Sunday, April 19, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Gekko kwangsiensis • A New Species of the Genus Gekko Laurenti (Squamata: Sauria: Gekkonidae) from Guangxi, China

Gekko kwangsiensis Yang, 2015


A new species of the genus Gekko is described on the basis of six specimens from Wuming county of Guangxi, southern China. Gekko kwangsiensis sp. nov. is distinguished from other congeners by a combination of the following characters: body relatively small (SVL 64.2–69.7 mm in adults), slender; nares in contact with rostral; internasal absent or single; postmentals two (rarely three), enlarged; interorbital scales between anterior corners of the eyes 29–31; dorsal tubercle rows 9–11; ventral scales between mental and cloacal slit 185–208; midbody scale rows 143–156; ventral scale rows 41–45; subdigital lamellae on first toe 11–13, on fourth toe 13–18; finger and toe webbing weakly developed; tubercles absent on upper surface of fore limbs and hind limbs; precloacal pores nine or ten in males, absent in females; postcloacal tubercle single; tubercles present on dorsal surface of tail base; subcaudals enlarged; dorsal surface of body with 9 or 10 thin light bands between nape and sacrum, and dorsal surface of tail with remarkable black and white bands. Data on the natural history of the new species are provided, and the number of species in the genus Gekko recorded from China is now 17.

Keywords: Gekko, taxonomy, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

 Jian-Huan Yang. 2015. A New Species of the Genus Gekko Laurenti (Squamata: Sauria: Gekkonidae) from Guangxi, China.
Zootaxa. 3936(2):287–295. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3936.2.9

[Herpetology • 2015] Cnemaspis adii • A New Species of Cnemaspis (Sauria: Gekkonidae) from northern Karnataka, India

 Cnemaspis adii 
Srinivasulu, Kumar & Srinivasulu, 2015


A new species of rupicolous gecko of the genus Cnemaspis is described from Hampi, Karnataka, southern India. Cnemaspis adii sp. nov. is diagnosable from all the Indian congeners in possessing the following suite of characters: medium-sized Cnemaspis, SVL less than 35 mm (31.7–34.9). Dorsal scales on the trunk homogeneous, small, granular and feebly keeled. Spine-like tubercles absent on the flanks. Mental subtraingular, two pairs of postmentals, primary pair separated by a single chin shield. Ventral scales on the trunk smooth, imbricate; 22–26 scales across the belly. Supralabial I narrowly in contact with nasal. Dorsal aspect of forelimbs and hindlimbs are weakly unicarinate. Lamellae under the digit IV of pes 20–22. Males with two precloacal pores, two femoral pores on each side of the thigh. The existence of the species in a World Heritage Site with continuous anthropogenic interference ascertains the robustness of the species and need for additional herpetofaunal explorations to reveal the total diversity of species of the genus Cnemaspis in peninsular India.

Keywords: Cnemaspis, description, Hampi, Gekkonidae, Karnataka, India

Srinivasulu, Chelmala, Gandla C. Kumar & Bhargavi Srinivasulu. 2015. A New Species of Cnemaspis (Sauria: Gekkonidae) from Northern Karnataka, India.
Zootaxa. 3947(1): 85–98. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3947.1.5

Hyderabad researcher discovers new species of gecko, Cnemaspis adii, in ruins of Hampi in Karnataka
A new species of the day gecko, a type of lizard usually found in warm climates, has been spotted at the ruins of the World Heritage Site of Hampi in Karnataka. The gecko has been named Cnemaspis adii after a young herpetology researcher from Hyderabad, Aditya Srinivasulu.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

[Ichthyology • 2015] Taxonomy of Chain Danio, an Indo-Myanmar Species Assemblage (Teleostei: Cyprinidae), with Descriptions of Four New Species

