Thursday, October 31, 2013

[Pollination / Plant-Insect Interactions • 2013] Carpenter Bees and the Orchid of a Princess: Natural Pollination of Sirindhornia monophylla in Thailand

Research on the pollination of Sirindhornia monophylla (Collett & Hemsl.) H. A. Pedersen & Suksathan was carried out in W Thailand, 2010‒2012. The orchid is a nectariferous, non-autogamous and self-compatible terrestrial. During 120 man-hours of flower watching, three species of Ceratina were found to be the main pollinators, viz. C. (Ceratinidialieftincki van der Vecht, C. (C.) collusor Cockerell, C. (Pithitissmaragdula (Fabricius), males and/or females. Braunsapis hewitti (Cameron) was a minor pollinator. Ceratina acquired pollinia on their forehead and in some cases they subsequently deposited massulae on the stigma of other S. monophylla flowers. Three further species, viz. Ceratina (Ceratinidiaaccusator Cockerell, C. (C.) chiangmaiensis W., M. & L. and C. (C.) bryanti Cockerell, did not acquire pollinia; but in these cases all pollen in the visited flowers had already been removed by previous pollinators. Ceratina belongs to family Apidae, subfamily Xylocopinae, tribe Ceratinini, whereas Braunsapis belongs to tribe Allodapini. Fruit set was nearly 50%. This is the first detailed account on the pollination of a Sirindhornia species, a recently described genus with three species, all included in the Thai redlist. 

Key words: Apidae, BraunsapisCeratina, Orchidaceae pollination, Sirindhornia, Xylocopinae

Kanok-orn Srimuang, Hans Bänziger, Henrik Æ. Pedersen and Santi Watthana. 2013. Carpenter Bees and the Orchid of a Princess: Natural Pollination of Sirindhornia monophylla in Thailand. Taiwania. 58(3): 163‒170. DOI:  

[Mammalogy / Genetic • 2012] Specifying and Sustaining Pigmentation Patterns in Domestic and Wild Cats | Genetic Study reveals How the Cheetah got its Stripes

The spots displayed by a typical cheetah (standing), compared with the blotched pattern of king cheetahs
[photo: The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Preserve]

Color markings among felid species display both a remarkable diversity and a common underlying periodicity. A similar range of patterns in domestic cats suggests a conserved mechanism whose appearance can be altered by selection. We identified the gene responsible for tabby pattern variation in domestic cats as Transmembrane aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep), which encodes a membrane-bound metalloprotease. Analyzing 31 other felid species, we identified Taqpep as the cause of the rare king cheetah phenotype, in which spots coalesce into blotches and stripes. Histologic, genomic expression, and transgenic mouse studies indicate that paracrine expression of Endothelin3 (Edn3) coordinates localized color differences. We propose a two-stage model in which Taqpep helps to establish a periodic pre-pattern during skin development that is later implemented by differential expression of Edn3.

A leopard with distinctive stripes that was photographed from Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in Palakkad district of Kerala, India

Kaelin CB, Xu X, Hong LZ, David VA, McGowan KA, Schmidt-Küntzel A, Roelke ME, Pino J, Pontius J, Cooper GM, Manuel H, Swanson WF, Marker L, Harper CK, van Dyk A, Yue B, Mullikin JC, Warren WC, Eizirik E, Kos L, O'Brien SJ, Barsh GS, Menotti-Raymond M. 2012. Specifying and Sustaining Pigmentation Patterns in Domestic and Wild Cats. Science. (6101): 1536-41.

Genetic Study reveals How the Cheetah got its Stripes

Feral cats in Northern California have enabled researchers to unlock the biological secret behind a rare, striped cheetah found only in sub-Saharan Africa, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the National Cancer Institute and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama. The study is the first to identify a molecular basis of coat patterning in mammals.

The scientists found that the two felines share a biological mechanism responsible for both the elegant stripes on the tabby cat and the cheetah's normally dappled coat. Dramatic changes to the normal patterns occur when this pathway is disrupted: The resulting house cat has swirled patches of color rather than orderly stripes, and the normally spotted cheetah sports thick, dark lines down its back.


