Monday, December 18, 2017

[Mammalogy • 2017] Typhlomys chapensis • A Blind Climber: The First Evidence of Ultrasonic Echolocation in Arboreal Mammals

Typhlomys chapensis Osgood, 1932

Panyutina, Kuznetsov, Volodin, et al., 2017.

 The means of orientation is studied in the Vietnamese pygmy dormouse Typhlomys chapensis, a poorly known enigmatic semi-fossorial semi-arboreal rodent. Data on eye structure are presented, which prove that Typhlomys (translated as "the blind mouse") is incapable of object vision – the retina is folded and retains no more than 2 500 ganglion cells in the focal plane, and the optic nerve is subject to gliosis. Hence, Typhlomys has no other means for rapid long-range orientation among tree branches other than echolocation. Ultrasonic vocalization recordings at the frequency range of 50-100 kHz support this hypothesis. The vocalizations are represented by bouts of up to 7 more or less evenly-spaced and uniform frequency-modulated sweep-like pulses in rapid succession. Structurally, these sweeps are similar to frequency-modulated ultrasonic echolocation calls of some bat species, but they are too faint to be revealed with a common bat detector. When recording video simultaneously with the ultrasonic audio, a significantly greater pulse rate during locomotion compared to that of resting animals has been demonstrated. Our findings of locomotion-associated ultrasonic vocalization in a fast-climbing but weakly-sighted small mammal ecotype add support to the "echolocation-first theory" of pre-flight origin of echolocation in bats.

 Key words: ultrasonic echolocation, locomotor behaviour, arboreal locomotion, reduced eyes, Typhlomys, Rodentia

Figure 1 Vietnamese pygmy dormouse Typhlomys chapensis. Its reduced eyes are reflected in the generic name, which means “the blind mouse.”

Concluding remarks. The major limitations of our study were the small number of live individuals to experiment with and the poor quality of dead specimens for histology. This is due to the extreme rarity of the Vietnamese pygmy dormouse, or "blind mouse" in nature. That is why our conclusions, though rather convincing, are still preliminary. Additional research is required to describe in detail the acoustic patterns of ultrasonic pulses and bouts in Typhlomys and to compare them with the known acoustics of bats and with non-echolocation ultrasonic calls of other rodents. A remaining question is the mechanism of signal production – is it located in the larynx? and is the animal entirely incapable to communicate in the human-audible range indeed? It will be of interest to investigate the degree of eye degeneration and development of echolocation in a closely related and very similar species, the Chinese pygmy dormouse – Typhlomys cinereus.

Aleksandra A. Panyutina, Alexander N. Kuznetsov, Ilya A. Volodin, Alexey V. Abramov and Irina B. Soldatova. 2017. A Blind Climber: The First Evidence of Ultrasonic Echolocation in Arboreal Mammals. Integrative Zoology. 12(2); 172–184.  DOI: 10.1111/1749-4877.12249

 Video: Blind mouse navigates like a bat

An echolocating dormouse could reveal the origins of one of nature's coolest superpowers  @SmithsonianMag
Rare rodent is the first tree-climbing mammal known to echolocate like a bat | MNN

[PaleoMammalogy • 2017] A Basal Ursine Bear (Protarctos abstrusus) from the Pliocene High Arctic reveals Eurasian Affinities and A Diet Rich in Fermentable Sugars

Reconstruction of the mid-Pliocene Protarctos abstrusus in the Beaver Pond site area during the late summer. An extinct beaver, Dipoides, is shown carrying a tree branch in water. Plants include blackcrowberry (Empetrum nigrum) with ripened berries along the path of the bear, dwarf birch (Betula nana) in foreground; sweet gale (Myrica gale) carried by the beaver, sedges in water margins, flowering buckbeans along the mounds behind the beaver, and larch trees in distant background.

 Art by Mauricio Antón based on research of this paper
 and with input on plant community from Alice Telka. 

The skeletal remains of a small bear (Protarctos abstrusus) were collected at the Beaver Pond fossil site in the High Arctic (Ellesmere I., Nunavut). This mid-Pliocene deposit has also yielded 12 other mammals and the remains of a boreal-forest community. Phylogenetic analysis reveals this bear to be basal to modern bears. It appears to represent an immigration event from Asia, leaving no living North American descendants. The dentition shows only modest specialization for herbivory, consistent with its basal position within Ursinae. However, the appearance of dental caries suggest a diet high in fermentable-carbohydrates. Fossil plants remains, including diverse berries, suggests that, like modern northern black bears, P. abstrusus may have exploited a high-sugar diet in the fall to promote fat accumulation and facilitate hibernation. A tendency toward a sugar-rich diet appears to have arisen early in Ursinae, and may have played a role in allowing ursine lineages to occupy cold habitats.