Danio dangila is widely distributed in the Ganga and lower Brahmaputra basins of India, Nepal and Bangladesh and distinguished by the cleithral spot in the shape of a short vertical stripe (vs. a round spot in all similar species). Four new species are described, similar to D. dangila but with round cleithral spot and each diagnosed by species specific colour pattern. Danio assamila, new species, is reported from the upper and middle Brahmaputra drainage in India. Danio catenatus, new species, and D. concatenatus, new species, occur in rivers of the western slope of the Rakhine Yoma, Myanmar. Danio sysphigmatus, new species, occurs in the Sittaung drainage and small coastal drainages in southeastern Myanmar. Those five species, collectively referred to as chain danios, make up a distinctive group within Danio, diagnosed by elevated number of unbranched dorsal-fin rays, long rostral and maxillary barbels, complete lateral line, presence of a prominent cleithral spot, horizontal stripes modified into series of rings formed by vertical bars between horizontal dark stripes, and pectoral and pelvic fins each with the unbranched first ray prolonged and reaching well beyond the rest of the fin. Danio meghalayensis is resurrected from the synonymy of D. dangila, with D. deyi as a probable junior synonym. Danio meghalayensis has a colour pattern similar to that of chain danios with vertical bars bridging parallel horizontal stripes but usually predominantly stripes instead of series of rings, a smaller cleithral spot and shorter barbels, and the unbranched ray in the pectoral and pelvic fins is not prolonged. Danio meghalayensis is known only from the Brahmaputra drainage in Meghalaya, India. The geographical distribution of the chain danios represents a unique pattern for the region, and may be explained by different climate and river drainage systems during the latest glacial period.

Kullander, S.O. 2015. Taxonomy of Chain Danio, an Indo-Myanmar Species Assemblage, with Descriptions of Four New Species (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters. 25 (4): 357–380.

[Paleontology • 2015] Pelagic Neonatal Fossils support Viviparity and Precocial Life History of Cretaceous Mosasaurs

Figure 4. Clidastes liodontus giving live birth in an open pelagic setting ~85 million years ago,
 beneath the shadow of the toothed stem bird Ichthyornis.
Artist's interpretation of this study's principal conclusions || Illustration by Julius Csotonyi.

Mosasaurs were large marine squamates that inhabited all of the world's oceans during the Late Cretaceous. Their success as apex predators has been attributed to their rapid acquisition of aquatic adaptations, which allowed them to become fully pelagic. However, little is known about the breeding biology of derived, flipper-bearing mosasaurs, as the record of neonatal mosasaur fossils is extremely sparse. Here, we report on the fragmentary cranial remains of two neonatal mosasaurs from the Niobrara Formation, referred to Clidastes sp. Comparison with other preliminary reports of neonatal mosasaurs reveals that these specimens are among the smallest individuals ever found and certainly represent the smallest known Clidastes specimens. The recovery of these extremely young specimens from a pelagic setting indicates that even neonatal mosasaurs occupied open oceanic habitats and were likely born in this setting. These data shed new light on the ecology of neonatal mosasaurs and illustrate the degree to which size-related taphonomic and collection biases have influenced our understanding of the early life history of these iconic marine reptiles. 

Keywords: mosasaur; viviparity; Niobrara; marine reptile; life history

Figure 1. The smallest mosasaurid remains from the Niobrara Formation, previously misidentified as toothed stem birds.
, lateral and dorsal view of the left dentary of Clidastes, YPM VP.058125; lateral and dorsal view of the left dentary of Clidastes, YPM VP.058126. Scale bar represents 1 cm. B, size comparison of several of the smallest Clidastes dentaries from the Niobrara Formation, in lateral (left) and dorsal (right) views. Scale bar represents 1 cm. The newly discovered specimens reported here (YPM 058125, YPM 058126) are by far the smallest. C, comparison of maximum tooth diameters for juvenile Clidastes from the Niobrara chalk. The newly discovered specimens (YPM VP.058125, YPM VP.058126) represent the smallest mosasaurids known from the Niobrara Formation and are currently the youngest Clidastes specimens ever found. D, estimated body length of neonatal mosasaurs (YPM VP.058125 and YPM VP.058126) relative to an adult specimen of Clidastes liodontus. The adult is 3 m in length; the neonate is 0.66 m in length (see text).
Redrawn from Caldwell and Diedrich (2005, fig. 5) and Lindgren et al. (2011, fig. 12). Scale bar represents 1 m. Colour online. DOI: 10.1111/pala.12165

Daniel J. Field, Aaron LeBlanc, Adrienne Gau and Adam D. Behlke. 2015. Pelagic Neonatal Fossils support Viviparity and Precocial Life History of Cretaceous Mosasaurs. Palaeontology. DOI: 10.1111/pala.12165