[Mammalogy • 2013] Pteropus pelagicus | Mortlock Flying Fox • Taxonomy, Distribution, and Natural History of Flying Foxes (Chiroptera, Pteropodidae) in the Mortlock Islands and Chuuk State, Caroline Islands, Micronesia

Mortlock Flying Fox Pteropus pelagicus Kittlitz, 1836
[Scanned image of Plate LIV from original description of Pteropus phaeocephalus Thomas 1882, which is presumably based on the holotype

The taxonomy, biology, and population status of flying foxes (Pteropus spp.) remain little investigated in the Caroline Islands, Micronesia, where multiple endemic taxa occur. Our study evaluated the taxonomic relationships between the flying foxes of the Mortlock Islands (a subgroup of the Carolines) and two closely related taxa from elsewhere in the region, and involved the first ever field study of the Mortlock population. Through a review of historical literature, the name Pteropus pelagicus Kittlitz, 1836 is resurrected to replace the prevailing but younger name Pteropus phaeocephalus Thomas, 1882 for the flying fox of the Mortlocks. On the basis of cranial and external morphological comparisons, Pteropus pelagicus is united taxonomically with Pteropus insularis “Hombron and Jacquinot, 1842” (with authority herein emended to Jacquinot and Pucheran 1853), and the two formerly monotypic species are now treated as subspecies — Pteropus pelagicus pelagicus in the Mortlocks, and Pteropus phaeocephalus insularis on the islands of Chuuk Lagoon and Namonuito Atoll. The closest relative of Pteropus pelagicus is Pteropus tokudae Tate, 1934, of Guam, which is best regarded as a distinct species. Pteropus pelagicus pelagicus is the only known resident bat in the Mortlock Islands, a chain of more than 100 atoll islands with a total land area of <12 km2. Based on field observations in 2004, we estimated a population size of 925–1, 200 bats, most of which occurred on Satawan and Lukunor Atolls, the two largest and southernmost atolls in the chain. Bats were absent on Nama Island and possibly extirpated from Losap Atoll in the northern Mortlocks. Resident Mortlockese indicated bats were more common in the past, but that the population generally has remained stable in recent years. Most Pteropus phaeocephalus pelagicus roosted alone or in groups of 5–10 bats; a roost of 27 was the largest noted. Diet is comprised of at least eight plant species, with breadfruit (Artocarpus spp.) being a preferred food. Records of females with young (April, July) and pregnant females (July) suggest an extended breeding season. Pteropus pelagicus pelagicus appears most threatened by the prospect of sea level rise associated with global climate change, which has the potential to submerge or reduce the size of atolls in the Mortlocks. Occasional severe typhoons probably temporarily reduce populations on heavily damaged atolls, but hunting and ongoing habitat loss are not current problems for the subspecies.

Keywords: Pteropus phaeocephalus, P. pelagicus, P. insularis, P. tokudae, Mortlock Islands, Chuuk, Micronesia, atoll, taxonomy, distribution, status, natural history, climate change, sea level rise

Buden, D.W., Helgen, K.M. and Wiles, G.J. 2013. Taxonomy, Distribution, and Natural History of Flying Foxes (Chiroptera, Pteropodidae) in the Mortlock Islands and Chuuk State, Caroline Islands. ZooKeys. 345: 97–135. doi:

Mortlock Flying Fox: Study Reveals New Info on World’s Least-Studied Bat

[Herpetology • 2013] Pristimantis jamescameroni & P. imthurni | Two new charismatic Pristimantis species (Anura: Craugastoridae) from the tepuis of “The Lost World” (Pantepui region, South America)

Pristimantis jamescameroni, in honour of film maker and explorer James Cameron for “his efforts to alert the general public to environmental problems through pioneering high quality blockbuster movies and adventurous documentaries”.

Two new colourful species of direct-developing frogs of the genus Pristimantis are described from the summit of two isolated tepuis (sandstone table mountains) in the Eastern Pantepui District of the Guiana Shield highlands. Pristimantis jamescameroni sp. nov. is described from the summit of Aprada-tepui from 2557-2571 m elevation, and P. imthurni sp. nov. is described from the summit of Ptari-tepui at 2471 m elevation. Both species share the absence of a differentiated tympanic membrane and external tympanic annulus (but presence of tiny pharyngeal ostia), the presence of nuptial pads in males, and the presence of lateral fringes on fingers and toes, a combination of characters that immediately distinguishes them from all other known Pantepui congeners. The two new species are morphologically similar to each other and are phylogenetically closely related, but they can be distinguished based on colour pattern and morphological characters such as head proportions, dorsal skin texture, and condition of the supratympanic fold. The IUCN conservation status of the new species is considered as Endangered (EN) owing to their apparent very restricted ranges. The number of described Pristimantis species occurring exclusively on tepui (and faunistically related granitic mountains) summits and upper slopes now reaches eleven.
Keywords. Anura, Guiana Shield, Systematics, Taxonomy, Terrarana.

Pristimantis jamescameroni, in honour of film maker and explorer James Cameron

Pristimantis imthurni in honour of Sir Evrard im Thurn, a British colonial official who was the first to climb a major tepui (Mount Roraima in 1884)

Etymology: The specific epithet is a noun in the genitive case, honouring Sir Everard F. im Thurn (1852-1932), British colonial official, author, explorer, botanist, and photographer. Everard im Thurn was the first to climb a major tepui (Mount Roraima in December 1884), along with British surveyor Harry Perkins, a Pomeroon Amerindian named Gabriel, and five other unnamed Amerindians (Dalziell 2007). Im Thurn’s expedition on Roraima and his numerous discoveries were partly eclipsed by the popular novel that they inspired: “The Lost World” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (see Introduction; Dalziell 2007).

