Thursday, October 20, 2016

[Paleontology • 2009] Basilochelys macrobios 'เต่าทรงพระเจริญ' • A Large Cryptodiran Turtle from the Phu Kradung Formation (latest Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous) of the Khorat Plateau, Northeastern Thailand

Basilochelys macrobios  
Tong, Claude, Naksri, Suteethorn, Buffetaut, Khansubha, Wongko, & Yuangdetkla, 2009 

'เต่าทรงพระเจริญ'   DOI: 10.1144/SP315.12

 A large cryptodiran turtle, Basilochelys macrobios n. gen. n. sp. is described from the latest Jurassic–earliest Cretaceous Phu Kradung Formation of NE Thailand, on the basis of skull, shell and other postcranial elements. Basilochelys presents a combination of primitive and derived characters. The derived characters include sculptured skull roof and shell surface; deeply embedded canalis caroticus internus; foramen posterius canalis carotici interni completely surrounded by pterygoid; neural formula of 6 > 4 < 6 < 6 < 6 < 6; anteroposteriorly expanded eleventh and twelfth marginal scutes extending onto the suprapygal and costal plates; narrow vertebral scutes; plastron sutured to the carapace, with large and wide anterior and posterior lobes, long and narrow bridge, very narrow axillary and inguinal notch; wide entoplastron; humeropectoral sulcus located on the posterior part of the entoplastron; anal notch absent. This taxon is placed in Trionychoidae and considered as the most basal member of that group.

Systematic palaeontology
Megaorder Cryptodira Cope
Parvorder Eucryptodira Gaffney

Epifamily Trionychoidae Fitzinger (fide Meylan & Gaffney 1989)

Genus Basilochelys new genus

Type species. Basilochelys macrobios sp. nov.

Etymology. Basileus: Greek, kingchelys: Greek, turtle. In honour of His Majesty King Bhumibol of Thailand; Macrobios: Greek, long life. In honour of His Majesty King Rama IX’s eightieth birthday.

Holotype. A nearly complete carapace articulated with a partial plastron, pelvic girdle and a cervical vertebra (MD8-2, collection of the Sirindhorn Museum, Phu Kum Khao, Sahatsakhan, Kalasin Province, Thailand).

Type locality. Kham Phok, Mukdahan Province, Khorat Plateau, NE Thailand.

Horizon. Phu Kradung Formation, terminal Jurassic–basal Cretaceous.

Conclusion: The large turtles from the terminal Jurassic–earliest Cretaceous Phu Kradung Formation of the Khorat Group, NE Thailand, described herein represent anew genus and new species of Eucryptodira, Basilochelys macrobios n. gen. n. sp. This taxon is placed in Trionychoidae and considered as the most basal member of that group. The combination of primitive and derived characters of Basilochelys suggests that the group Trionychoidae may have originated from xinjiangchelyids and their close relatives. Siamochelys from the Middle Jurassic of the southern peninsula of Thailand may represent the sister taxon of Trionychoidae, because of its ligamentous carapace–plastron attachment, sculptured shell surface and wide entoplastron. These new discoveries add significantly to the still poorly known turtle fauna from the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous of SE Asia and provide important information about the origin and early evolution of modern cryptodiran turtles.

Haiyan Tong, Julien Claude, Wilailuck Naksri, Varavudh Suteethorn, Eric Buffetaut, Sasidhorn Khansubha, Kamonrak Wongko and Phisit Yuangdetkla. 2009.  Basilochelys macrobios n. gen. and n. sp., A Large Cryptodiran Turtle from the Phu Kradung Formation (latest Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous) of the Khorat Plateau, NE Thailand. In: Buffetaut, E.; Cuny, G.; Le Loeuff, J. & Suteethorn, V. (eds.). Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Ecosystems in SE Asia. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 315: 229-243.  DOI: 10.1144/SP315.12

เต่าทรงพระเจริญ Basilochelys macrobios n. gen. and n. sp., a large cryptodiran turtle from the Phu Kradung Formation ซึ่งผู้ศึกษาตั้งใจให้ชื่อเพื่อ เฉลิมพระเกียรติพระบาทสมเด็จพระปรมินทรมหาภูมิพลอดุลยเดช ในวโรกาสมหามงคล เฉลิมพระชนพรรษา 80 พรรษา
ต้นตระกูลเต่าน้ำจืดชนิดใหม่โลก อายุ150ล้านปี แถมพบกระดูกไดโนเสาร์"ซอโรพอด"สมบูรณ์สุดในโลก

