Saturday, July 23, 2016

[Botany • 2016] The Iris Family (Iridaceae) in the Flora of Eastern Indochina


 Iris japonica & I. tectorum, in natural habitat.

Summary
Iris family in the countries of eastern part of Indochina Peninsula, such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam includes lone native genus – Iris L. with two aboriginal species – I. japonica Thunb. and I. tectorum Maxim. Iris japonica is often cultivated as an outdoor ornamental plant in mountainous regions in the northern Vietnam, where it occasionally naturalizes. Herbarium specimens of I. japonica, collected in central Laos near Nape town, probably represent southernmost locality of the Iris genus in Eurasia. Iris tectorum was discovered in native, primary plant communities of karstic highly eroded limestone in Cao Bang province (Bao Lac district) of the northern Vietnam. This species is recorded as new for the flora of the Indochina Peninsula. The report of I. collettii Hook. f. on the territory of peninsular flora does not yet confirmed by herbaria and remains doubtful. Data on taxonomy, authentic specimens, distribution, habitats, phenology, conservation status and biology are provided for all Iris species. The identification key for Iris species is compiled, as well as dotted distribution maps on the territory of countries of eastern Indochina. Other representatives of the family from such genera as Belamcanda Adans. (B. chinensis (L.) Redouté), Crocosmia Planch. (C. × crocosmiiflora (G. Nicholson) N. E. Br.), Eleutherine Herb. (E. bulbosa (Mill.) Urb.), Freesia Klatt (F. refracta (Jacq.) Klatt.), Gladiolus L. (numerous horticultural forms) и Trimezia Salisb. ex Herb. (T. martinicensis (Jacq.) Herb.) reported from Indochina are introduced cultivated ornamental plants capable to occasional naturalization as an adventive element of the Indochinese flora.

Key words: Iridaceae, Iris, eastern Indochina, Laos, Vietnam, plant diversity, taxonomy. 



L. V. Averyanov, E. V. Boltenkov, T. V. Maisak, Khang Sinh Nguyen and Hiep Tien Nguyen. 2016. The Iris Family (Iridaceae) in the Flora of Eastern Indochina. Turczaninowia. 19(1); 27–33. DOI:  10.14258/turczaninowia.19.1.3

[Ichthyology • 2012] Odontanthias hensleyi • A New Species of Odontanthias Bleeker (Perciformes: Serranidae: Anthiinae) from Mona Passage off Puerto Rico, the First Record of the Genus from the Atlantic Ocean


Odontanthias hensleyi 
Anderson & García-Moliner, 2012 

Abstract
Odontanthias hensleyi, a new species of anthiine serranid fish, is described from four specimens collected off the west coast of Puerto Rico in Mona Passage. This is the first Atlantic record for the genus Odontanthias, heretofore known from 13 Indo-Pacific species. The new species is distinguished from all other species of Odontanthias by the following combination of characters: 15 soft rays in the dorsal fin, 18 pectoral fin rays, vomerine tooth patch subquadrangular to diamond-shaped without posterior prolongation, pelvic fin and caudal fin lobes very well produced, and coloration (side of head with two bright yellow stripes; pelvic, anal and caudal fins bright yellow).




 Anderson, W.D.Jr. and García-Moliner, G. 2012. A New Species of Odontanthias Bleeker (Perciformes: Serranidae: Anthiinae) from Mona Passage off Puerto Rico, the First Record of the Genus from the Atlantic Ocean. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, 18 (1): 25-30.


[Ichthyology • 2011] Odontanthias randalli • A New Anthiine Fish (Serranidae: Anthiinae) from East Lombok, Indonesia


Odontanthias randalli
White, 2011 

Abstract 
Odontanthias randalli, a new species of anthiine serranid fish from southeastern Indonesia, is described, bringing the number of known species in the genus to 14. The new species is clearly distinguished from other members of the genus by the following combination of characters: dorsal-fin soft rays 16–17, lateral-line scales 37 to 39, 3rd dorsal spine longest, 3rd dorsal-fin soft ray the only filamentous dorsal-fin ray, caudal fin lunate with extremely long filamentous lobes, depth of body 2.2 to 2. 5 in SL, vomerine-tooth patch arrowhead shaped, and body pinkish with bright yellow spots on upper half and four pale pink blotches below dorsal-fin base. The new species is compared with other members of the genus.