Philippe J. R. Kok. 2013. Two new charismatic Pristimantis species (Anura: Craugastoridae) from the tepuis of “The Lost World” (Pantepui region, South America). European Journal of Taxonomy. 60: 1-24.

New frog species named after James Cameron
Belgian researcher Philippe Kok (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) describes two new endangered frog species from northern South America in the European Journal of Taxonomy. The IUCN conservation status of the newly discovered frogs is considered as Endangered (EN).

Une espèce de grenouille récemment découverte, baptisée par un Belge d'après James Cameron
[A recently discovered species of frog named after Avatar's Director, James Cameron] 

2008. New World direct-developing frogs (Anura: Terrarana): Molecular phylogeny, classification, biogeography, and conservation

[Ichthyology • 2013] Channa andrao • A New Species of Dwarf Snakehead (Teleostei: Channidae) from West Bengal, India

Channa andrao Britz 2013

photos: Paul Jones (upper) & Nilanjan Mukherjee (lower)

Channa andrao, new species, from Lefraguri swamp, West Bengal, India, differs from all its congeners except, C. asiatica, C. bleheri and C. burmanica and the recently described C. hoaluensis and C. ninhbinhensis by the absence of pelvic fins. It can be distinguished from all other pelvic fin-less species of snakeheads by its colour pattern, and differs further in its number of vertebrae, dorsal- and anal-fin rays, and lateral-line scales from individual snakehead species in this complex Channa andrao raises the number of snakehead species endemic to the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot to ten, representing almost one third of the known species in the genus. 

Key words: taxonomy, endemism, Himalayan mountain range, Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot

 Channa andrao, Holotype & Paratype
RALF BRITZ. 2013. Channa andrao, A New Species of Dwarf Snakehead from West Bengal, India (Teleostei: Channidae). Zootaxa. 3731(2): 287–294. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3731.2.9

[News • 2013] New Checklist of CITES species now available online |

New Checklist of CITES species now available online
Keeping track of the 35,000+ species listed under CITES has now been made easier through the development of an online database-driven Checklist of CITES species.

This state-of-the-art electronic resource provides users with an intuitive interface where queries can be made using not just scientific or common species names but also CITES Appendices, countries or regions, and any combinations thereof. The display of results can be further refined by selecting criteria such as synonyms or authors' names. Users can thus produce a tailored Index of CITES species listing, for instance, all CITES species occurring in a specific country. The history of listing is displayed on screen for each taxon and can be printed off in a single document covering all taxa.

[Paleontology • 2013] Sauropod Gigantism: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach

Image: Kent A. Stevens, University of Oregon

Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest terrestrial animals to roam the Earth, exceeding all other land-dwelling vertebrates in both mean and maximal body size. While convergently evolving many features seen in large terrestrial mammals, such as upright, columnar limbs and barrel-shaped trunks, sauropods evolved some unique features, such as the extremely long neck and diminutive head they are famous for.

The unique gigantism of sauropod dinosaurs has long been recognized as an important problem in the evolution of vertebrates, raising questions as to why no other land-based lineage has ever reached this size, how these dinosaurs functioned as living animals and how they were able to maintain stable populations over distinct geological time periods.

This new PLOS Collection discusses major efforts by evolutionary biologists and paleontologists to understand sauropods as living animals and to explain their evolutionary success and uniquely gigantic body size. The articles address these questions from the widest selection of disciplinary viewpoints, including those of ecology, engineering, functional morphology, animal nutrition and palaeontology.

[Ornithology • 2013] Arremon kuehnerii | Guerrero Brush Finch • A New Species of Brush-Finch (Arremon; Emberizidae) from western Mexico

Arremon kuehnerii Guerrero Brush Finch and sister taxon, central-Mexican-endemic, A. virenticeps Green-striped Brush Finch 

A new highland species of chestnut-capped Arremon brush-finch is described from the Sierra Madre del Sur of central Guerrero. This form, although indistinguishable in external phenotype from adjacent populations to the east in Oaxaca, is dramatically differentiated in mitochondrial DNA sequence characters, and quite unexpectedly is the sister lineage to the very distinct (phenotype and genotype), central-Mexican-endemic A. virenticeps. Nuclear sequence differentiation in the new lineage is more subtle than in mitochondrial DNA, but is on par with that in the well-marked A. virenticeps. The new species is thus distinct from its sister lineage in genotype and phenotype, and clearly distinct from all other forms in genotype; however, it has retained an ancestral external phenotype similar to other members of the broader A. brunneinucha complex.