       อธิบดีกรมทรัพยากรธรณี ยังเปิดเผยถึงการค้นพบฟอสซิลของสัตว์โบราณหลายชนิดกระจายอยู่ตามผิวหน้าหินเนินเขาเล็กๆ ประกอบไปด้วย ฟอสซิลจระเข้ ปลาเลปิโดเทส กระดูกไดโนเสาร์ และฟอสซิลเต่าขนาดใหญ่คู่หนึ่งอยู่ใกล้ๆกัน แหล่งฟอสซิลเต่ายักษ์คู่อยู่ในพื้นที่บ้านคำพอก อ.หนองสูง จ.มุกดาหาร ขนาดของเต่าตัวที่ 1 ยาว 96 ซม. ตัวที่ 2 ยาว 90 ซม. กว้าง 80 ซม.โดยคณะผู้วิจัยไทย-ฝรั่งเศล นำโดย ดร.ไฮยั่น ตง ได้ทำการอนุรักษ์ตัวอย่างเต่า และศึกษาวิจัยรายละเอียดจนพบลักษณะของหัวกะโหลก กระดองหลัง กระดองท้อง กระดูกคอ กระดูกสันหลัง กระดูกซี่โครง กระดูกขาหน้า และขาหลังที่ชัดเจนระบุว่าเป็นเต่าชนิดใหม่ สกุลใหม่ จึงได้ส่งพิมพ์ในวารสาร Geological Society, London, Special Publications ในปี 2552 โดยตั้งชื่อว่า "Basilochelys macrobios” เพื่อเฉลิมพระเกียรติพระบาทสมเด็จพระปรมินทรมหาภูมิพลอดุลยเดช ในวโรกาสมหามงคลเฉลิมพระชนมพรรษา 80 พรรษา โดยชื่อเป็นภาษากรีก มีความหมายว่า "ขอให้พระมหากษัตริย์ไทยทรงมีพระชนมายุยิ่งยืนนาน”

[Botany • 2016] Strongylodon juangonzalezii • A Remarkable New Species of Strongylodon (Fabaceae) from Mulanay, Quezon Province, Philippines

Strongylodon juangonzalezii  
Hadsall, Alejado & Cajano  


A new speciesStrongylodon juangonzalezii Hadsall, Alejado & Cajano, collected from Buenavista Protected Landscape, Mulanay, Quezon, is hereby described. The new species is remarkable for its plagiotropic dense inflorescence made up of 27–31 flowers per cluster in a lateral branch. Flowers are lilac when young, then gradually turn blue when mature. A comparison of the morphology of S. juangonzalezii and related species of Strongylodon in the Philippines is provided. Detailed illustration based on the holotype and photos from its natural habitat are also included. With this new species, the Philippines now harbors eight endemic species of Strongylodon. A key to distinguish the species is provided.

Keywords: Mulanay, Fabaceae, Quezon, Philippines, Strongylodon

Figure 4. Strongylodon juangonzalezii sp. nov.
inflorescence B inflorescence showing point of attachment C opened pod to show seeds D young pod E mature seeds from the wild.
Photographs by Mary Ann O. Cajano (deceased 6 December 2015) and Michelle DR. Alejado. 

Diagnosis: Strongylodon juangonzalezii a habens inflorescentiae racemi spicae densi plagiotropici, lilacinus cum iuvenibus et caerulei cum maturibus, et cum brachyblastae cylindricae et magis quam tres flores in congeners differt.

Strongylodon juangonzalezii differs from other species of Strongylodon in having dense plagiotropic raceme inflorescence with flowers that are lilac when young and turn blue when mature, and with brachyblasts that are cylindrical and more than 3 flowered.

Figure 2. Strongylodon juangonzalezii sp. nov.
A growth habit, inset shows the distinct middle and lateral stipules B portion of a flowering branch C Detached flower D dissected flower E calyx F androecium and anther G intact pod H pod opened to show the seeds I seeds, front and side view J brachyblast. 

Etymology: This new species is named after Dr. Juan Carlos Tecson Gonzalez, current director UPLB-MNH, professor of zoology, one of the Philippines ten outstanding young scientists in 2011, a passionate conservationist and ornithologist.

Distribution: So far only two thriving lianas of this species are known from Buenavista Protected Landscape, Mulanay, Quezon Province where it was collected.

Habitat and ecology: This liana thrives in a disturbed secondary growth forest climbing atop a large tree at an altitude of 295 m. The area is adjacent to an old coconut plantation.

Phenology: Flowering and fruiting from February to mid-March.

Annalee S. Hadsall, Michelle D.R. Alejado, Ariel R. Larona and Ivy Amor F. Lambio. 2016. Strongylodon juangonzalezii, A Remarkable New Species of Strongylodon (Fabaceae) from Mulanay, Quezon Province, Philippines.   PhytoKeys. 73: 1-12. DOI:  10.3897/phytokeys.73.10055

[Arachnida • 2016] Spider Diversity and Endemism in A South American Hotspot: 20 New Species of Carapoia (Araneae: Pholcidae) from Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

Carapoia patafina 
Huber, 2016


The Atlantic Forest along the eastern South American coast is widely recognized as a hotspot with extreme levels of diversity, endemism, and threat. A megatransect study (2003–2015) focusing on pholcid spiders and covering 48 localities across a large part of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest resulted in 132 morphospecies, of which 81% were new to science. The present paper deals with the species of Carapoia González-Sponga, 1998 collected during this campaign. The endemism level is 100%, i.e. all 26 species of Carapoia in the Atlantic Forest are not known from (and not likely to occur) anywhere else. While few species (all of them with non-overlapping ranges) occur in the most southern and northern regions, the central region (between Rio Doce and Rio Paraguaçu; largely equivalent to what has been called the ‘Bahia refuge’) is characterized by high diversity and up to five species per locality. The following species are newly described (from South to North): Carapoia voltavelha (Santa Catarina); C. macacu, C. divisa (Rio de Janeiro); C. nairae, C. capixaba, C. mirim, C. patafina (Espírito Santo); C. pau, C. gracilis, C. zumbii, C. dandarae, C. marceloi, C. viridis, C. jiboia, C. carvalhoi, C. carybei (Bahia); C. alagoas (Alagoas); C. saltinho, C. abdita (Pernambuco); C. septentrionalis (Pernambuco to Rio Grande do Norte). New records and amendments are given for most previously described Atlantic Forest species.