Sunday, April 12, 2015

[Mammalogy • 2015] Macaca leucogenys | White-cheeked Macaque • A New Macaque Species from Modog, southeastern Tibet

A hairy-necked Macaca leucogenys youngster
Image: Mr. Cheng Li/Tibet Forestry

We describe a newly discovered Macaca species from the Modog, in southeastern Tibet, China, Macaca leucogenys sp. nov or the “White-cheeked Macaque”. Based on 738 photos taken during direct observations and captured by camera traps this new species appears to be distinct from the Macaca sinica species group. Moreover, the species is distinguished from all potential sympatric macaque species (M. mulatta, M. thibetana, M. assamensis, and M. munzala) in exhibiting a suite of pelage characteristics including relatively uniform dorsal hair pattern, hairy ventral pelage, relative hairless short tail, prominent pale to white side- and chin-whiskers creating a white cheek and round facial appearance, dark facial skin on the muzzle, long and thick hairs on its neck, and a round rather than arrow-shaped male genitalia. This new macaque species was found to exploit a diverse set of habitat types from tropical forest at 1395 m, to primary and secondary evergreen broad-leaved forest at 2000 m, as well as mixed broadleaf-conifer forest at 2700 m. Its range may extend to neighboring counties in Tibet and the part of southeastern Tibet controlled by India. The white-cheeked macaque is threatened by illegal hunting and the construction of hydropower stations. Discovery of this new primate species further highlights the high value for biodiversity conservation of southeastern Tibet and calls for more intensive surveys, studies, and environmental protection in this area. 

Keywords: new species; Macaca leucogenysM. thibetanaM. assamensisM. munzala; Southeastern Tibet


Southeastern Tibet (a part of this area is controlled by India called Arunachal) is a biodiversity-rich area located at the junction of the Eastern Himalaya and Indo-Burma region, a global biodiversity hotspot [Myers et al., 2000]. The area consists of a diverse series of ecosystems from alluvial grasslands and subtropical broadleaf forests to alpine meadows above the tree line at an altitudinal range of 150–6000 m above sea level. In China, the two macaque species present in this area have long been referred to as Macaca assamensis assamensis and M. mulatta [Mammals in Tibet, 1986]. Recently, Indian primatologists reported the existence of M. thibetana in this area [Kumar et al., 2005] and in 2005 described a new macaque species (M. munzala) in the Tawang and Kameng districts (Cuona County in China) [Chakraborty et al., 2007; Mishra & Sinha, 2008; Sinha et al., 2005]. In 2005, a dark macaque skin collected by R. Suresh Kumar was identified as M. thibetana [Kumar et al., 2005] despite the fact that the known range of M. thibetana is located more than 1000 km to the east (Fig. 1). The specimen was described as exhibiting fur that was “dark chocolate brown dorsally with a long thick pelage that extended over all the limbs, while the peripheral hairs, indicative of the ventral region of the body, were pale and whitish” [Kumar et al., 2005: 1387].

Figure 1. Map showing the rough distribution range of each species or subspecies of Macaca in southeast Tibet.

M. munzala is reported to be sympatric with M. assamensis pelops in Tawang and Kameng but usually lives in high altitude forests between 2000 and 3500 m above sea level [Sinha et al., 2005; Fig. 1]. Molecular analyses support M. munzala as a distinct species and indicate its close phylogenetic relationship with M. assamensis, M. thibetana, and M. radiata [Chakraborty et al., 2007]. Therefore, southeastern Tibet appears to represent a region of high macaque diversity, with possibly four species present [Kumar et al., 2005; Fig. 1]. However, recently Biswas et al. [2011] questioned the species status of M. munzala. These authors argued that macaques in this area show great diversity in tail length, pelage color, facial skin color, and facial and hair patterns, and therefore M. munzala could represent a subspecies of M. assamensis. Thus, the taxonomy of macaques in this region remains unclear.