Keywords: cloud forest, cryptic species, Mesoamerica, new species, species complex, species limits

This painting shows three Arremon brush-finches: top – Arremon brunneinucha brunneinucha,
middle – the newly discovered Arremon kuehnerii; bottom – Arremon virenticeps.

Navarro-Sigüenza AG et al. 2013. A New Species of Brush-Finch (Arremon; Emberizidae) from western Mexico. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 125 (3): 443-453; doi:

Guerrero Brush Finch: New Bird Species Found in Mexico
An international team of ornithologists led by Dr Townsend Peterson from the University of Kansas’ Biodiversity Institute has discovered a new species of brush-finch that lives in the cloud forests of the mountain range Sierra Madre del Sur in central Guerrero, Mexico.

[Cetology • 2013] A New Humpback Dolphin Species (Sousa sp. nov.) in Australian Waters?: Integrating Multiple Lines of Evidence to Better Understand the Evolutionary Divergence of Humpback Dolphins along their Entire Distribution Range

A newly identified species of Humpback dolphin, Sousa sp. nov.,
strongly resembles Sousa chinensis (Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphin), shown here
photo: Susan Crocetti |

The conservation of humpback dolphins, distributed in coastal waters of the Indo-West Pacific and eastern Atlantic Oceans, has been hindered by a lack of understanding about the number of species in the genus (Sousa) and their population structure. To address this issue, we present a combined analysis of genetic and morphologic data collected from beach-cast, remote-biopsied and museum specimens from throughout the known Sousa range. We extracted genetic sequence data from 235 samples from extant populations and explored the mitochondrial control region and four nuclear introns through phylogenetic, population-level and population aggregation frameworks. In addition, 180 cranial specimens from the same geographical regions allowed comparisons of 24 morphological characters through multivariate analyses. The genetic and morphological data showed significant and concordant patterns of geographical segregation, which are typical for the kind of demographic isolation displayed by species units, across the Sousa genus distribution range. Based on our combined genetic and morphological analyses, there is convincing evidence for at least four species within the genus (S. teuszii in the Atlantic off West Africa, S. plumbea in the central and western Indian Ocean, S. chinensis in the eastern Indian and West Pacific Oceans, and a new as-yet-unnamed species off northern Australia).

Keywords: conservation genetics, mammals, molecular evolution, speciation, humpback dolphins, cetaceans

Sousa chinensis (Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphin)
photo: Susan Crocetti |

Martin Mendez, Thomas J. Jefferson, Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis, Michael Krützen, Guido J. Parra, Tim Collins, Giana Minton, Robert Baldwin, Per Berggren, Anna Särnblad, Omar A. Amir, Vic M. Peddemors, Leszek Karczmarski, Almeida Guissamulo, Brian Smith, Dipani Sutaria, George Amato and Howard C. Rosenbaum. 2013. Integrating Multiple Lines of Evidence to Better Understand the Evolutionary Divergence of Humpback Dolphins along their Entire Distribution Range: A New Dolphin Species in Australian Waters? Molecular Ecology, published online October 29, 2013; doi:

New Dolphin Species Found in Australian Waters 
An international team of researchers has announced the discovery of a new species of humpback dolphin in the waters off northern Australia.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

[Herpetology • 2013] Saproscincus saltus • A New Skink (Scincidae: Saproscincus) from Rocky Rainforest Habitat on Cape Melville, north-east Australia

Cape Melville Shade Skink Saproscincus saltus
Photo: Conrad Hoskin |

Saproscincus skinks are restricted to wet forest habitats of eastern Australia. Eleven species have previously been described, with most having small distributions in disjunct areas of subtropical and tropical rainforest. The localized distributions and specific habitat requirements of Saproscincus have made them a key group for understanding the biogeographic history of Australia’s rainforests. Here I describe a new species of Saproscincus from the Melville Range on Cape Melville, north-east Australia. The Melville Range is composed of boulder-fields and areas of rainforest in the uplands, and is highly isolated from other areas of elevated rainforest. All individuals of the new species were found on a moist ridgeline, active on boulders under a rainforest canopy or on boulder-field immediately adjacent to rainforest. Saproscincus saltus sp. nov. is highly distinct in morphology and colour pattern. Of particular interest are its long limbs and digits compared to congeners, which in conjunction with the observed ecology, suggest a long history of association with rock. The discovery of S. saltus sp. nov. extends the distribution of the genus over 100 km north from the nearest congeners in the Wet Tropics region. This species brings the number of vertebrates known to be endemic to the Melville Range to six, which is remarkable for such a small area.

Keywords: Saproscincus basiliscus, Saproscincus lewisi, Cape York, boulder-field, rainforest, lithorefugia, Queensland

CONRAD J. HOSKIN. 2013. A New Skink (Scincidae: Saproscincus) from Rocky Rainforest Habitat on Cape Melville, north-east Australia. Zootaxa. 3722 (3)

"Lost World" Pictures: New Leaf-Tailed Gecko, More 
Tropical biologist Conrad Hoskin scrambles over massive boulders looking for reptiles and amphibians on the Melville Range, a small mountain range on Cape Melville, part of northeastern Australia's Cape York Peninsula.