Keywords: Araneae, Atlantic Forest, Brazil, Carapoia, taxonomy, distribution ranges, endemism

Bernhard A. Huber. 2016. Spider Diversity and Endemism in A South American Hotspot: 20 New Species of Carapoia (Araneae: Pholcidae) from Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Zootaxa. 4177(1); 1-69. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4177.1.1

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2007] Lutjanus alexandrei • A New Species of Snapper (Perciformes: Lutjanidae) from Brazil, with Comments on the Distribution of Lutjanus griseus and L. apodus

Lutjanus alexandrei
 Moura & Lindeman, 2007 

Snappers of the family Lutjanidae contain several of the most important reef-fishery species in the tropical western Atlantic. Despite their importance, substantial gaps exist for both systematic and ecological information, especially for the southwestern Atlantic. Recent collecting efforts along the coast of Brazil have resulted in the discovery of many new reef-fish species, including commercially important parrotfishes (Scaridae) and grunts (Haemulidae). Based on field collecting, museum specimens, and literature records, we describe a new species of snapper, Lutjanus alexandrei, which is apparently endemic to the Brazilian coast. The newly settled and early juvenile life stages are also described. This species is common in many Brazilian reef and coastal estuarine systems where it has been often misidentified as the gray snapper, Lutjanus griseus, or the schoolmaster, L. apodus. Identification of the new species cast doubt on prior distributional assumptions about the southern ranges of L. griseus and L. apodus, and subsequent field and museum work confirmed that those species are not reliably recorded in Brazil. The taxonomic status of two Brazilian species previously referred to LutjanusBodianus aya and Genyoroge canina, is reviewed to determine the number of valid Lutjanus species occurring in Brazil. Twelve species of Lutjanus are now recognized in the western Atlantic, eight of which occur in Brazil (one endemic). A key for the identification of all western Atlantic Lutjanus species and their known distributional ranges is also provided.

Key words: Lutjanus alexandrei new species; snappers; biogeography; Brazil

FIGURE 2. Underwater photograph of Lutjanus alexandrei. Parcel das Paredes (17°53’54”S, 38°57’13”W), Abrolhos Bank, Bahia, Brazil (R.L. Moura).

 FIGURE 3. Early juvenile individual of Lutjanus alexandrei, 27 mm SL, collected in the mouth of Rio Mamucabas, Tamandaré (08°49'S, 035°05'W), State of Pernambuco, Brazil, 1 m depth (Beatrice P. Ferreira & Sérgio Resende, 18 February 2005).

Etymology. The specific name honors the pioneer Brazilian naturalist Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira (1756–1815), whose many years of field work in Brazil during the late 18th Century remain underrecognized due to the confiscation of his and others’ collections at Lisbon’s Museu da Ajuda in 1808 (Oliveira & Daly 2001). Ferreira collected many specimens that were ultimately described as new without any reference to his efforts. The common name Brazilian snapper is proposed for L. alexandrei.

Distribution, ecology and behavior. The Brazilian snapper, Lutjanus alexandrei is only recorded from the tropical portion of the southwestern Atlantic continental shelf, and has a narrower latitudinal range than other Western Atlantic species of Lutjanus. It is known from the state of Maranhão (00°52’S) to the southern coast of the state of Bahia (18°0’S), Brazil, in areas under the influence of the west-flowing Equatorial Current (northern Brazil) and the south-flowing Brazil Current (northeastern Brazil). It is apparently absent from oceanic islands. Additional collections may show an even broader distributional range for this species, as was the case with 48 other poorly known reef-fish species in the southwestern Atlantic (Moura et al. 1999).

Habitats of the Brazilian snapper include coral reefs, rocky shores, coastal lagoons with brackish water, mangroves and other shallow habitats with a mixture of soft- and hard-bottom. Recorded depths range from intertidal (early stages only) to at least 54 m (Feitoza et al. 2005 — identified as L. apodus). During the day, adults of Lalexandrei were observed on reefs as solitary individuals or in small groups showing restricted activity. Adults can co-occur with L. jocu (see figure on page 40 in MMA 2002, several L. alexandrei were misidentified as L. jocu). These mixed groups are often composed of large (> 20 cm), probably adult, individuals. Similar to several other Lutjanus species, this species appears to be active predominantly during crepuscular and nocturnal periods. Juveniles smaller than 10 cm SL can be common in mangroves and rocky tidepools, sometimes together with L. jocu juveniles, and may also occur in other shallow habitats. Based on available information, early juvenile stages of L. alexandrei are uncommon or rare in deeper, offshore reef habitats, as in many congeners (Lindeman et al. 1998, Lindeman & DeMaria 2005).

Rodrigo L. Moura and Kenyon C. Lindeman. 2007. A New Species of Snapper (Perciformes: Lutjanidae) from Brazil, with Comments on the Distribution of Lutjanus griseus and L. apodus.  Zootaxa. 1422: 31–43.