In order to clarify the species status and diversity of macaques in Southeastern Tibet, in 2013 and 2014 we combined direct field observations and photographs obtained from camera traps to survey the macaque population in this region. Camera traps represent a time- and labor-efficient method of data collection that has been used widely to survey mammalian diversity and behavior. Camera traps are increasingly used in primate field studies, especially in the case of unhabituated elusive terrestrial primates [Boyer-Ontl & Pruetz, 2014; Pebsworth & LaFleur, 2014]. In southeastern Tibet, macaques live in dense tropical or subtropical evergreen forests, travel across mountainous terrain, and spend a considerable amount of time foraging on ground. Given the difficulties of following unhabituated groups, we used photographs obtained from camera traps, to compare pelage characteristics of the local macaque populations. When we encountered a macaque group, we attempted to take additional photographs or videos of all individuals.

In total, we obtained 738 photos of macaques from Modog (Fig. 1). However, the population we observed and photographed exhibited pelage and body characteristics unlike any other known macaque species. Here, we describe the morphological characteristics of this macaque population and propose that it represents a new species, Macaca leucogenys or the white-cheeked macaque. In our analysis, we compare M. leucogenys with potentially sympatric macaque species (M. thibetana, M. a. assamensis, M. a. pelops, and M. mulatta). Due to ethical concerns regarding killing wild primates, we did not obtain a voucher specimen for the proposed new species. Rather, we describe M. leucogenys based on hundreds of photographs, similar to the method used by Sinha et al. [2005] in describing M. munzala and Jones et al. [2005] did for Lophocebus kipunji. Article 73.1.4 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature allows for the designation of photographs as type specimens [Polaszek et al., 2006]. We also provided first-hand, but preliminary, information about its ecology.


Order Primates Linnaeus, 1758

Superfamily Cercopithecoidea Gray, 1821
Family Cercopithecidae Gray, 1821

Genus Macaca Lacépède, 1799

Macaca leucogenys Species Novum || WHITE-CHEEKED MACAQUE

Figure 5. Facial skin becomes darker and darker, and pale side-whiskers become more prominent with age (A, B: infants; C: juveniles with different age; D: adult female; E: adult male in the right, adult female in the left and two small juveniles). There are virtually no dark hairs on the face of adults. These photos also show light ventral coloration and long and thick hairs on the neck.

Holotype: An adult male, photographed by camera traps (Figs. 4A, 5E, 6A and B). This male was photographed and videoed resting during an undisturbed grooming bout in which more than three group members groomed him.

Paratypes: Two adult females photographed by the same camera trap captured the holotype. One is the female in Fig. 4B (photographed on January 24, 2014). The other female is present in Fig. 5D and E (photographed on January 28, 2014). The holotype and two paratypes are likely members of the same group because they were photographed by the same camera trap. Members of this group included one adult male (holotype), three adult females (two paratypes and one other female), at least eight subadults or juveniles, and one infant. Subdults and juveniles were distinguished by less prominent side-whiskers. We are trying to obtain live specimens so that they can be observed and studied in an appropriate facility and when they die, their skins, skulls, and skeletons will be deposited at Dali University.

Type locality: Gangrigebu (29°28′19.73″N, 95°49′25.00″E, 2410 m above sea level), Modog County, Tibet, China.

Diagnosis: The white-cheeked macaque is robust, heavyset with a relatively short tail. The species can be morphologically distinguished from all other known Macaca species, especially potential sympatric species by a suite of characteristics including relatively uniform dorsal pelage, hairy ventral pelage, relative hairless short tail, prominent pale to white side- and chin-whiskers creating a white cheek and round facial appearance, dark facial skin on the muzzle, and long and thick hairs on neck (Table II). Adults emit high-pitched alarm calls in the presence of humans (Fig. 2). Moreover, there is no inflection between the glans penis and shaft and the glans looks like a ring (based on three photos from only one adult male) rather than exhibiting a sagittate shape which is characteristic of the sinica species group of macaque.

Figure 9. Photos showing differences between Macaca leucogenys and three potential sympatric macaque specie. Macaca mulatta is not shown because it can be easily differentiated from M. leucogenys by the different color of dorsal pelage. M. a. pelops is not shown because it has a generally similar pelage pattern with M. a. assamensis but has a longer tail.
A and B [cited from Sinha et al., 2005]: M. munzala lacks side- and chin-whiskers. C (female) and D (male): Macaca assamensis assamensis has prominent chin whiskers but side whiskers are less prominent creating a triangular face. Hairs on its ventral part and neck are thin and short. E (female) and F (male): Macaca thibetana has prominent side- and chin-whiskers creating a round facial appearance, but it has thin and short hair on neck and has a shorter tail.