  Key words: Odontanthias, Serranidae, new species, Indo-Pacific, Indonesia


FIGURE 1. Lateral view of Odontanthias randalli n. sp., holotype MZB 20010, 121 mm SL, east Lombok, Indonesia. 

Diagnosis. Dorsal rays X, 16–17; anal rays III, 7; pectoral rays 15–16; lateral-line scales 37–39; gill rakers 10–13 + 21–27 (total = 32–39); body depth 2.2–2.5 in SL; spine at angle of preopercle moderately long, extending about half distance to margin of subopercle; vomerine tooth patch arrowhead-shaped; no teeth on mesopterygoids; scales dorsally on snout nearly reaching upper lip; 3rd dorsal spine elongate, 1.36–2.32 in head length; 3rd ray of dorsal fin the longest, greatly produced as a long filament; 2nd anal spine subequal to third, 2.32–2.78 in head length; caudal fin lunate, the lobes very long and filamentous, fin length 1.37–2.01 in SL. Colour when fresh mostly pink; scales on upper half of body each with a bright yellow spot; head pinkish with a vivid yellow, horizontal V-shaped marking originating on snout tip and extending posteriorly as two stripes; lower stripe running posteroventrally below eye to edge of opercle; upper stripe running posterodorsally through about the middle of eye to edge of the opercle just above primary opercular spine; nape yellowish; four pale pinkish blotches present below dorsal fin base; dorsal fin mostly yellow with some pink areas; anal fin pinkish with yellow pigment between second and third spines extending on to posterior portion of posteriorly adjacent fin membranes; caudal fin mostly pink with yellow pigment basally and extending along centre of filamentous lobes; pectoral fins pinkish with yellow stripe on anterior third extending from base of fin to about one-third distance of longest rays; pelvic fin mostly pink with yellow pigment on membrane between first and second soft rays.

Distribution. Currently known only from East Lombok in the Nusa Tenggara region of Indonesia. All type specimens were collected from the fish market at Tanjung Luar from handline fishers operating in local waters. 

Etymology. Named after John E. Randall, who has made such a significant contribution to the knowledge of anthiine fishes, and Indo–Pacific fishes in general. The review of the Odontanthias genus he co-authored provided detailed description of the nominal species and their relationships with closely related genera. Proposed vernacular name: Lombok Swallowtail 


William T. White. 2011. Odontanthias randalli n. sp., A New Anthiine Fish (Serranidae: Anthiinae) from Indonesia. Zootaxa. 3015: 21–28.

[Herpetology • 2014] Hemidactylus minutus • Systematics and Biogeography of Hemidactylus homoeolepis Blanford, 1881 (Squamata: Gekkonidae), with the Description of A New Species from Arabia


Hemidactylus minutus  
Vasconcelos & Carranza, 2014

Abstract

A new species of gecko of the genus Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) is described from Oman and extreme eastern Yemen. Hemidactylus minutus sp. nov. is characterized morphologically by its very small size, being the smallest Hemidactylus in mainland Arabia, absence of enlarged tubercles anywhere on the body, expanded subcaudal scales beginning some way from tail base, number of preanal pores, number of lamellae under the first and fourth toes, and weakly contrasted black and white banded pattern on the ventral part of tail. It is also genetically distinct from H. homoeolepis to which it has previously been referred, and from all other closely related Hemidactylus from the arid clade in DNA sequence data for mitochondrial (12S, cyt b, ND4) and three nuclear (RAG1, MC1R, c‑mos) markers. An adult female from southern Yemen and a badly preserved juvenile from southwestern Saudi Arabia previously assigned to H. homoeolepis are morphologically differentiated from this species and from H. minutus sp. nov. and temporarily referred to as Hemidactylus sp. 12 and Hemidactylus sp. 13, respectively until more specimens are collected and analyzed.