Figure 2: Right (A) and left (B) lateral views of the skull of Protarctos abstrusus (CMN 54380), composite laser scans of five individual cranial fragments.

Reconstruction of the mid-Pliocene Protarctos abstrusus in the Beaver Pond site area during the late summer. An extinct beaver, Dipoides, is shown carrying a tree branch in water. Plants include blackcrowberry (Empetrum nigrum) with ripened berries along the path of the bear, dwarf birch (Betula nana) in foreground; sweet gale (Myrica gale) carried by the beaver, sedges in water margins, flowering buckbeans along the mounds behind the beaver, and larch trees in distant background.

 Art by Mauricio Antón based on research of this paper
and with input on plant community from Alice Telka.

Xiaoming Wang, Natalia Rybczynski, C. Richard Harington, Stuart C. White and Richard H. Tedford. 2017. A Basal Ursine Bear (Protarctos abstrusus) from the Pliocene High Arctic reveals Eurasian Affinities and A Diet Rich in Fermentable Sugars. Scientific Reports. 7, Article number: 17722. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-17657-8

Primitive fossil bear with a sweet tooth identified from Canada's High Arctic via @physorg_com
Bears have had a sweet tooth for millions of years

[Herpetology • 2017] Goggia incognita & G. matzikamaensis • Molecular Phylogeny reveals Strong Biogeographic Signal and Two New Species in A Cape Biodiversity Hotspot Endemic Mini-Radiation, the Pygmy Geckos (Gekkonidae: Goggia)

Goggia matzikamaensis
Heinicke, Turk & Bauer, 2017


The gekkonid genus Goggia includes eight described species of mostly small-bodied rock dwelling gecko endemic to the southwestern portion of southern Africa, in South Africa and extreme southern Namibia. Previous studies focused on Goggia have employed external morphology and allozyme electrophoresis, but no sequence-based molecular phylogeny of the group has been produced. We have generated a molecular phylogeny of Goggia including all named species and multiple individuals within each species, using sequences of the mitochondrial gene ND2 and nuclear genes RAG1 and PDC. The phylogeny depicts a basal divergence between eastern and western species of small-bodied Goggia, with additional divergences also showing structure strongly correlated with geography. Goggia lineata and G. rupicola are shown to be non-monophyletic, and examination of external morphology supports the distinctiveness of these lineages. We describe two new species to accommodate the southern lineages of “G. lineata” and “G. rupicola”: Goggia incognita sp. nov. and Goggia matzikamaensis sp. nov. Both new species are separated from their northern relatives by geographic barriers: the Knersvlakte plain for G. incognita sp. nov. and G. lineata, and the high Kamiesberg mountains for G. matzikamaensis sp. nov. and G. rupicola. The possible roles of geography, ecology, and climate in promoting diversification within Goggia are discussed.

Keywords: Reptilia, allopatry, Cape Fold Belt, fynbos, Karoo, Namaqualand, taxonomy

Goggia incognita sp. nov. 
Diplodactylus lineatus (part) Gray, 1845
Phyllodactylus lineatus (part) Smith, 1849
Phyllodactylus lineatus lineatus (part) Hewitt, 1937 
Goggia lineata (part) Bauer, Good, and Branch, 1997

Etymology. The specific epithet is from the Latin word incognitus, meaning “not known”. The English phrase “going incognito” refers to remaining hidden or disguised. The name is chosen to reflect the 150+ year time period in which this species has remained hidden within what were considered nominotypical populations of Goggia lineata. It additionally reflects the natural history of the species, as members of the species are typically inconspicuous and hidden under cover objects by day. The name is used as an adjective.

One of the newly described Dwarf Leaf-toed Geckos - Goggia matzikamaensis from near Kliprand in the Western Cape, South Africa.

Goggia matzikamaensis sp. nov. 
Phyllodactylus rupicolus (part) Branch, Bauer, and Good, 1995 
Goggia rupicola (part) Bauer, Good, and Branch, 1997

Etymology. The specific epithet means “from Matzikama”, and refers to the type locality, which is within Matzikama Local Municipality, the northernmost municipality in Western Cape Province. The epithet is used as an adjective.