 Cheng Li, Chao Zhao and Peng-Fei Fan. 2015. White-cheeked Macaque (Macaca leucogenys): A New Macaque Species from Modog, southeastern Tibet. American Journal of Primatology. (Am. J. Primatol.) DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22394

Friday, April 10, 2015

[PaleoOrnithology • 2015] Llallawavis scagliai • A New Mesembriornithinae (Aves, Phorusrhacidae) provides new insights into the Phylogeny and Sensory Capabilities of Terror Birds

Llallawavis scagliai Degrange, Tambussi, Taglioretti, Dondas & Scaglia, 2015

Terror birds constitute the most outstanding group of the South American Cenozoic avifauna. Considered as apex predators, their hunting skills have recently been examined, but their diversity is still unresolved. Here we report a new terror bird from the late Pliocene of Argentina, represented by the most complete articulated skeleton of one yet found. Our phylogenetic analysis places this taxon among derived phorusrhacids (Mesembriornithinae). One of the most striking cranial features of the new species is the suppression of intracranial kinesis due to the presence of an independent ossified bone that increases the structural link between the lacrimal and jugal bars, and the absence of both palatal hinges. The new species possesses ossified tracheal rings and a tracheobronchial syrinx, as well as sclerotic ossicles to adjust the shape of the cornea during its diurnal vision, and reveals a mean hearing sensitivity (~2300 Hz) below the average for living species. The discovery of this new species provides new insights for studying the anatomy and phylogeny of phorusrhacids and a better understanding of this group's diversification.

Image 4: Skull of Llallawavis scagliai
Photo: F. Degrange.

Llallawavis scagliai
Image: H. Santiago Druetta.

Image 3: Skeleton of Llallawavis scagliai on display at the Museo Municipal de Ciencias Naturales Lorenzo Scaglia, Mar del Plata.
Photo: M. Taglioretti and F. Scaglia.

Federico J. Degrange, Claudia P. Tambussi, Matías L. Taglioretti, Alejandro Dondas and Fernando Scaglia. 2015. A New Mesembriornithinae (Aves, Phorusrhacidae) provides new insights into the Phylogeny and Sensory Capabilities of Terror Birds.  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 35(2); DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2014.912656

Exceptionally preserved fossil gives voice to ancient terror bird
Llallawavis scagliai: New Terror Bird Discovered in Argentina

[Herpetology • 2015] Varanus nesterovi • A New Species of Desert Monitor Lizard (Varanidae: Varanus: Psammosaurus) from the Western Zagros region (Iraq, Iran)

Varanus (Psammosaurusnesterovi
 Böhme, Ehrlich, Milto, Orlov & Scholz, 2015

We describe a new species of desert monitor lizard from the western and southwestern foothills of the Zagros Mountains. From Varanus griseus and its nominal subspecies V. g. griseus, V. g. caspius, and V. g. koniecznyi it is easily distinguishable by its stout head shape, the shape and position of the nostril, an extremely rough and spiny neck scalation, a laterally compressed tail with a double-keeled dorsal crest throughout its length, a nearly uniformly colored dorsum and an unpatterned light yellowish distal half of tail. Geographically, the new species seems to be restricted to the western and southwestern margin of the Zagros Mountain range and seems to prefer medium altitudes between 500 and 1100 m a.s.l. The new species renders the current subgenus Psammosaurus as consisting of more than one single living species.

Wolfgang Böhme, Klaus Ehrlich, Konstantin D. Milto, Nikolay Orlov and Sebastian Scholz. 2015. A New Species of Desert Monitor Lizard (Varanidae: Varanus: Psammosaurus) from the Western Zagros region (Iraq, Iran). Russian Journal of Herpetology. 22(1): 41-52.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

[Ichthyology • 2015] Badis britzi • A New Percomorph Fish (Teleostei: Badidae) from the Western Ghats of India

Badis britzi
Dahanukar, Kumar, Katwate & Raghavan, 2015


Badis britzi, the first species of the genus endemic to southern India, is described from the Nagodi tributary of the west-flowing Sharavati River in Karnataka. It is distinguished from congeners by a combination of characters including a slender body, 21–24 pored lateral-line scales and a striking colour pattern consisting of 11 bars and a mosaic of black and red pigmentation on the side of the body including the end of caudal peduncle, and the absence of cleithral, opercular, or caudal-peduncle blotches, or an ocellus on the caudal-fin base. Badis triocellus Khynriam & Sen is considered a junior synonym of B. singenensis Geetakumari & Kadu.