[Botany • 2016] Hanguana thailandica • A New Peat Swamp Forest Species (Hanguanaceae) from Thailand

Hanguana thailandica 
Wijedasa & Niissalo 


A new species of Hanguana (Hanguanaceae), Hanguana thailandica, is described and illustrated from Trang province, Peninsular Thailand. This is the second Hanguana species recorded in Thailand, along with the widespread helophytic H. malayana. The species is morphologically similar to Hanguana exultans and H. nitens found in swamp forests habitats in southern Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. The conservation status of this species is accessed as Endangered according to the IUCN Red List Category and Criteria.

Keywords: Commelinales, IUCN, Peat swamp forest, Peninsular Thailand, Trang, Monocots

FIGURE 1. Hanguana thailandica. a. Habitat, b. habitat, c. close up of fruiting specimen; d. infructescence.

Scale bar = 2 mm.  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.280.2.10 

Hanguana thailandica Wijedasa & Niissalo, sp. nov.  

Type:—THAILAND. Trang: Peninsular Botanical Garden (Thungkhai), peat swamp forest, beside boardwalk, 15 May 2013. Wijedasa, Chamchumroom, Pudjaa & Thaweechock VC5771 (Holotype: BKF! [barcode SN204335]; Isotype: BKF!).

Diagnosis:— The new species is similar to H. exultans, but differs by having larger inflorescences up to 80 cm (not up to 60 cm) and the inflorescence branches arranged in a horizontal angle (not ascending), and stigmatic lobes ca. 1.5 mm (not 1.2 mm) long, very narrowly lanceolate (not rounded) in shape and raised from the gynoecium (not adpressed to it). 

Ecology, distribution and conservation:— Evergreen primary peat swamp forest in the Peninsular Botanical Garden in Thung Khai. 80-90% canopy cover. The soil is made up of peat (i.e. >65% organic matter by weight) with a thick leaf litter layer. The water level was a few centimeters below surface. The plants were scattered in different parts of the peat swamp where they were locally common.

This species is only known from the Peninsular Botanical Garden, where is under protection. The lack of botanical surveys in swamps of the Peninsular Thailand region makes it difficult to assign the IUCN conservation status (2012). We estimate the number of individuals to be about 100. Based on the currently known range, the extent of occurrence (EOO) of this species is less than 5, with only one known locality, which is under protection as it is within the Peninsular Botanical Garden. The conservation status of the species is assessed to be Endangered (EN D) based on the very small, restricted population of less than 250 individuals.

The species is currently only known from peat swamp forest habitats which are understood and still undergoing rapid deforestation (Posa et al. 2010, Wijedasa et al. 2012, Chisholm et al. 2016). More botanical work in this habitat is needed to help understand and conserve the unique flora in these habitats.

Etymology:— The specific epithet ‘thailandica’ is derived from Thailand, where this species was collected and it is the first new species of Hanguana found in Thailand.

Lahiru S. Wijedasa, Matti A. Niissalo, Voradol Chamchumroon,  Pachok Puudjaa, Thaveechok Jumruschay and Peter C. Boyce. 2016.
Hanguana thailandica (Hanguanaceae): A New Peat Swamp Forest Species from Thailand.
 Phytotaxa. 280(2); 195–199. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.280.2.10

[Ichthyology • 2014] Siganus insomnis • A New Species of Rabbitfish (Perciformes: Siganidae) from southern India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Siganus insomnis 
Woodland & Anderson, 2014


Siganus insomnis sp. nov. is described from the Maldives, Sri Lanka and southern India. It most closely resembles S. lineatus (Valenciennes) from the Western Pacific but differs in coloration, principally in that most if not all of the bronze bands on its mid and upper sides continue horizontally and unbroken through to the nape and opercular slit. By contrast, in S. lineatus, typically the anterior area below the spinous dorsal fin down to the mid-sides is irregularly marked with golden bronze spots, commas, or a maze of contorted lines. S. guttatus (Bloch) is the third member of this group of sibling species; its sides are covered with orange to bronze-gold spots. It is distributed throughout S.E. Asia, i.e., it occupies a geographic position between the areas inhabited by S. lineatus and S. insomnis. Thus the gene pools of S. lineatus and S. insomnis are quarantined from one another by distance and the intervening presence of S. guttatus in S.E. Asia. The geographical separation of the populations of S. lineatus and S. insomnis from one another is reinforced by the absence of suitable, coralline habitats for these species in the western half of the Bay of Bengal.

Keywords: Siganidae, rabbitfish, Siganus insomnis sp. nov., Siganus lineatus, Siganus guttatus, systematics, biology

FIGURE 5. Siganus insomnis, subadults, ca. 15–20 cm SL, Horubadhoo I. (= Royal I.), Baa Atoll, Maldives.

  Photo: Dieter Grage.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3811.1.8

Siganus insomnis Woodland & Anderson, 2014
Bronze-lined Rabbitfish. 

Local names: ori, (thammas at Addu Atoll), Maldives; oora (Tamil), leella (Sinhalese), Sri Lanka. These local names may also be used to refer to other species of Siganus.