Matthew P. Heinicke, Dilara Turk and Aaron M. Bauer. 2017. Molecular Phylogeny reveals Strong Biogeographic Signal and Two New Species in A Cape Biodiversity Hotspot Endemic Mini-Radiation, the Pygmy Geckos (Gekkonidae: Goggia).  Zootaxa. 4312(3); 449–470.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4312.3.3

[Botany • 2018] Paraboea fimbriata • A New Species of Paraboea (Gesneriaceae) from western Thailand

ชาฤาษีไทรโยค ||  Paraboea fimbriata  C.Puglisi & Phutthai

Puglisi & Phutthai, 2018. 


A new species of Paraboea P. fimbriata C.Puglisi & Phutthai, from Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand, is described.

Keywords: Kanchanaburi, limestone, taxonomy

Fig. 1. Paraboea fimbriata Puglisi & Phutthai.
A and B, Habit; C and D, inflorescence; E, capsule.
Photographs by T. Phutthai.

C. Puglisi and Thamarat Phutthai. 2018. A New Species of Paraboea (Gesneriaceae) from Thailand. Edinburgh Journal of Botany. DOI: 10.1017/S0960428617000324 

[Herpetology • 2017] Plestiodon lotus • A New Species of Plestiodon (Squamata: Scincidae) from the Balsas Basin, Mexico

Plestiodon lotus
Vázquez, De Oca, Hernández, Alcalá,  Cruz-padilla & Arcos, 2017


We describe a new species of Plestiodon in the P. brevirostris group from the Balsas Basin in central Mexico. It is distinguished from the other species in the group by the following combination of traits: supraoculars four; interparietal enclosed posteriorly by parietals; primary temporal present; seventh supralabial usually contacting upper secondary temporal; longitudinal dorsal scale rows around midbody 23–26; Toe-IV lamellae 13–15; limbs not overlapping when adpressed against body; dorsolateral light line extending posteriorly to level of posterior end of anterior fourth of body or beyond; light median line absent in all growth stages; primary lateral dark lines separated medially by six dorsal scale rows and upper half of adjacent row on each side at level of midbody; lower secondary dark line faint at level of neck; and light coloration of supralabials extending ventrally to lip border. Analyses based on DNA sequences of three loci support the distinctiveness of the new species, as well as its sister species relationship with P. ochoterenae. The Environmental Vulnerability Score of the new species places it in the high vulnerability category.

Key words: Environmental Vulnerability Score, Guerrero, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Skink, Systematics, Taxonomy

Plestiodon lotus in life (Paratypes MZFC-HE 30624) from the vicinities of the type locality, Olinalá, Guerrero. 

Plestiodon lotus sp. nov.

Plestiodon brevirostris brevirostris (Günther, 1860) (in part); Feria-Ortiz et al. (2011:40–41, 43–47, 50, Table 6)
Plestiodon brevirostris (Günther, 1860) (in part); Feria-Ortiz et al. (2011:46)
Plestiodon indubitus (Taylor, 1933) (in part); Feria-Ortiz & García-Vázquez (2012:57–58, 63–64, 66, 68, Table 1)

Etymology. The specific Latin name is treated as a participle in the nominative singular and means bathed, clean, elegant. It makes reference to the appearance of the new species, characterized by having fainter lines than its geographically closest congeners.

Carlos J. Pavón Vázquez, Adrián Nieto Montes De Oca, Andrés A. Mendoza Hernández, Eric Centenero Alcalá, Samuel A. Santa Cruz-padilla and Víctor H. Jiménez Arcos. 2017. A New Species of Plestiodon (Squamata: Scincidae) from the Balsas Basin, Mexico. Zootaxa. 4365(2); 149–172.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4365.2.3

[Entomology • 2017] Leaf Insects (Phasmida: Phylliidae) from Luzon, Philippines, with Descriptions of Four New Species, the New Genus Pseudomicrophyllium, and Redescription of Phyllium (Phyllium) geryon Gray, 1843

 Pseudomicrophyllium faulkneri Cumming

in Cumming, Leong & Lohman, 2017. 