Keywords: freshwater fish, Karnataka, Perciformes, Sharavati

 Dahanukar, N., Kumar, P., Katwate, U. & Raghavan, R. 2015. Badis britzi, A New Percomorph Fish (Teleostei: Badidae) from the Western Ghats of India. Zootaxa. 3941 (3): 429–436. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3941.3.9

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

[Paleontology • 2015] A Specimen-Level Phylogenetic Analysis and Taxonomic Revision of Diplodocidae (Dinosauria, Sauropoda)

Diplodocidae are among the best known sauropod dinosaurs. Several species were described in the late 1800s or early 1900s from the Morrison Formation of North America. Since then, numerous additional specimens were recovered in the USA, Tanzania, Portugal, and Argentina, as well as possibly Spain, England, Georgia, Zimbabwe, and Asia. To date, the clade includes about 12 to 15 nominal species, some of them with questionable taxonomic status (e.g., ‘Diplodocushayi or Dyslocosaurus polyonychius), and ranging in age from Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous. However, intrageneric relationships of the iconic, multi-species genera Apatosaurus and Diplodocus are still poorly known. The way to resolve this issue is a specimen-based phylogenetic analysis, which has been previously implemented for Apatosaurus, but is here performed for the first time for the entire clade of Diplodocidae.

The analysis includes 81 operational taxonomic units, 49 of which belong to Diplodocidae. The set of OTUs includes all name-bearing type specimens previously proposed to belong to Diplodocidae, alongside a set of relatively complete referred specimens, which increase the amount of anatomically overlapping material. Non-diplodocid outgroups were selected to test the affinities of potential diplodocid specimens that have subsequently been suggested to belong outside the clade. The specimens were scored for 477 morphological characters, representing one of the most extensive phylogenetic analyses of sauropod dinosaurs. Character states were figured and tables given in the case of numerical characters.

The resulting cladogram recovers the classical arrangement of diplodocid relationships. Two numerical approaches were used to increase reproducibility in our taxonomic delimitation of species and genera. This resulted in the proposal that some species previously included in well-known genera like Apatosaurus and Diplodocus are generically distinct. Of particular note is that the famous genus Brontosaurus is considered valid by our quantitative approach. Furthermore, “Diplodocushayi represents a unique genus, which will herein be called Galeamopus gen. nov. On the other hand, these numerical approaches imply synonymization of “Dinheirosaurus” from the Late Jurassic of Portugal with the Morrison Formation genus Supersaurus. Our use of a specimen-, rather than species-based approach increases knowledge of intraspecific and intrageneric variation in diplodocids, and the study demonstrates how specimen-based phylogenetic analysis is a valuable tool in sauropod taxonomy, and potentially in paleontology and taxonomy as a whole.

Life restoration: “Brontosaurus as researchers see it today – with a Diplodocus-like head”
illustration: Davide Bonadonna |

Emanuel Tschopp, Octávio Mateus and Roger B.J. Benson. 2015. A Specimen-Level Phylogenetic Analysis and Taxonomic Revision of Diplodocidae (Dinosauria, Sauropoda). 
PeerJ. 3:e857. DOI: 10.7717/PeerJ.857

 Forget Extinct: The Brontosaurus Never Even Existed @nprnews
The Brontosaurus is Back – Author Interview @ThePeerJ
Why Brontosaurus is no longer a dirty word for dinosaur hunters via @ConversationUK

[Herpetology • 2015] Three New Species of Woodlizards (Hoplocercinae, Enyalioides) from northwestern South America

Figure 8. Holotype of Enyalioides sophiarothschildae sp. n. (CORBIDI 647, adult male, SVL = 135 mm). 
Top: dorsolateral view; middle: lateral view of head; bottom: ventral view.
Photograph by Pablo J. Venegas. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.494.8903