Gecko that looks like a leaf among new species found in Australia's 'lost world'

Monday, October 28, 2013

[Herpetology • 2013] Cophixalus petrophilus • A New Frog Species (Microhylidae: Cophixalus) from Boulder-pile Habitat of Cape Melville, Cape York Peninsula, north-east Australia

Blotched Boulder Frog | Cophixalus petrophilus
Photo: Tim Laman

In Australia, microhylid frogs are found almost exclusively in the tropical north-east, but in this region diversity is high. Sixteen species occur in the Wet Tropics region and a further six species are found further north on Cape York Peninsula. Most Australian microhylid species belong to the genus Cophixalus (18 species). The majority of these have highly localized distributions, with two-thirds being found on single mountain ranges. While most Cophixalus are small (10–29 mm snout to vent length) rainforest species, four differ dramatically in morphology and ecology, being large (30–53 mm) species that inhabit isolated areas of jumbled boulder-pile habitat. Here I describe a new species of Cophixalus from boulder-pile habitat in the Melville Range on Cape Melville, north-east Cape York Peninsula. Cophixalus petrophilus sp. nov. is highly distinct from all congeners in morphology, colour pattern and mating call. This species is restricted to deeply piled granite boulder habitat that is largely devoid of vegetation. As for the other four boulder-pile Cophixalus, C. petrophilus sp. nov. is large and shows other similar morphological adaptations to this unique habitat (e.g., long limbs, large finger discs). However, it is notable in that it is the smallest of the boulder-pile species (26–32 mm) and it has particularly large eyes. I speculate that the latter trait is an adaptation to dimly lit conditions deep within the boulder-field. Cophixalus petrophilus sp. nov. was only found in exposed boulder habitat, whereas the co-occurring boulder species, C. zweifeli, was found using forested areas on and adjacent to the boulder-fields at night. Cape Melville is the only boulder-field with two co-occurring boulder Cophixalus and it appears that there is habitat partitioning between them. Cophixalus petrophilus sp. nov. has a highly localised distribution but appears common within this and is probably secure.

Keywords: Cophixalus zweifeliCophixalus saxatilis, boulder, granite, Cape York

Etymology. From the Latin, petrophilus refers to ‘rock-loving’, in recognition of the restriction of this species to boulder-field habitat. The species epithet is treated as a noun in apposition.

CONRAD J. HOSKIN. 2013. A New Frog Species (Microhylidae: Cophixalus) from Boulder-pile Habitat of Cape Melville, north-east Australia. Zootaxa. 3722(1). DOI:

"Lost World" Pictures: New Leaf-Tailed Gecko, More 
Tropical biologist Conrad Hoskin scrambles over massive boulders looking for reptiles and amphibians on the Melville Range, a small mountain range on Cape Melville, part of northeastern Australia's Cape York Peninsula.

Gecko that looks like a leaf among new species found in Australia's 'lost world'

Friday, October 25, 2013

[Botany • 2013] Goniothalamus keralensis • A New Species of Goniothalamus (Blume) Hook. f. & Thomson (Annonaceae) from Kerala, India

Goniothalamus keralensis E.S.S.Kumar, Shaju, Roy et Raj Kumar, a new species of Goniothalamus (Blume) Hook.f. & Thomson (Annonaceae) is described and illustrated. This species located in the forests of Idukki district in Kerala, India is similar to G. wightii Hook.f. & Thomson, but differs in having the longer leaves with acuminate or acuminate-caudate apex, the shorter pedicels of flowers, smaller sepals which are deciduous in fruits, stamens with glabrous and convex connective, fewer carpels with very short or indistinct style and funnel shaped stigma, and seeds are consistently two in each carpels. 

Key words: Annonaceae, Goniothalamus keralensis, India, new species, Western Ghats. 

 E. S. Santhosh Kumar, T. Shaju, P. E. Roy and G. Raj Kumar. 2013. A New Species of Goniothalamus (Blume) Hook. f. & Thomson (Annonaceae) from Kerala, India. Taiwania. 58(3)171‒175  DOI: 

[Botany • 2012] Characterization of Huberantha (Annonaceae: Malmeoideae: Miliuseae), A New Genus segregated from Polyalthia and allied to Miliusa

On the basis of molecular phylogenetics, pollen morphology and macromorphology, a new genus of the tribe Miliuseae, Hubera, segregrated from Polyalthia and allied to Miliusa, is established and described. It is characterized by the combination of reticulate tertiary venation of the leaves, axillary inflorescences, a single ovule per ovary and therefore single-seeded monocarps, seeds with a flat to slightly raised raphe, spiniform(-flattened peg) ruminations of the endosperm, and pollen with a finely and densely granular infratectum. Twenty-seven species are accordingly transferred to this new genus.