Examination of unidentified Phylliidae specimens revealed a number of undescribed species from the island of Luzon, Philippines. Morphological and molecular study of specimens from the obscure phasmid genus Microphyllium Zompro, 2001, revealed a new species, which we describe as Microphyllium haskelli Cumming sp. nov.. It is here described and differentiated from the two other species in the genus, both currently only known from adults of a single sex. Pseudomicrophyllium Cumming gen. nov. is described as a new genus within Phylliidae with the type species Pseudomicrophyllium faulkneri Cumming gen. et sp. nov. as the sole known species in the genus. As is unfortunately often the case in the leaf-mimicking family Phylliidae, this new genus and species is only known from a single specimen. In addition to the new genus, two new Phyllium (Phyllium) species from the siccifolium species-group are named and described as Ph. (Ph.) antonkozlovi Cumming sp. nov. and Ph. (Ph.) bourquei Cumming & Le Tirant sp. nov.. In addition to the newly described species, Phyllium (Phyllium) geryon Gray, 1843 is redescribed from a nearly perfect specimen, completing some of the morphological knowledge gaps currently missing because of the severely damaged holotype specimen. A key to all known species of Phylliidae from Luzon is included. Holotype specimens for all four new species will be deposited in the National Museum of the Philippines type collection and paratype specimens will be deposited into the San Diego Natural History Museum collection or retained within the first author’s collection.

Keywords: Phasmatodea, DNA barcodes, Philippines, Luzon, new species, Phylliinae, holotype, Phyllium, Mountain Province, leaf insect

FIGURE 3. Microphyllium haskelli Cumming sp. nov., PT [Coll. RC 16-128]. A: dorsal view; B: ventral view.

Microphyllium haskelli Cumming, gen. nov.  

Etymology. This new species is a patronym named in honor of world famous forensic entomologist Dr. Neal H. Haskell of Rensselaer, Indiana, United States. Dr. Haskell has been an invaluable mentor to the first author as he works on his master’s degree.

FIGURE 8. Male Pseudomicrophyllium faulkneri Cumming gen. et sp. nov., HT [Coll.RC 16-129], A: dorsal view; B: ventral view

Pseudomicrophyllium Cumming gen. nov. 
Type Species: Pseudomicrophyllium faulkneri Cumming gen. et sp. nov. 

Etymology: The genus is named because it was thought for several years to be a new Microphyllium species because of its size and it was not until closer examination that it was revealed it to be a new genus evading detection right under the first author’s view because of those similarities. 

Diagnosis. ♂: Appearing closely related to Phyllium (Phyllium) with characteristics such as the antennae, thorax, but the body size and spination of the legs are reminiscent of Microphyllium. The combination of the below morphological features characterize males of the new genus and differentiate it from the other known phylliid genera.

Antennae: Long and filiform with long setae, similar to Phyllium (Phyllium).
Profemora: Completely lacking an exterior lobe, interior lobe greatly reduced, similar to Microphyllium.
Protibia: Lacking both exterior and interior lobes, similar to Microphyllium.
Thorax: Similar to Phyllium (Phyllium) with a distinct mesopraescutum.

The most evident feature that differentiates Pseudomicrophyllium gen. nov. from Microphyllium Zompro, 2001 are the long filiform antennae. Abdominal shape in the walking leaf family is a feature that has proven to be very variable in female Phyllium and more stable in male Phyllium. However not enough is known about the male variation of abdominal shape in the small phylliid genera of Luzon to use abdominal shape as a strong morphological feature in their differentiation and identification. Antennae structure is a feature that has proven much more stable throughout the family and this emphasis is reflected in the dichotomous key at the end of this work.

Pseudomicrophyllium faulkneri Cumming sp. nov.

Etymology. This new species is a patronym named in honor of David Faulkner of California, USA. Faulkner has been a mentor to the first author over the years and was the first to introduce him to forensic entomology. 

FIGURE 12. Phyllium (Phyllium) antonkozlovi Cumming sp. nov., HT, [Coll. RC 16-122], A: dorsal view; B: ventral view.

Phyllium (Phyllium) antonkozlovi Cumming sp. nov.

Etymology. This new species is a patronym named in honor of Anton Olegovich Kozlov, long time friend to the first author and well-known Russian field entomologist. 

FIGURE 14. Phyllium (Phyllium) bourquei Cumming & Le Tirant sp. nov. HT female [Coll. RC 17-203], A: dorsal view; B: ventral view; C: left foreleg.

Phyllium (Phyllium) bourquei Cumming & Le Tirant sp. nov.

 Etymology. This species is dedicated to Mr. Pierre Bourque. He was mayor of the City of Montreal from 1994 to 2001. Mr. Bourque was also one of the most innovative directors of the Montreal Botanical Garden from 1980 to 1994. Among other things, he was responsible for the creation of new greenhouses, the Floralies Internationales de Montréal, the Japanese Garden, the Chinese Garden, the Tree House, the Montreal Biodome and the Montreal Insectarium. Thanks to Mr. Bourque, the Montreal Botanical Garden has become the second largest in the world.