        Up to now, H. homoeolepis was the only non-endemic native species of the Socotra Archipelago. With the description of H. minutus sp. nov., all native reptile species of Socotra are now endemic, such that this archipelago has one with the highest number of endemic reptiles in relation to its small size. In addition, as a result of our taxonomic change, the area of occupancy and extent of occurrence of H. homoeolepis have changed dramatically and thus its conservation status should be updated. Although H. minutus sp. nov. seems widely distributed and relatively abundant, its conservation status should also be re-evaluated.

Keywords: gecko, DNA, morphology, taxonomic revision, Socotra, Oman


FIGURE 5. Type localities, general dorsal views and details of Hemidactylus minutus sp. nov. from mainland Arabia. 
A) and C) type locality (Asylah, Oman) of H. minutus sp. nov.; B) dorsal view of Hemidactylus minutus sp. nov. holotype (voucher code: NHMUK2013.901; sample code: S7676); D), E), F) and G) details of the head, tail underside pattern, preanal pores, and lamellae of the 1st and 4th toes of the holotype. 

Etymology. The species epithet “minutus” is a Latin adjective that refers to the small size of this species, the smallest Hemidactylus in mainland Arabia. 

Diagnosis. A small Hemidactylus characterized by the following combination of morphological characters: (1) maximum recorded snout-vent length, SVL 34.6 mm (mean 29.2 ± 3.4 mm); (2) absence of enlarged tubercles anywhere on the body; (3) expanded subcaudal scales beginning some way from tail base; (4) head narrow and low (4.2–6.7 mm in width and 2.4–3.7 mm in height); (5) relatively short snout (2.0–2.9 mm nostril–eye); (4) 4–6 preanal pores, PAP (mean 5.8 ± 0.5); (6) four or five lamellae under the first posterior toe, LP1st (4.5 ± 0.5); (7) seven to nine, but most usually eight lamellae under the fourth posterior toe, LP4th (mean LP4th 8.0 ± 0.2); (8) weakly contrasted black and white banded pattern on the ventral part of tail.

......

Distribution. Distributed along the Arabian Sea coast, from northeastern Oman to extreme eastern Yemen (Fig. 1; Appendix I, II). In Dhofar it is found more than 70 km inland, as far as Thumrait. Although the population of Hemidactylus “homoeolepis” from the Hasikaya Island in the Hallaniyat Archipelago may belong to this species, a detailed genetic and morphological analysis is needed to assess whether this population is H. minutus sp. nov., H. paucituberculatus, (also present in coastal Dhofar) or a new species. Previous reports of Hemidactylus “homoeolepis” from Masirah Island and from Jazirat Hamar an Nafur Island have been recently assigned to H. masirahensis and H. inexpectatus, respectively (Carranza & Arnold 2012; pers. observ.). Hemidactylus minutus sp. nov. can be considered nearly endemic to Oman.

 Natural history. The new species is a ground dwelling strictly nocturnal gecko, usually found in dry places with stony, gravely or even sandy substrates with rocky outcrops (Fig. 5A, C). It is abundant in many parts of its distribution range. Observations of specimens of H. minutus sp. nov. carried out by Arnold (1980) at Wadi Ayoun and Thumrait indicated that almost all the specimens (63/64) were first sighted either on the ground (38/64) or lower than 60 cm from it (25/64), and only one was found on a rock above this height. At Wadi Sayq, eighteen individuals reported also by Arnold (1980) were at heights of between 50 cm and 2 m on rock faces, but this may have been because the ground here was covered by dense vegetation following the monsoon. Hemidacytlus minutus sp. nov. is very agile, often proceeding in a series of leaps when pursued. Gravid females, each carrying a single egg, have been recorded in late September at Khawr Sawli (Arnold 1980). 


FIGURE 5. Type localities, general dorsal views and details of Hemidactylus minutus sp. nov. from mainland Arabia.
A) and C) type locality (Asylah, Oman) of H. minutus sp. nov.; B) dorsal view of Hemidactylus minutus sp. nov. holotype (voucher code: NHMUK2013.901; sample code: S7676); D), E), F) and G) details of the head, tail underside pattern, preanal pores, and lamellae of the 1st and 4th toes of the holotype.