Diagnosis. A deep-bodied species of Siganus which differs from all other siganids in that the whole of the sides of the body with the possible exception of the belly and a narrow strip adjacent to the base of the spinous dorsal fin (where a row of bronze spots may occur) are decorated with horizontal, parallel bronze bands extending the full length of the sides from nape and opercular slit back to and below the large yellow spot below the base of the soft dorsal fin. The majority of these lines on the sides are complete (i.e., uninterrupted) along their length.

FIGURE 6. Siganus insomnis, large adults, ca. 35 cm SL, Komandoo I., Lhavyani Atoll, Maldives. 
  Photo: Dieter Grage.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3811.1.8 

Etymology. We chose the specific epithet insomnis (Latin, sleep-less) to allude to the nocturnal activity of this fish. It is an adjective agreeing in gender with Siganus (masculine).

Woodland, David J. and R. C. Anderson. 2014. Description of A New Species of Rabbitfish (Perciformes: Siganidae) from southern India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Zootaxa. 3811(1); 129–136.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3811.1.8

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

[Herpetology • 2009] Batagur affinis edwardmolli • A New Subspecies of Batagur affinis (Cantor, 1847) (Testudines: Geoemydidae), One of the World’s Most Critically Endangered Chelonians

Batagur affinis affinis (Cantor, 1847) ||  เต่ากระอาน, River Terrapin
Batagur affinis edwardmolli Praschag, Holloway, Georges, Päckert, Hundsdörfer & Fritz, 2009
|| เต่ากระอานเขมร, Cambodian River Terrapin

 (c) west coast form of B. affinis, male, Klong La-ngu River, Satun Province, Thailand – photo: B. Horne; (d) west coast form of B. affinis, female, Perak River, Malaysia – photo: E.O. Moll;
(e) east coast form of B. affinis, male, Dungun River, Malaysia – photo: E.H. Chan; (f) east coast form of Baffinis, female, Terengganu River, Malaysia – photo: E.O. Moll; (g) Cambodian Batagur male, Sre Ambel River system, Cambodia – photo: R. Holloway; (h) Cambodian Batagur female, Sre Ambel River system, Cambodia – photo: B. Horne.
 Note differences in head shape, soft part and iris coloration.

Estuarine Batagur are among the most critically endangered chelonian species. We assess the taxonomic status of the recently discovered Cambodian relic population of Batagur by phylogenetic analyses of three mitochondrial (2096 bp) and three nuclear DNA fragments (1909 bp) using sequences from all other Batagur species and selected allied geoemydids. Furthermore, we calculated haplotype networks of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene for Cambodian terrapins, B. affinisBbaska, and B. kachuga and compare external morphology of estuarine Batagur populations. Genetically, Cambodian Batagur are closely related with, but distinct from B. affinis from Sumatra and the west coast of the Malay Peninsula. Morphologically, Cambodian Batagur resemble the distinctive B. affinis populations from the eastern Malay Peninsula that were not available for genetic study. We suggest that the Batagur populations from the eastern Malay Peninsula and Cambodia represent a new subspecies of B. affinis that once was distributed in estuaries surrounding the Gulf of Thailand (Batagur affinis edwardmolli subsp. nov.). Its patchy extant distribution is most probably the result of large-scale habitat alteration and century-long overexploitation. In addition, our phylogenetic analyses suggest repeated switches between riverine and estuarine habitats during the evolution of the extant Batagur species.

Key words: Southeast Asia, South Asia, Batagur affinis affinisBatagur affinis edwardmolli subsp. nov., Batagur baskaBatagur kachuga, endangered species

Batagur affinis edwardmolli

Etymology. The new subspecies is named in recognition of Professor Edward O. Moll, one of the foremost experts on river turtles, who substantially contributed to the knowledge of Batagur affinis and its natural history.

Diagnosis. Adults differ from nominotypical subspecies of Batagur affinis by their distinctly more
elongated head with upturned snout; males with chocolate brown to almost black head (east coast of peninsular Malaysia) or sometimes rusty brown to reddish head (Sre Ambel River system, Cambodia), edges of mouth orange; iris golden or bright yellow. Females and juveniles with conspicuous whitish grey to silvery blotches in temporal and parietal region; hatchlings with distally yellow marginal scutes. For corresponding characters of B. a. affinis, see Table 2.

 Description of holotype. Specimen slightly macerated; some epidermal scutes detached from shell. Carapace roundish when viewed from above, with weakly serrated central and posterior marginal scutes; medial keel distinct, with posteriorly directed, slightly pointed spines. Plastron anteriorly truncated, posteriorly with anal notch. Straight line carapace length approximately 86 mm, carapace width 84 mm; medial plastron length 74 mm, maximum plastron length (to tips of anal scutes) 78 mm. 

Range: East coast of peninsular Malaysia and adjacent Thailand; Sre Ambel River system, Cambodia (Fig. 5).

FIGURE 3. (aBatagur baska, male, Sundarbans, Bangladesh – photo: S.M.A. Rashid; (bB. baska, semiadult female (the pointed, upturned snout develops only with increasing age), Sundarbans, Bangladesh – photo: P. Praschag;
 (c) west coast form of B. affinis, male, Klong La-ngu River, Satun Province, Thailand – photo: B. Horne; (d) west coast form of B. affinis, female, Perak River, Malaysia – photo: E.O. Moll;
 (e) east coast form of B. affinis, male, Dungun River, Malaysia – photo: E.H. Chan; (f) east coast form of Baffinis, female, Terengganu River, Malaysia – photo: E.O. Moll;
 (g) Cambodian Batagur male, Sre Ambel River system, Cambodia – photo: R. Holloway; (h) Cambodian Batagur female, Sre Ambel River system, Cambodia – photo: B. Horne.
 Note differences in head shape, soft part and iris coloration.