Checklist of Phylliidae species currently confirmed from Luzon, Philippines, and their recorded ranges. See figure 21 for an illustrated map of the distributions.

Phylliidae, Phylliinae, Phylliini:
 • Microphyllium Zompro, 2001
Microphyllium pusillulum (Rehn & Rehn, 1933)  [Central Luzon (Mountain* & Nueva Vizcaya Prov.)]
Microphyllium spinithorax Zompro, 2001  [Luzon (Benguet Prov.**)]
Microphyllium haskelli Cumming sp. nov.  [Luzon (Mountain Prov.)]

 • Pseudomicrophyllium Cumming gen. nov.
Pseudomicrophyllium faulkneri Cumming gen. et sp. nov.  [Central Luzon (Ifugao Prov.)]

 • Phyllium Illiger, 1798
Phyllium (Phyllium) ericoriai Hennemann, et al., 2009  [Luzon (Manila, Aurora*, Quirino*, & Quezon Prov.); Batan Is.; Marinduque Is.; Cantanduanes Is.*]
Phyllium (Phyllium) bonifacioi Lit & Eusebio, 2014  [Northern Luzon (Cagayan Prov.* & Northern Luzon***)]
Phyllium (Phyllium) philippinicum Hennemann, et al., 2009****  [Western Luzon (Bataan Prov.)]

Phyllium (Phyllium) antonkozlovi Cumming sp. nov.   [Eastern Luzon (Isabela Prov.)]
Phyllium (Phyllium) bourquei Cumming & Le Tirant sp. nov.  [Luzon (Nueva Vizcaya Prov.)]
Phyllium (Phyllium) geryon Gray, 1843  [Luzon (Aurora Prov.)*]

 Royce T. Cumming, Jing V. Leong and David J. Lohman. 2017. Leaf Insects from Luzon, Philippines, with Descriptions of Four New Species, the New Genus Pseudomicrophyllium, and Redescription of Phyllium (Phyllium) geryon Gray, 1843, (Phasmida: Phylliidae). Zootaxa. 4365(2); 101-131.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4365.2.1

[Herpetology • 2017] Nidirana nankunensis • Resurrection of Genus Nidirana (Anura: Ranidae) with Description of A New Species from China

Nidirana nankunensis 
Lyu, Zeng, Wang, Lin, Liu & Wang, 2017

The taxonomy of Babina sensu lato was controversial in the past decades. In this study, the phylogeny of genus Babina sensu lato was re-constructed based on genetic analysis, morphological comparison and advertisement call analysis. We found that Babina sensu stricto and previous subgenus Nidirana should be two distinct genera in the family Ranidae. N. caldwelli is confirmed to be a synonym of N. adenopleura because of the small genetic divergence and the lack of distinct morphological differences. A new speciesNidirana nankunensis sp. nov. is described based on a series of specimens collected from Mt. Nankun, Guangdong Province, China, which can be distinguished from other known congeners by having a behavior of nest construction, distinctive advertisement calls, significant divergence in the mitochondrial genes, and a combination of morphological characters. Currently, the genus Babina contains two species and the genus Nidirana contains eight species.

Keywords: Babina, bioacoustic, mitochondrial DNA, morphology, Nidirana nankunensis sp. nov., phylogeny.

Nidirana nankunensis sp. nov., the holotype (SYS a005719) in the wild.

 Figure 4. the adult male holotype SYS a005719 of Nidirana nankunensis sp. nov. in life. (A) dorsolateral view; (B) ventral view
Figure 5. Paratypes of Nidirana nankunensis sp. nov. (A) adult female paratype SYS a005717; (B) adult male paratype SYS a004905.

Nidirana nankunensis sp. nov.

Etymology. The specific name “nankunensis”refers to the type locality of the new species, the Mt. Nankun. We suggest its English common name “Mt. Nankun Music Frog” and Chinese name “Nan Kun Shan Qin Wa”.

Figure 4. Morphological features of the adult male holotype SYS a005719 of Nidirana nankunensis sp. nov. in life. (A) dorsolateral view; (B) ventral view; (C) right hand; (D) nuptial pad; (E) right foot; (F) posterior part of dorsal surface.