The discovery of three new species of Enyalioides from the tropical Andes in Ecuador and northern Peru is reported. Enyalioides altotambo sp. n. occurs in northwestern Ecuador and differs from other species of Enyalioides in having dorsal scales that are both smooth and homogeneous in size, a brown iris, and in lacking enlarged, circular and keeled scales on the flanks. Enyalioides anisolepis sp. n. occurs on the Amazonian slopes of the Andes in southern Ecuador and northern Peru and can be distinguished from other species of Enyalioides by its scattered, projecting large scales on the dorsum, flanks, and hind limbs, as well as a well-developed vertebral crest, with the vertebrals on the neck at least three times higher than those between the hind limbs. Enyalioides sophiarothschildae sp. n. is from the Amazonian slopes of the Cordillera Central in northeastern Peru; it differs from other species of Enyalioides in having caudal scales that are relatively homogeneous in size on each caudal segment, a white gular region with a black medial patch and several turquoise scales in males, as well as immaculate white labials and chin. A molecular phylogenetic tree of 18 species of hoplocercines is presented, including the three species described in this paper and E. cofanorum, as well as an updated identification key for species of Hoplocercinae.

Keywords: Andes, Ecuador, Enyalioides, Hoplocercinae, Iguania, lizards, new species, Peru, systematics

Figure 2. Paratype (QCAZ 6671, adult female, SVL = 132 mm) of Enyalioides altotambo.
Figure 1. Holotype (QCAZ 8073, adult male, SVL = 119 mm) of Enyalioides altotambo in dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) views.
Photographs by Luis A. Coloma.  | doi: 10.3897/zookeys.494.8903

Enyalioides altotambo sp. n.
Proposed standard English name: Alto Tambo woodlizards
Proposed standard Spanish name: lagartijas de palo de Alto Tambo 
synonym: Enyalioides oshaughnessyi (part) Torres-Carvajal et al. 2011: 23.

Distribution: Enyalioides altotambo is only known from two adjacent localities at 620–645 m in the Chocoan rainforests of northwestern Ecuador (Fig. 3). Female paratype QCAZ 6671 was found at 5:30 pm with its head facing up on a tree trunk. 
Etymology: The specific epithet is a noun in apposition and refers to Alto Tambo, Provincia Esmeraldas, Ecuador, a village on the Ibarra-San Lorenzo road where Enyalioides altotambo was discovered.

Figure 5. Holotype of Enyalioides anisolepis sp. n. (QCAZ 12537, adult male, SVL = 130 mm). 
Top: dorsolateral view; middle: ventral view; bottom: lateral view of head.
Photographs by Omar Torres-Carvajal. | doi: 10.3897/zookeys.494.8903
Enyalioides anisolepis sp. n.

Proposed standard English name: rough-scaled woodlizards
Proposed standard Spanish name: lagartijas de palo de escamas ásperas

Distribution and ecology: Enyalioides anisolepis is known to occur between 724– 1742 m on the Amazonian slopes of the Andes in southern Ecuador and northern Peru (Fig. 3). It is known from Provincia Zamora-Chinchipe in extreme southern Ecuador and Región Cajamarca in northern Peru. Most specimens were found sleeping at night (7:00 pm–1:00 am) between 0.2–1.5 m above ground on stems, leaves, and tree roots in primary and secondary forests. Nine of the 15 known specimens were found within 5 m of small streams. 
Etymology. The specific epithet anisolepis is a noun (in apposition) in the nominative singular and derives from the Greek words anisos (= unequal) and lepis (= scale). It refers to the heterogeneous scales on the dorsum, flanks and hind limbs of lizards of this species. 

Figure 8. Holotype of Enyalioides sophiarothschildae sp. n. (CORBIDI 647, adult male, SVL = 135 mm).
Top: dorsolateral view; middle: lateral view of head; bottom: ventral view.
Photograph by Pablo J. Venegas. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.494.8903

Enyalioides sophiarothschildae sp. n. 
Proposed standard English name: Rothschild’s woodlizards
Proposed standard Spanish name: lagartijas de palo de Rothschild

Distribution and ecology: Enyalioides sophiarothschildae is known from the northeastern slopes of the Cordillera Central in Peru between 1600–1700 m (Fig. 3). This species is only known from two adjacent localities, the trail to La Cueva-Añasco Pueblo in the drainage of the Lejía river and El Dorado in the drainage of the Blanco river, both tributaries of the Huallabamba river in the northern part of the Huallaga river basin. This area corresponds to the Selva Alta (400–1000 m) and Yungas (300– 2300 m) ecoregions (Brack 1986; Peñaherrera del Aguila 1989). 
Individuals of Enyalioides sophiarothschildae were found active by day in primary forest. The holotype was found crossing a trail and tried to hide between the roots of a big tree when approached for capture. One of the paratypes climbed up a tree three meters above the ground when approached. The other paratype was found sitting on a big root. 