Peter Praschag, Rohan Holloway, Arthur Georges, Martin Päckert, Anna K. Hundsdörfer and Uwe Fritz. 2009. A New Subspecies of Batagur affinis (Cantor, 1847), One of the World’s Most Critically Endangered Chelonians (Testudines: Geoemydidae). Zootaxa. 2233: 57–68. 

[PaleoIchthyology • 2016] Bothriolepis rex • A New Large-bodied Species of Bothriolepis (Antiarchi) from the Upper Devonian of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada

Bothriolepis rex 
 Downs, Daeschler, Garcia & Shubin, 2016 

New material from the Upper Devonian (Frasnian) Nordstrand Point Formation of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, represents the largest known species of antiarch and the first described from the Nordstrand Point Formation. Bothriolepis rex, sp. nov., is additionally remarkable for the thickness and compactness of its dermal skeletal plates. The new species is diagnosed by a preorbital recess with a horizontal rostral margin; the presence of a wide unornamented border surrounding the infraorbital sensory line; central sensory lines that meet the margin of the nuchal close to the lateral corners; a supraotic thickening that does not extend caudal to a transverse crista of the nuchal; and a tall lateral lamina of the anterior dorsolateral. The thick and compact armor of Bothriolepis rex, sp. nov., recalls that of the co-occurring Perscheia pulla and gives occasion to a physical and ecological review of dermal skeletal mass and density in large-bodied, bottom-dwelling organisms in nonmarine ecosystems during the Late Devonian.

Fossil bones from the skull of Bothriolepis rex and a line drawing of the head viewed from above. The large, thick bones create an armor with a single opening for the eyes. The mouth is on the lower surface of the skull, indicating a bottom-feeding lifestyle.
Photo by Valentina Garcia, drawing by Jason Downs. 


ANTIARCHI Cope, 1885

BOTHRIOLEPIS Eichwald, 1840

Bothriolepis sp. Elliott et al., 2004.

Holotype— NUFV 1192, nuchal plate (Fig. 3).

Etymology— From the Latin ‘rex,’ king, in reference to the large body size.

Type Locality and Horizon— NV2K11 site (N77 06.1630 W87 09.0640), Nordstrand Point Formation near Okse Bay on southern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada. Palynological data indicate a middle Frasnian age (Maclarenii zone of Embry and Klovan, 1976).

A rendition of what the Bothriolepis rex would have looked like in its natural habitat along with a comparison of its size to that of a T. rex and an average human being.
Art by Jason Poole/Academy of Natural Sciences. 

Jason P. Downs, Edward B. Daeschler, Valentina E. Garcia and Neil H. Shubin. 2016. A New Large-bodied Species of Bothriolepis (Antiarchi) from the Upper Devonian of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada.  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.  DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2016.1221833

A New ‘King’ — New, Gigantic, Ancient Armored Fish Discovered 


[Herpetology • 2016] Amolops albispinus • A New Species of Amolops (Anura: Ranidae) from southern China

Amolops albispinus 
 White-spined Cascade Frog  ||  Sung, Wang & Wang, 2016 

FIGURE 3. Dorsolateral view of adult male holotype SYS a003454 of Amolops albispinus sp. nov. in life; B: ventral view of the holotype in life; C: hand of the holotype in life; D: foot of the holotype in life.


A new speciesAmolops albispinus sp. nov. is described based on a series of specimens collected from Mt. Wutong, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China. The new species can be distinguished from other known congeners by molecular divergence in the mitochondrial COI and 16S rRNA gene and morphological characters including presence of white conical spines on the lips, loreal and temporal regions, excluding the tympanum; small body, SVL 36.7–42.4 mm in adult males and 43.1–51.9 mm in adult females; very rough dorsal skin of body with numerous raised large warts; olive-brown dorsum with dark brown blotches; strongly developed vomerine teeth; absence of vocal sacs; absence of tarsal glands; absence of dorsolateral folds; presence of circummarginals groove on the disk of first finger; and absence of outer metatarsal tubercles. At present, the genus Amolops contains 51 species, of which 23 occur in China.

Keywords: Amphibia, Amolops albispinus sp. nov., Anura, China, mitochondrial DNA, morphology, Ranidae

FIGURE 3. Dorsolateral view of adult male holotype SYS a003454 of Amolops albispinus sp. nov. in life; G: close-up of the head of the holotype in life.

Etymology. The specific name, albispinus, refers to the “white spines” on the upper and lower lips, and loreal and temporal regions, which are the diagnostic features of this new species. As an English common name we suggest “White-spined Cascade Frog”.

Distribution and ecology. Currently, Amolops albispinus sp. nov. is known from the type locality of Mt. Wutong, and from Mt. Paiya, which is 30 km from Mt. Wutong, in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, China. This species is common in Mt. Wutong throughout the year, whereas, it was observed to be rare in Mt. Paiya (only one specimen (SYS a002436) found). It inhabits low to mid-elevation (60–500 m) rocky, fast-flowing streams surrounding by moist subtropical secondary evergreen broadleaved forests.  