  Zhi-Tong Lyu, Zhao-Chi Zeng, Jian Wang, Chao-Yu Lin, Zu-Yao Liu and Ying-Yong Wang. 2017. Resurrection of Genus Nidirana (Anura: Ranidae) and synonymizing N. caldwelli with N. adenopleura, with Description of A New Species from China. Amphibia-Reptilia. DOI: 10.1163/15685381-00003130


[Herpetology • 2017] Evolutionarily Significant Units of the Critically Endangered Leaf Frog Pithecopus ayeaye (Anura, Phyllomedusidae) are Not Effectively Preserved by the Brazilian Protected Areas Network

Pithecopus ayeaye B. Lutz, 1966

de Magalhães, Lemes, Camargo, et al. 2017. 
Photograph by R. A. Brandão. || DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3261   


Protected areas (PAs) are essential for biodiversity conservation, but their coverage is considered inefficient for the preservation of all species. Many species are subdivided into evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) and the effectiveness of PAs in protecting them needs to be investigated. We evaluated the usefulness of the Brazilian PAs network in protecting ESUs of the critically endangered Pithecopus ayeaye through ongoing climate change. This species occurs in a threatened mountaintop ecosystem known as campos rupestres. We used multilocus DNA sequences to delimit geographic clusters, which were further validated as ESUs with a coalescent approach. Ecological niche modeling was used to estimate spatial changes in ESUs’ potential distributions, and a gap analysis was carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of the Brazilian PAs network to protect P. ayeaye in the face of climate changes. We tested the niche overlap between ESUs to gain insights for potential management alternatives for the species. Pithecopus ayeaye contains at least three ESUs isolated in distinct mountain regions, and one of them is not protected by any PA. There are no climatic niche differences between the units, and only 4% of the suitable potential area of the species is protected in present and future projections. The current PAs are not effective in preserving the intraspecific diversity of P. ayeaye in its present and future range distributions. The genetic structure of P. ayeaye could represent a typical pattern in campos rupestres endemics, which should be considered for evaluating its conservation status.

KEYWORD: Sapproximate Bayesian computation, campos rupestres, conservation genetics, ecological niche modeling, niche overlap, statistical phylogeography 

FIGURE 1: An individual of Pithecopus ayeaye B. Lutz, 1966 from type locality, Morro do Ferro, Poços de Caldas—MG.

Photograph by Reuber Albuquerque Brandão. 

Rafael Félix de Magalhães, Priscila Lemes, Arley Camargo, Ubirajara Oliveira, Reuber Albuquerque Brandão, Hans Thomassen, Paulo Christiano de Anchietta Garcia, Felipe Sá Fortes Leite and Fabrício Rodrigues Santos. 2017. Evolutionarily Significant Units of the Critically Endangered Leaf Frog Pithecopus ayeaye (Anura, Phyllomedusidae) are Not Effectively Preserved by the Brazilian Protected Areas Network.  Ecology and Evolution. 7(21); 8812–8828.  DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3261  

[Herpetology • 2017] Chiropterotriton chico • A New Terrestrial Species of Chiropterotriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from central Mexico

Chiropterotriton chico  García-Castillo, Rovito, Wake & Parra-Olea, 2017

BChiropterotriton arboreus, DBW, CCchondrostega, SMR (IBH 28195), DC. dimidiatus, DBW 1342-45, ECmosaueri SMR (IBH 28179), FC. terrestris, DBW, GCcieloensis, SMR holotype (IBH 29561), HCcracens, SMR (IBH 28192), IC. infernalis, SMR holotype (MVZ 269665), JCmultidentatus SMR (IBH 29571).


Chiropterotriton is a relatively small genus that comprises 15 species with great morphological and ecological diversity. In previous studies, molecular data provided evidence for a considerable number of species that remain undescribed. In this study, we describe one new species, Chiropterotriton chico sp. nov. based on molecular and morphological characters. We present mtDNA phylogenetic analyses using Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood that include all described and several undescribed species. Morphometric data from eight recognized species provide evidence for the distinctiveness of the new taxon. Description of this new species adds to the already high salamander diversity of the state of Hidalgo, which is an important area for the diversification of the genus.

Keywords: salamanders, bolitogossines, morphology, taxonomy, Hidalgo

FIGURE 3. Head, hand and foot morphology of Chiropterotriton specimens from Hidalgo
A) Chiropterotriton chico, holotype MVZ 118888, B) C. arboreus, MVZ 172159, C) C. chondrostega MVZ 106660, D) C. dimidiatus MVZ 178671, E) C. mosaueri IBH 28179, F) C. terrestris, MVZ 106700, and Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosí G) C. cieloensis, holotype IBH 29561, H) C. cracens MVZ 129005, I) C. infernalis, holotype MVZ 269665, J) C. multidentatus MVZ 163908. Scale bar corresponds to 2 mm.