Key words: Malmeoideae, molecular systematics, Old World floristics, Paleotropics, palynology

Hubera Chaowasku, gen. nov. 
Type: Hubera cerasoides (Roxburgh 1795: 30) Chaowasku.

Etymology: Named in honour of Prof. Herbert Huber (1931-2005), who was the first to distinguish the three clades discussed in the present paper: Hubera (clade A), Monoon, and Polyalthia s.s. as informal groups of Polyalthia sensu lato based solely on morphology (Huber 1985).

Distribution: Twenty-seven species are formally transferred here (; they are distributed from East Africa and Madagascar through southern and southeastern Asia to Malesia and the southwestern Pacific. It is anticipated that when the species of Hubera are thoroughly revised, an additional 10–20 species will be added.

FIGURE 2. Flowers/fruits of representative species of clade A, Monoon, and Polyalthia sensu stricto. A–C, G. Clade A. A. Polyalthia cerasoides. B, G. Polyalthia jenkinsii. C. Hubera sp. 4. D, H. Monoon. Monoon sp. E, F, I. Polyalthia sensu stricto. E, I. Polyalthia parviflora. F. Polyalthia submontana.
Photographs: A, Mr. Outlander from; B, G, K. Aongyong;
C, U. Treesucon; D, E, H, I, S. Gardner; F, L. Jessup.

Chaowasku T., Johnson D.M., Van der Ham R.W.J.M. & Chatrou L.W. 2012. Characterization of Hubera (Annonaceae), a new genus segregated from Polyalthia and allied to Miliusa. Phytotaxa. 69: 33–56.

A replacement generic name, Huberantha Chaowasku, is proposed for the recently described genus Hubera Chaowasku segregated from Polyalthia Blume because the name Hubera has been recommended to be treated as a later homonym of Huberia DC. (Melastomataceae) by the nomenclature committee for vascular plants. Consequently, new combinations of twenty-seven species presently recognised are made under Huberantha.

Key Words: New combination, nomenclature, Polyalthia

Huberantha Chaowasku, nom. nov.
Type: Huberantha cerasoides (Roxb.) Chaowasku.

Replacement name for Hubera Chaowasku, in Chaowasku et al., Phytotaxa 69: 46 (2012), nom. illegit., non Huberia DC.

Etymology. The replacement name Huberantha means “Huber’s flowers”. Similar to Hubera (see Chaowasku et al. 2012: 47), it is also named in honour of Prof. Herbert Huber (1931 – 2005), but Huberantha highlights the importance of flowers (and structures associated with flowers [pollen] or derived from flowers [seeds]) as features to distinguish this genus from several morphologically similar genera in tribe Miliuseae, i.e. Marsypopetalum Scheff., Monoon Miq., Polyalthia s.s., and Trivalvaria (Miq.) Miq. (Chaowasku et al. 2012; 2014).

Tanawat Chaowasku, David M. Johnson, Raymond W. J. M. van der Ham and Lars W. Chatrou. 2015. Huberantha, a replacement name for Hubera (Annonaceae: Malmeoideae: Miliuseae). Kew Bulletin. DOI: 10.1007/s12225-015-9571-z

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

[Ichthyology • 2013] Scleropages formosus (Müller & Schlegel, 1840) • The Types of Osteoglossum formosum Müller & Schlegel, 1840 (Teleostei, Osteoglossidae)

Osteoglossum formosum Müller & Schlegel, 1840
From Müller & Schlegel 1840-1845

The designation of a neotype for Scleropages formosus (Müller & Schlegel, 1840) by Pouyaud et al. (2003) triggered a search for the type specimens of the species, which were found in the collections of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden (RMNH) and the Natural History Museum, London (BM(NH)). The publication date of the species is corrected. Moreover, detailed data on the day of capture and the type locality were uncovered. An English translation of the major part of the original Dutch description is provided, and a number of neglected colour descriptions and figures of S. formosus are discussed. Lastly, a lectotype is designated.
Key words: Scleropages formosus, Asian Arowana, neotype, lectotype, RMNH collection

FIGURE 10. Type specimens of Osteoglossum formosum Müller & Schlegel 1840.
A. RMNH.PISC. 3386a, 475 mm TL. Lectotype;
B. RMNH.PISC.3386b, 370 mm TL. Paralectotype;
C. RMNH.PISC.S.366, 580 mm TL, Paralectotype, mirror image.
Scale equals 5 cm.

van Oijen, Martien J. P. & Sancia E. t. V. D. Meij. 2013. The Types of Osteoglossum formosum Müller & Schlegel, 1840 (Teleostei, Osteoglossidae). Zootaxa. 3722(3): 361-371.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