Etymology: The specific epithet is a noun in the genitive case and is a patronym honoring Sophia Rothschild in recognition of her financial support for the improvement of the herpetological collection of CORBIDI through the BIOPAT Program.

Omar Torres-Carvajal, Pablo J. Venegas and Kevin de Queiroz. 2015. Three New Species of Woodlizards (Hoplocercinae, Enyalioides) from northwestern South America. ZooKeys. 494: 107-132 (06 Apr 2015)

Three New Species of ‘Dwarf Dragon’ Discovered in South America

Reportamos el descubrimiento de tres especies nuevas de Enyalioides de los Andes tropicales en Ecuador y norte de Perú. Enyalioides altotambo sp. n., del noroccidente de Ecuador, difiere de otras especies de Enyalioides por poseer escamas dorsales lisas y homogéneas en tamaño, iris café y por carecer de escamas circulares grandes y quilladas en los flancos. Enyalioides anisolepis sp. n. ocurre en las estribaciones amazónicas de los Andes al sur de Ecuador y norte de Perú, y se distingue de otras especies de Enyalioides por poseer escamas grandes y proyectadas dispersas en el dorso, flancos y extremidades posteriores, así como por su cresta vertebral bastante desarrollada, que a nivel del cuello es tres veces más alta que entre las extremidades posteriores. Enyalioides sophiarothschildae sp. n., de las estribaciones amazónicas de la Cordillera Central al norte del Perú, difiere de otras especies de Enyalioides por poseer escamas caudales de tamaño similar en cada segmento caudal, una región gular blanca con una mancha medial negra y escamas turquesa en machos, así como la quijada y labiales de color blanco. También presentamos un árbol filogenético molecular de 18 especies de hoplocercinos, que incluye a las tres especies descritas en este artículo y a E. cofanorum, así como una clave de identificación actualizada para las especies de Hoplocercinae.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

[Herpetology • 2014] Three New Species of Chiromantis Peters 1854 (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Indonesia


We described three new species of the genus Chiromantis, one added as a member of Javan frogs and two others as new members of Sumatran frogs. Discovery of the new frogs from Sumatra and Java is not surprising. Because Sumatra is one of the biggest islands in Indonesia with varied habitat types, herpetofaunal survey especially on frogs in this island is still insufficient. As for Java whose herpetofauna has been relatively well studied, the present finding of a new species suggests occurrence of more undescribed species and/or future record of taxa occurring elsewhere.

Keywords: Chiromantis; new species; Sumatra; Java

Chiromantis trilaksonoi
Chiromantis nauli 
Chiromantis baladika

Awal Riyanto and Hellen Kurniati. 2014. Three New Species of Chiromantis Peters 1854 (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Indonesia. Russian Journal of Herpetology. 21(1): 65–73.

[Ichthyology • 2015] Urobatis pardalis • A New Species of Urobatis (Myliobatiformes: Urotrygonidae) from the tropical Eastern Pacific

Urobatis pardalis
Del-Moral-Flores, Angulo, M. I. Bussing & W. A. Bussing, 2015

A new species of round stingray, Urobatis pardalis sp. nov., is described from material collected in the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. This new species differs from its congeners by the color pattern of the dorsal surface and by several proportional measurements. A key to all species of the genus is provided. 

Luis Fernando Del Moral-Flores, Arturo Angulo, Myrna I. López and William A. Bussing. 2015. Nueva especie del género Urobatis (Myliobatiformes: Urotrygonidae) del Pacífico oriental tropical [A New Species of Urobatis (Myliobatiformes: Urotrygonidae) from the tropical Eastern Pacific].  Revista de Biologia Tropical [Int. J. Trop. Biol.]. 63(2):501–514.