FIGURE 4. Photos in life of ChiropterotritonAChiropterotriton chico, DBW (Jan 1974) BC. arboreus, DBW, CCchondrostega, SMR (IBH 28195), DC. dimidiatus, DBW 1342-45, ECmosaueri SMR (IBH 28179), FC. terrestris, DBW, GCcieloensis, SMR holotype (IBH 29561), HCcracens, SMR (IBH 28192), IC. infernalis, SMR holotype (MVZ 269665), JCmultidentatus SMR (IBH 29571).

Chiropterotriton chico sp. nov.
El Chico Salamander

Salamandra de El Chico ( Figures 3A View Figure  and 4A View Figure )
Chiropterotriton multidentata (part): Taylor, 1944.
Chiropterotriton multidentata (part): Taylor, 1944.
Chiropterotriton cf multidentatus (part): Rabb, 1958; Darda, 1994.
Chiropterotriton sp. 15: Parra-Olea, 2003; Rovito & Parra-Olea, 2015

Habitat and range. This species is only known from Parque Nacional El Chico in Hidalgo, Mexico .... It is unlikely to occur more widely, because surrounding areas have been extensively surveyed.

Etymology. The species name chico is in reference to the national park where the species occurs. Parque Nacional El Chico in Hidalgo, Mexico has been a protected area since 1922. The species name is used as an invariable noun in apposition to the generic name.

Remarks. This species was previously considered as conspecific with C. multidentatus and occurs in sympatry with C. dimidiatus and Aquiloeurycea cephalica. Likewise, Isthmura bellii has been collected very near sites where C. chico was once common ( MVZAbout MVZ 118953, 118954, 128978), but it is unknown if the two species occur in syntopy.

Mirna G. García-Castillo, Sean M. Rovito, David B. Wake and Gabriela Parra-Olea. 2017. A New Terrestrial Species of Chiropterotriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from central Mexico. Zootaxa. 4363(4);489–505. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4363.4.2

Una nueva especie terrestre de Chiropterotriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae) del centro de México.
 RESUMEN. Chiropterotriton es un género relativamente pequeño que comprende 15 especies con gran diversidad morfológica y ecológica. En estudios previos, los datos moleculares proporcionaron evidencia para un número considerable de especies que permanecen sin describir. En este estudio, describimos una nueva especie, Chiropterotriton chico sp. nov. basada en caracteres moleculares y morfológicos. Presentamos análisis filogenéticos de mtDNA usando inferencia Bayesiana y máxima verosimilitud que incluyen todas las especies descritas y varias especies no descritas. Los datos morfométricos de ocho especies reconocidas proporcionan evidencia del carácter distintivo del nuevo taxón. La descripción de esta nueva especie se suma a la ya alta diversidad de salamandras del estado de Hidalgo, que es un área importante para la diversificación del género”.


[Ichthyology • 2017] Brachychalcinus reisi • A New Species of Brachychalcinus (Characiformes: Characidae) from the rio Xingu basin, Serra do Cachimbo, Brazil

Brachychalcinus reisi 
Garcia-Ayala, Ohara, Pastana & Benine, 2017


Brachychalcinus reisi, a new species of characid fish, is described from the rio Curuá, tributary of rio Iriri, rio Xingu basin, Serra do Cachimbo, Pará State, Brazil. The new species can be distinguished from its congeners by the presence of a series of longitudinal black wavy stripes on the entire body and by a lower number of longitudinal scale rows between dorsal-fin origin and lateral line (7–8 vs. 8–12). Additionally, the new species differs from B. copei, B. parnaibae, and B. retrospina by the lower number of branched dorsal-fin rays (9 vs.10). This is the first description of a new species of the subfamily since the revisionary study of Stethaprioninae, published almost 30 years ago.

Keywords: Pisces, Stethaprioninae, Neotropical region, freshwater fishes, taxonomy, Amazon

FIGURE 4. Brachychalcinus reisi, MZUSP 119456, paratype, 57.3 mm SL, Brazil, Pará, Altamira, rio Curuá, rio Xingu basin. 

Brachychalcinus reisi new species

Etymology. The specific name reisi is in honor of Roberto Esser dos Reis, for his great contributions to the knowledge of the Stethaprioninae and the Neotropical ichthyology as a whole. A genitive noun.  