[Paleontology • 2013] “Joe”, a juvenile Parasaurolophus • Ontogeny in the tube-crested dinosaur Parasaurolophus (Hadrosauridae) and heterochrony in hadrosaurids


The tube-crested hadrosaurid dinosaur Parasaurolophus is remarkable for its unusual cranial ornamentation, but little is known about its growth and development, particularly relative to well-documented ontogenetic series for lambeosaurin hadrosaurids (such as Corythosaurus, Lambeosaurus, and Hypacrosaurus). The skull and skeleton of a juvenile Parasaurolophus from the late Campanian-aged (∼75.5 Ma) Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah, USA, represents the smallest and most complete specimen yet described for this taxon. The individual was approximately 2.5 m in body length (∼25% maximum adult body length) at death, with a skull measuring 246 mm long and a femur 329 mm long. A histological section of the tibia shows well-vascularized, woven and parallel-fibered primary cortical bone typical of juvenile ornithopods. The histological section revealed no lines of arrested growth or annuli, suggesting the animal may have still been in its first year at the time of death. Impressions of the upper rhamphotheca are preserved in association with the skull, showing that the soft tissue component for the beak extended for some distance beyond the limits of the oral margin of the premaxilla. In marked contrast with the lengthy tube-like crest in adult Parasaurolophus, the crest of the juvenile specimen is low and hemicircular in profile, with an open premaxilla-nasal fontanelle. Unlike juvenile lambeosaurins, the nasal passages occupy nearly the entirety of the crest in juvenile Parasaurolophus. Furthermore, Parasaurolophus initiated development of the crest at less than 25% maximum skull size, contrasting with 50% of maximum skull size in hadrosaurs such as Corythosaurus. This early development may correspond with the larger and more derived form of the crest in Parasaurolophus, as well as the close relationship between the crest and the respiratory system. In general, ornithischian dinosaurs formed bony cranial ornamentation at a relatively younger age and smaller size than seen in extant birds. This may reflect, at least in part, that ornithischians probably reached sexual maturity prior to somatic maturity, whereas birds become reproductively mature after reaching adult size.

Keywords: Parasaurolophus, Ontogeny, Hadrosauridae, Kaiparowits Formation, Cretaceous, Dinosauria, Lambeosaurinae, Ornithischia, Heterochrony

Andrew A. Farke​, Derek J. Chok, Annisa Herrero, Brandon Scolieri and Sarah Werning. 2013. Ontogeny in the tube-crested dinosaur Parasaurolophus (Hadrosauridae) and heterochrony in hadrosaurids. PeerJ 1:e182

[Herpetology • 2013] Three New Species of Horned Frogs, Megophrys (Amphibia: Megophryidae); Megophrys ancrae, M. vegrandis & M. oropedion, from Northeast India, with a resolution to the identity of Megophrys boettgeri populations reported from the region

Megophrys ancrae sp. nov. and Megophrys vegrandis sp. nov. from Arunachal Pradesh;  Megophrys oropedion sp. nov. from the Shillong Plateau, eastern Meghalaya, northeastern India

Northeast India is a well-established region of biological importance but remains poorly understood with regards to the species level identifications of many of its extant amphibians. In this study we examined small sized frogs from the genus Megophrys recently collected from remote and suburban forests in the northeast Indian states of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, from which we have identified three new species. Megophrys vegrandis sp. nov., Megophrys ancrae sp. nov. and Megophrys oropedion sp. nov. are compared with all known congeners from India and surrounding regions from which they differ based primarily on a combination of morphological characters. Megophrys boettgeri is removed, and Megophrys minor added to the Indian amphibian checklist, through critical review of all literature pertaining to the former species, and the discovery of an overlooked historical report of the latter species.

Two of the new species, Megophrys ancrae sp. nov. and Megophrys vegrandis sp. nov. are known from low and mid elevations within two large protected forests in Arunachal Pradesh, both with poorly studied amphibian fauna. Contrastingly, Megophrys oropedion sp. nov. is currently known only from small forested areas on the upper reaches of the Shillong Plateau. The importance of the Shillong Plateau as an area of known high amphibian endemicity is highlighted in the light of the miniscule proportion of its land area afforded government protection, raising concerns about the future conservation of its still poorly known species.

Key words: Amphibian; taxonomy; morphology; chresonymy; Megophryinae; Megophrys parva; baluensis; montana; Philautus kempii

Mahony, Stephen, Emma C. Teeling & S. D. Biju. 2013. Three New Species of Horned Frogs, Megophrys (Amphibia: Megophryidae), from Northeast India, with a resolution to the identity of Megophrys boettgeri populations reported from the region. Zootaxa. 3722(2): 143-169.