Sung, Yik-Hei, Ping Hu, Jian Wang, Hai-Jun Liu and Ying-Yong Wang. 2016. A New Species of Amolops (Anura: Ranidae) from southern China.
 Zootaxa. 4170(3); 525–538.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4170.3.6

[Cnidaria • 2016] Melithaea davidi • A New Species of Melithaea (Anthozoa, Octocorallia, Melithaeidae) from the Oman Sea, off Oman

Melithaea davidi  
 Samimi-Namin, Ofwegen & McFadden, 2016

Melithaea davidi   Samimi-Namin, Ofwegen & McFadden, 2016

Figure 7.
Underwater photographs at 79 m depth; Figure 3. Colonies of Melithaea davidi sp. n.;
A holotype, RMNH Coel. 42122 B paratype, RMNH Coel. 42124.

A new species, Melithaea davidi sp. n., is described from the eastern coast of Oman, Oman Sea, in the northwestern Indian Ocean, where it differs from its congeners in lacking capstans and having predominantly spindles in the coenenchyme. A molecular phylogenetic analysis of mtMutS and 28S rDNA genes suggests that it is genetically distinct from similar species in the Red Sea. Furthermore, a species previously reported as Acabaria sp. from the Arabian Sea is now identified as Melithaea mabahissi (Hickson, 1940).

Keywords: Persian Gulf, octocorals, Indian Ocean, Middle East, northwest Indian Ocean

Class Anthozoa Ehrenberg, 1831
Subclass Octocorallia Haeckel, 1866
Order Alcyonacea Lamouroux, 1812

Family Melithaeidae Gray, 1870
Subfamily Melithaeinae Alderslade, 2006

Genus Melithaea Milne Edwards, 1857

Diagnosis: Colonies with segmented axis, and swollen nodes and straight internodes containing cigar-shaped sclerites. Densely branched in one or more planes, forming large fans or forming bushes. Sclerites of coenenchymal surface are spindles, thorn-clubs, double discs, leaf clubs, and foliate spheroids. Polyps monomorphic, small and retractile. Calyces can be low or tall. Polyps contain spindle-like and club-like forms arranged as collaret and points, with dragon wing sclerites (flattened, more or less twisted, boomerang-shaped platelets commonly with the convex edge serrated near the wider end; present in the proximal part of tentacles/see Grasshoff 1999, 2000) in the tentacles. The colonies can be yellow, orange, red, dark purple, pink, and white. Axes are usually coloured, often red. Azooxanthellate.

Melithaea davidi sp. n.

Material examined: Holotype: RMNH Coel. 42122, Oman, Oman Sea, 23.654267°N 58.629567°E, 79 m deep on a ship wreck, Robert’s barge, coll. David Mothershaw and Robin Norman, 19 July 2013. Paratypes: RMNH Coel. 42123, RMNH Coel. 42124, same data as holotype.

Description: The holotype is branching dichotomously in several parallel planes, forming a network with many anastomoses. It is 12 cm high and 9 cm wide (Figure 3). The nodes are larger and more swollen in the basal parts of the colony. Many branches are covered with tiny white ophiuroids.

Etymology: The species is named after David Mothershaw who collected the specimens.


The species resembles Melithaea biserialis (Kükenthal, 1908) and M. sinaica Grasshoff, 2000, both described from the nearby Red Sea. M. biserialis and M. sinaica both have more tuberculate sclerites and, additionally, capstans that are not present at all in M. davidi. The species also resembles Acabaria spec. indet. 2 Ofwegen (1987) from West India. However, that species also has capstans that are absent in M. davidi.

Acabaria indet. 2 Ofwegen (1987) might represent a new species, however, the material is not sufficient for describing a new species.

Acabaria mabahissi Hickson, 1940, off Cape Guardafui, Gulf of Aden, and the Arabian Sea is the same as Acabaria spec. indet. 1 (Ofwegen 1987) from Somalia and Kenya.

Discussion: Reijnen et al. (2014) observed that melithaeid species appear to be grouped phylogenetically by geographical region, suggesting high regional endemicity in this family. Our re-analysis of their mtMutS and 28S sequence data reflects this pattern, with species from the western Indo-Pacific (Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Palau, etc.), east and south African coasts (Tanzania, South Africa), northern and western Indian Oceans (Seychelles, Maldives), and the Red Sea separated into distinct well-supported clades (Figure 2). Therefore, the likelihood of species having wide geographical ranges is low, and consequently we did not compare the new species with similar-looking species occurring in other geographical regions. The molecular phylogenetic analysis suggests that M. davidi is closely related to but distinct from several other species found in the Red Sea region for which we had sequence data for comparison. Although we did not have sequence data for Melithaea biserialis or Acabaria spec. indet. 2 reported by Ofwegen (1987), morphological differences support the distinction of those species from M. davidi.

