyphorhynchus, and Pterodactylus sagittirostris. Fourteen species are considered valid, and diagnoses are provided to all of them: Ornithocheirus simus, Lonchodraco giganteus comb. n., Lonchodraco machaerorhynchus comb. n., Lonchodraco(?) microdon comb. n., Coloborhynchus clavirostris, ‘Ornithocheiruscapito, Camposipterus nasutus comb. n., Camposipterus(?) sedgwickii comb. n., Camposipterus(?) colorhinus comb.n., Cimoliopterus cuvieri comb. n., ‘Ornithocheiruspolyodon, ‘Ornithocheirusplatystomus, ‘Pterodactylusdaviesii, and ‘Ornithocheirusdenticulatus. These species are referred in the genera Ornithocheirus, Lonchodraco gen. n., Coloborhynchus, Cimoliopterus gen. n., and Camposipterus gen. n., but additional genera are probably present, as indicated by the use of single quotation marks throughout the text. 

A cladistic analysis demonstrates that Anhangueridae lies within a newly recognized clade, here named Anhangueria, which also includes the genera Cearadactylus, Brasileodactylus, Ludodactylus, and Camposipterus. The anhanguerian ‘Cearadactylusligabuei belongs to a different genus than Cearadactylus atrox. Lonchodraconidae fam. n. (more or less equivalent to Lonchodectidae sensu Unwin 2001) is a monophyletic entity, but its exact phylogenetic position remains uncertain, as is the case of Ornithocheirus simus. Therefore, it is proposed that Ornithocheiridae should be constricted to its type species and thus is redundant. Other taxa previously referred as “ornithocheirids” are discussed in light of the revised taxonomy.

Rodrigues T, Kellner AWA 2013. Taxonomic review of the Ornithocheirus complex (Pterosauria) from the Cretaceous of England. ZooKeys .308 (Special issue): 1-112. doi:

High diversity of flying reptiles in England 110 million years ago
Brazilian paleontologists Taissa Rodrigues, of the Federal University of Espirito Santo, and Alexander W. A. Kellner, of the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, have just presented the most extensive review yet available of toothed pterosaurs from the Cretaceous of England. The study features detailed taxonomic information, diagnoses and photographs of 30 species and was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

[Ornithology / Behaviour • 2013] Dance Choreography Is Coordinated with Song Repertoire in a Complex Avian Display | Dancing Superb Lyrebirds Menura novaehollandiae Surprise Ornithologists

Superb Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae
at Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, Australia 
(Melburnian / CC BY-SA 3.0)
• We quantify associations between song and dance within lyrebird sexual displays
• Males accompany each different song type with a particular set of movements
• Dance is a voluntary and independent addition to sound production
• Like humans, lyrebirds coordinate song and dance repertoires in their displays

All human cultures have music and dance, and the two activities are so closely integrated that many languages use just one word to describe both [1 and 3]. Recent research points to a deep cognitive connection between music and dance-like movements in humans, fueling speculation that music and dance have coevolved and prompting the need for studies of audiovisual displays in other animals. However, little is known about how nonhuman animals integrate acoustic and movement display components. One striking property of human displays is that performers coordinate dance with music by matching types of dance movements with types of music, as when dancers waltz to waltz music. Here, we show that a bird also temporally coordinates a repertoire of song types with a repertoire of dance-like movements. During displays, male superb lyrebirds (Menura novaehollandiae) sing four different song types, matching each with a unique set of movements and delivering song and dance types in a predictable sequence. Crucially, display movements are both unnecessary for the production of sound and voluntary, because males sometimes sing without dancing. Thus, the coordination of independently produced repertoires of acoustic and movement signals is not a uniquely human trait.


Dancing Superb Lyrebirds Surprise Ornithologists
Australian biologists have found that male superb lyrebirds (Menura novaehollandiae) coordinate song with dance as part of an elaborate mating ritual.

Anastasia H. Dalziell et al. Dance Choreography Is Coordinated with Song Repertoire in a Complex Avian Display. Current Biology, published online June 06, 2013; doi:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

[Herpetology • 2013] A Long-lost relic from the Eastern Ghats: Morphology, Distribution and Habitat of Sepsophis punctatus Beddome, 1870 (Squamata: Scincidae)

Sepsophis punctatus Beddome 1870, the only species of a monotypic genus, was described based on a single specimen from the Eastern Ghats of India. We rediscovered the species based on specimens from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh state, India, after a gap of 137 years, including four specimens from close to the type locality. The holotype was studied in detail, and we present additional morphological characters of the species with details on natural history, habitat and diet. The morphological characters of the holotype along with two additional specimens collected by Beddome are compared with the specimens collected by us. We also briefly discuss the distribution of other members of the subfamily Scincinae and their evolutionary affinities.

Key words: Sepsophis, rediscovery, Peninsular India, Eastern Ghats, Scincidae

DATTA-ROY, A., MOHAPATRA, P.P., DUTTA, S. K., GIRI, V.B., VEERAPPAN, D., MADDOCK, S.T., RAJ, P., AGARWAL, I. & KARANTH, P. 2013. A long-lost relic from the Eastern Ghats: Morphology, distribution and habitat of Sepsophis punctatus Beddome, 1870 (Squamata: Scincidae). Zootaxa. 3670 (1): 055–062.