[Crustacea • 2013] Patagurus rex • A Remarkable new Crab-like Hermit Crab (Decapoda: Paguridae) from French Polynesia, with comments on carcinization in the Anomura

Patagurus rex Anker & Paulay 2013

Patagurus rex gen. et sp. nov., a deep-water pagurid hermit crab, is described and illustrated based on a single specimen dredged from 400 m off Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia. Patagurus is characterized by a subtriangular, vaulted, calcified carapace, with large, wing-like lateral processes, and is closely related to two other atypical pagurid genera, Porcellanopagurus Filhol, 1885 and Solitariopagurus Türkay, 1986. The broad, fully calcified carapace, calcified branchiostegites, as well as broad and rigidly articulated thoracic sternites make this remarkable animal one of the most crablike hermit crabs. Patagurus rex carries small bivalve shells to protect its greatly reduced pleon. Carcinization pathways among asymmetrical hermit crabs and other anomurans are briefly reviewed and discussed.

Key words: Decapoda, Paguridae, hermit crab, deep-water, carcinization, PorcellanopagurusSolitariopagurus, Indo-West Pacific

Type species. Patagurus rex sp. nov., by present designation.

Etymology. The new genus is named after one of the world’s most eminent carcinologists, the late Dr. Patsy (Pat) A. McLaughlin (1932–2011). The generic name is a combination of McLaughlin’s preferred first name and the Greek word pagourus (a kind of crab), which was the origin for the nominal pagurid genus, Pagurus Fabricius, 1775. Specific epithet referring to the extraordinary albeit superficial resemblance of this new species to some king crabs (rex = king in Latin).

Distribution. Presently known only from the type locality off Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia.

Habitat. Mud and rocks bottom at a depth of 400 m.

Biological notes. The hermit crab was covering its miniature abdomen with a valve of the mytilid bivalve, Gregariella sp. (Figs. 4C, 6A, B).

Anker, Arthur & Paulay, Gustav. 2013. A Remarkable new Crab-like Hermit Crab (Decapoda: Paguridae) from French Polynesia, with comments on carcinization in the Anomura. Zootaxa. 3722(2): 283-300.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

[Conservation / Mammalogy • 2013] Notes on the Distribution and Status of Small Carnivores in Gabon

Black-footed mongoose Bdeogale nigripes in Gabon.
Photo: Laila Bahaa-el-din/Panthera.

Gabon has lost most of its big meat-eaters including lions, spotted hyenas, and African wild dogs (although it's still home to a lot of leopards), but a new study focuses on the country's lesser-known species with an appetite for flesh. For the first time, researchers surveyed Gabon's small carnivores, including 12 species from the honey badger (Mellivora capensis) to the marsh mongoose (Atilax paludinosus). 


Bahaa-el-din, L. Henschel, P. Aba'a, R. Abernethy, K. Bohm, T. Bout, N. Coad, L. Head, J. Inoue, E. Lahm, S. Lee, M. E. Maisels, F. Rabanal, L. Starkey, M. Taylor, G. Vanthomme, H. Nakashima, Y. Hunter, L. 2013. Notes on the Distribution and Status of Small Carnivores in Gabon. Small Carnivore Conservation. 48 : 19-29. 

[Botany • 2013] จันทร์หนู | Dracaena kaweesakii Wilkin & Suksathan • A New Species (Asparagaceae, subfamily Nolinoideae) from Thailand and Myanmar (Burma)


A morphologically distinct element of the group of Dracaena species from Thailand and Burma with undifferentiated leaf sheaths, no leaf blade central costa, free tepals and free thickened filaments known as Chan nuu or Chan pha krai in Thai is shown to be a distinct species, Dracaena kaweesakii Wilkin & Suksathan based on habit, leaf base and margin, inflorescence axis indumentum and floral characters. It is described and illustrated. Ecological and conservation status assessment information are provided.

Keywords: Dracaena L. , dragon trees, Thailand, Burma, taxonomy, morphology, conservation

Etymology: This species is named for our collaborator, friend and co-author Toi (Keeratkiat Kaweesak) to recognise of his extensive knowledge of Chan diversity.

Distribution: Specimens seen from northern, northeastern and central Thailand, but ancedotal evidence exists as to extensive distribution in adjacent Burma (Fig. 4) through oral reports of the Burmese workers at Doi Ang Khang, which is on the Thailand/Burma border.

Vernacular names: Chan nuu (Saraburi, Lop Buri, Loei) Chan pa krai (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai), Chan ku on (Shan, Chiang Rai and Burma)

Paul Wilkin, Piyakaset Suksathan, Kaweesak Keeratikiat, Peter van Welzen, Justyna Wiland-Szymanska. 2013. A new species from Thailand and Burma, Dracaena kaweesakii Wilkin & Suksathan (Asparagaceae subfamily Nolinoideae). PhytoKeys. 26 (2013) : 101-112.