 Kaveh Samimi-Namin, Leen P. van Ofwegen and Catherine S. McFadden. 2016. A New Species of Melithaea (Anthozoa, Octocorallia, Melithaeidae) from the Oman Sea, off Oman.
 ZooKeys. 623; 15-29. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.623.10045

Saturday, October 15, 2016

[Botany • 2016] Paraboea crassifila • A New Species of Paraboea (Gesneriaceae) from Danxia landform in Guangxi, China

    Paraboea crassifila 
 W.B. Xu & J. Guo 

    Paraboea crassifila, a new species of Gesneriaceae from Danxia landform in Guangxi, China is described and illustrated, based on morphological and anatomical features. Paraboea crassifila sp. nov. is reported firstly from Danxia landform in China, with the special feature of enlarged filaments differing from the others of Paraboea distributed in China. Paraboea crassifila is similar to Paraboea guilinensis L. Xu & Y.G. Wei in the habit, but it can be distinguished by the obovate to narrowly obovate leaf blade, the peduncle and calyx covered with ferrugineous matted indumentums, the corolla arachnoid outside, the enlarged filaments, and 3 staminodes.

 Keyword:     Danxia landform, Gesneriaceae, new species, taxonomy

Fig 2.   Paraboea crassifila. A: Habit. B: Flowers face view. C: Flowers side view.   

Paraboea crassifila is similar to Paraboea guilinensis L. Xu & Y.G. Wei in the habit, but it can be distinguished by the leaf blade obovate, narrowly obovate, rare oblong (vs. obovate-elliptic or elliptic), peduncles 7–12.5 cm long, covered with ferrugineous matted indumentums (vs. 3.5–6.5 cm long, glabrous), calyx with ferrugineous matted indumentum outside (vs. glabrous), corolla arachnoid outside (vs. glabrous), filaments 6–8 mm long, enlarged (vs. 4.5–5 mm long, geniculate near middle), staminodes 3 (vs. 2).

Distribution and habitat: Paraboea crassifila is only found from type locality (Fig 3), and only four populations have so far been identified by us during field investigations in 2015. Paraboea crassifila grows on rock faces of Danxia landform, at an elevation between 130 and 280 m.

Phenology: Flowering from March to April, and fruiting May to June.

Etymology: The specific epithet 'crassifila' is derived from the enlarged filaments.

Notes: The special feature of Paraboea crassifila is the enlarged filaments (Fig. 2 D and E; Fig. 3 G and H), which is reported firstly from the genus of Paraboea in China. Paraboea crassifila is similar to Paraboea guilinensis L. Xu & Y.G. Wei in the habit, but it is easily distinguished from the latter by some characters. A detailed morphological comparison of the two species is shown in Table 1.

    Jing Guo, Zhao-Cen Lu, Jing Liu and Wei-Bin Xu. 2016. Paraboea crassifila, A New Species of Paraboea (Gesneriaceae) from Danxia landform in Guangxi, China.
Taiwania. 61(1)

[Fungi • 2016] Mycorrhaphoides stalpersii • Morphology and Phylogeny reveal A Novel Hydnoid Taxon from India

Mycorrhaphoides  Hembrom, K. Das & Hallenb.
Mycorrhaphoides stalpersii Hembrom, Nilsson, A. Parihar, K. Das, A. Baghela & S.K. Singh 

  DOI: 10.1111/njb.01256 


Mycorrhaphoides gen. nov. and Mycorrhaphoides stalpersii sp. nov. are described and defined based on morphological details and phylogenetic inference of a hydnoid macrofungus collected in Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah (India). It is characterized by stipitate basidiomata with duplex context in stipe, presence of multi-clamped septa, and smooth and hyaline cystidia.

Figure 3. Mycorrhaphoides stalpersii (KMA 15-45).
(A) habitat, (B) – (C) habit showing stipitate and imbricate basidiomata, (D) zonate pilear surface towards margin,  (E) context and spine, (F) smoky grey margin on bruising, (G) duplex context of stipe.
Scale bar: E 5 mm.    DOI: 10.1111/njb.01256 

Mycorrhaphoides Hembrom, K. Das & Hallenb. gen. nov.
 MycoBank: 816805. 

Type: Mycorrhaphoides stalpersii Hembrom, Nilsson, A. Parihar, K. Das, A. Baghela & S.K. Singh.

Etymology:  The genus name is motivated by the fact that the new genus shares some similarities with Mycorrhaphium, another hydnoid genus.

Mycorrhaphoides stalpersii Hembrom, Nilsson, A. Parihar, K. Das, A. Baghela & S.K. Singh sp. nov. (Fig. 3 – 7)
 MycoBank: MB 816806.

Type: India; West Bengal, Howrah, AJCBIBG, near bicentenary gate, 22 ° 33 ′ 49.6 ″ N, 88 ° 17 ′18.5 ″ E, 13 m a.s.l., on base of living tree trunk of Tamarindus indica L., 24 Oct 2015, K. Das, M.E. Hembrom & Parihar, KMA-15-45 (holotype: CAL, isotype: AMH).

Etymology:  The species name is chosen to commemorate Dr. Joost A. Stalpers for his contribution to hydnoid mycology. 

M. E. Hembrom, Kanad Das, R. Henrik Nilsson, Arvind Parihar, Abhishek Baghela, Nikita Mehta, S. K. Singh and Nils Hallenberg. 2016. Morphology and Phylogeny reveal A Novel Hydnoid Taxon from India: Mycorrhaphoides stalpersii gen. and sp. nov. Nordic Journal of Botany.   DOI: 10.1111/njb.01256