  FIGURE 6. Type-locality of Brachychalcinus reisi, Brazil, Pará, Altamira, upper rio Curuá, rio Xingu basin.  

James R. Garcia-Ayala, Willian M. Ohara, Murilo N. L. Pastana and Ricardo C. Benine. 2017. A New Species of Brachychalcinus (Characiformes: Characidae) from the rio Xingu basin, Serra do Cachimbo, Brazil. Zootaxa. 4362(4); 564–574.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4362.4.5

[PaleoOrnithology • 2017] Kumimanu biceae • A Paleocene Penguin from New Zealand Substantiates Multiple Origins of Gigantism in Fossil Sphenisciformes

Kumimanu biceae
Mayr, Scofield, De Pietri & Tennyson, 2017

One of the notable features of penguin evolution is the occurrence of very large species in the early Cenozoic, whose body size greatly exceeded that of the largest extant penguins. Here we describe a new giant species from the late Paleocene of New Zealand that documents the very early evolution of large body size in penguins. Kumimanu biceae, n. gen. et sp. is larger than all other fossil penguins that have substantial skeletal portions preserved. Several plesiomorphic features place the new species outside a clade including all post-Paleocene giant penguins. It is phylogenetically separated from giant Eocene and Oligocene penguin species by various smaller taxa, which indicates multiple origins of giant size in penguin evolution. That a penguin rivaling the largest previously known species existed in the Paleocene suggests that gigantism in penguins arose shortly after these birds became flightless divers. Our study therefore strengthens previous suggestions that the absence of very large penguins today is likely due to the Oligo-Miocene radiation of marine mammals.

Systematic paleontology
Aves Linnaeus, 1758
Sphenisciformes Sharpe, 1891

Kumimanu biceae, n. gen. et sp.

  Holotype. NMNZ S.45877: partial skeleton of a single individual including cranial end of left scapula, incomplete right coracoid, cranialmost portion of sternum, partial left humerus, incomplete proximal end of left ulna, right femur, right tibiotarsus lacking proximal end, partial synsacrum, three vertebrae, and various bone fragments.

  Etymology. From kumi (Maori), a large mythological monster, and manu (Maori), bird. The species epithet honors Beatrice (“Bice”) A. Tennyson, the mother of AJDT, who fostered his interest in natural history (pronounced “bee-chee-ae”).

  Type locality and horizon. Hampden Beach, Otago, New Zealand (NZ Fossil Record Number J42/f0956; precise locality information is recorded at NMNZ); Moeraki Formation, late Paleocene (late Teurian, local stratigraphic level NZP522, which has an absolute age of 55.5.-59.5 million years23; a matrix sample taken from the fossil (GNS Science sample L29126) contained a specimen of the dinoflagellate Palaeocystodinium australinum and an unnamed dinoflagellate taxon that support a Teurian age for this sample; C. Clowes, pers. comm.).

  Diagnosis. A very large-sized sphenisciform species, which is characterized by proximodistally low and widely spaced condyles of the tibiotarsus. Distinguished from the late Paleocene Crossvallia and all post-Paleocene Sphenisciformes of which humeri are known in the dorsoventrally narrower humerus shaft, with ratio of maximum width of proximal end of humerus to minimum width of shaft being 2.4 (less than this value in Crossvallia and all post-Paleocene Sphenisciformes of which the humerus is known). Distinguished from Waimanu tuatahi in having the bicipital crest of humerus not forming a distally directed bulge. Distinguished from Waimanu manneringi (the humerus of which is unknown) in having the tibiotarsus with proximodistally lower and more widely spaced condyles.

The humerus (top) and a bone from the shoulder girdle (coracoid, bottom) of the Paleocene giant penguin Kumimanu biceae, compared to the corresponding bones of one of the largest fossil penguins known to date (Pachydyptes ponderosus from the Eocene in New Zealand) and those of an Emperor Penguin (Aptendodytes forsteri).

photo: G. Mayr/Senckenberg Research Institute.

Gerald Mayr, R. Paul Scofield, Vanesa L. De Pietri and Alan J. D. Tennyson. 2017. A Paleocene Penguin from New Zealand substantiates multiple origins of gigantism in fossil Sphenisciformes. Nature Communications. 8, Article number: 1927. DOI:  10.1038/s41467-017-01959-6

A giant human-sized ancient penguin has been discovered 
Ancient man-sized penguin found in New Zealand beach via @zmescience
 「怪物」サイズのペンギン、ニュージーランドで化石発見 via @afpbbcom