Limbless lizard belonging to the genus Sepsophis, in the forested region of Khandadhar near Raurkela in Orissa state, about 625 miles southeast of New Delhi, India.
photo: Pratyush P Mohapatra 

[Ornithology • 2013] Ptilopachinae: a new subfamily of the Odontophoridae (Aves: Galliformes); Stone Partridge Ptilopachus petrosus & Nahan’s Partridge P. nahani

Stone Partridge (Ptilopachus petrosus)
Location: Tambacounda, eastern Senegal 

Taken on January 2006 by Liki Fumei

The use of DNA sequences of diverse genetic loci has revolutionized our understanding of the systematic relationships among many different organisms. One such unexpected discovery was that two African galliform species, the Stone Partridge Ptilopachus petrosus Gmelin, 1789, and Nahan’s Francolin Francolinus nahani Dubois, 1905, represent a relictual clade sister to the New World Quail (Odontophoridae) and hence are only distantly related to other Old World Galliformes (Crowe et al. 2006, Cohen et al. 2012). Almost as unexpected was the recovery of the sister relationship between P. petrosus and F. nahani, which had never been considered close relatives, much less placed in the same genus (Crowe et al. 2006, Cohen et al. 2012). Previously unrecognized vocal and behavioral similarities between P. petrosus and P. nahani supported the genetic data and the transfer of nahani to Ptilopachus (Crowe et al. 2006, Cohen et al. 2012). Intriguingly, both species occupy areas suggested to serve both as centres of species diversification and places where relictual taxa persist (Kingdon 1989, Fjeldså & Bowie 2008, Fjeldså et al. 2012): P. nahani in dense primary forest in the vicinity of the Albertine Rift and P. petrosus in rocky outcrops of the Sahel. 

Cohen et al. (2012) suggested that the African Ptilopachus diverged from the New World quail some 37.4 Ma (95% HPD 31.7-43.0) in the Oligocene, and from each other some 9.6 Ma (95% HPD 5.8-14.0). Given the considerable time since Ptilopachus diverged from the remaining members of the Odontophoridae (genera Dendrortyx, Oreortyx, Callipepla, Philortyx, Colinus, Odontophorus, Dactylortyx, Cyrtonyx, and Rhynchortyx), as well as the clear disjunction of Old World taxa from New World taxa, we recommend that all New World species of Odontophoridae be placed in the subfamily Odontophorinae Gould, 1844, and in accordance with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (1999; Art. 13.1.1), erect and provide a formal definition below of a new subfamily to encompass the two African species of the genus Ptilopachus.

Family: Odontophoridae Gould, 1844

Subfamily: Ptilopachinae Bowie, Cohen and Crowe, subfam. nov.

Type genus: Ptilopachus Swainson, 1837

Description: Small African-endemic galliform birds (Aves: Galliformes) that have bare red skin around the eye, lack tarsal spurs, and are not sexually dimorphic. Both taxa regularly cock their tails, a character shared by only one other African galliform, Dendroperdix sephaena Smith. The calls of both taxa consist of a series of whistles increasing in volume and likely comprise duets. Field observations suggest that both taxa live in small family groups.


RAURI C.K. BOWIE, CALLAN COHEN & TIMOTHY M. CROWE. 2013. Ptilopachinae: a new subfamily of the Odontophoridae (Aves: Galliformes). Zootaxa. 3670 (1): 097–098.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

[Ornithology / Behaviour • 2013] Fight Club: a Unique Weapon in the Wing of the Solitaire, Pezophaps solitaria (Aves: Columbidae), an extinct flightless bird from Rodrigues, Mascarene Islands

A pair of male solitaires Pezophaps solitaria fight over territory
in the valley of Saint François, Rodrigues.

An artistic reconstruction by Julian P. Hume. |

The solitaire (Columbidae; Pezophaps solitaria) of Rodrigues was an extinct giant flightless pigeon and the sister taxon to the dodo (Columbidae; Raphus cucullatus) from neighbouring Mauritius. The appearance and behaviour of the solitaire was recorded in detail by two observers before it became extinct in the mid 1700s. They described a prominent wing structure termed the ‘musket ball’ (carpal knob), which was used as a weapon and to produce an audible signal by either sex in territorial combat. Our study of subfossil solitaire bones from cave localities shows that the carpal knob formed after skeletal maturity, and reached its greatest size in adult males. We describe the morphology of the carpal knob, including its histology in thin section. It is an outgrowth of the processus extensorius of the carpometacarpus, but differs morphologically from homologous structures in other bird taxa, and thus is unique in Aves. We also compare the pectoral and wing osteology of the solitaire with that of the dodo, which had a similar morphology, but lacked any bony outgrowths on the wing. Furthermore, we suggest some biological and environmental factors leading to the evolution of this remarkable and unique carpal weapon.

Keywords: bird behaviour; intraspecific combat; Pezophaps solitariaRaphus cucullatus; sexual dimorphism; territory


Carpometacarpus of male Pezophaps solitaria with carpal knob

Figure 4. Comparison of adult male and female carpometacarpi of P. solitaria, showing specimens with and without carpal knob. Left side, ventral aspect:
A, male without carpal knob (NHMUK PVA9044); B, male with carpal knob (NHMUK PVA3505);
C, female without carpal knob (NHMUK PVA9046); D, female with carpal knob (NHMUK PVA9045).

Julian P. Hume & Lorna Steel. 2013. Fight Club: a unique weapon in the wing of the solitaire, Pezophaps solitaria (Aves: Columbidae), an extinct flightless bird from Rodrigues, Mascarene Islands. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.