FIGURE 5. Type localities, general dorsal views and details of Hemidactylus homoeolepis from Socotra.
  I) of an unvouchered specimen (photograph by Edoardo Razzetti); J) habitat type of H. homoeolepis, generally dry places with rocky substrate; K), M) and N) details of the head, preanal pores, and lamellae of the 1st and 4th toes of the syntype, respectively; L) detail of the pattern of underside the tail of and unvouchered specimen. 

Raquel Vasconcelos and Salvador Carranza. 2014. Systematics and Biogeography of Hemidactylus homoeolepis Blanford, 1881 (Squamata: Gekkonidae), with the Description of A New Species from Arabia. Zootaxa. 3835(4): 501–527.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3835.4.4

[Ichthyology • 2016] Odontanthias cauoh • A New Species of Anthiadinae (Teleostei: Serranidae) from São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago, Brazil, Equatorial Atlantic


Odontanthias cauoh 
Carvalho-Filho, Macena & Nunes, 2016 

   Red Jewelfish |  DOI: 
10.11646/zootaxa.4139.4.10

Abstract

A new species of Anthiadinae, Odontanthias cauoh, is described from São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago (SPSPA), Brazil, Equatorial Atlantic. The new species differs from its only Atlantic congener by a combination of several characters: pectoral-fin rays 20; total gill rakers on first arch 39; vomerine tooth patch with a posterior prolongation; pelvic fin not reaching base of last anal-fin ray; dorsal, anal and pelvic fins scaleless; and coloration (dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins mostly dark red). The record of the new species contributes to increase the fish endemism in SPSPA.

Keywords: Pisces, Odontanthias cauoh, taxonomy, oceanic islands, endemism


FIGURE 2. Odontanthias cauoh sp. n., MZUSP 111260,holotype, 165.2 mm SL from São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago, Brazil.  

Diagnosis. The new species differs from its only Atlantic congener by a combination of several characters: pectoral-fin rays 20; total gill rakers on first arch 39; vomerine tooth patch with a posterior prolongation; pelvic fin not reaching base of last anal-fin ray; dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins scaleless; and coloration (dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins mostly dark red). 

Distribution. Odontanthias cauoh sp. n. is currently known only from São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago, Brazil, Western Central Atlantic (Fig. 1). No data about its depth range is available.

Etymology. The new species is named after the popular name given by the professional fishermen to the fish at St. Paul’s Rocks, “Carolina”, shortened to the nickname (Cauó) of the first author’s elder daughter, Ana Carolina S.R. Carvalho, pronounced as “kau-oh”. Proposed English name: Red Jewelfish due to the color of the known specimen. Proposed Portuguese (Brazilian) name: Carolina.

Biological aspects. The stomach of the holotype was examined and found to be empty, with no trace of biological material. The gonads were analyzed macroscopically, indicating an immature female specimen.


Alfredo Carvalho-Filho, Bruno César Luz Macena and Diogo Martins Nunes. 2016. A New Species of Anthiadinae (Teleostei: Serranidae) from São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago, Brazil, Equatorial Atlantic. Zootaxa. 4139(4); 585–592. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4139.4.10

[Crustacea • 2016] Hamodactylus paraqabai & H. pseudaqabai • Two New Species of Shrimp of the Indo-West Pacific Genus Hamodactylus Holthuis, 1952 (Decapoda: Palaemonidae)


Hamodactylus aqabai Bruce & Svoboda, 1983    Hamodactylus paraqabai H. pseudaqabai 
Horká, Fransen & Ďuriš, 2016

Abstract

 Two new alcyonacean-associated species, Hamodactylus paraqabai sp. nov. from Papua New Guinea and the Great Barrier Reef and H. pseudaqabai sp. nov. from Indonesia and Malaysia, are described and illustrated. To evaluate the status of the new species and their relationship within the genus Hamodactylus Holthuis, 1952, we combined morphology and phylogenetic analyses based on the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) mitochondrial gene. Both new species are closely related, with their mutual genetic divergence reaching 3-4%. They are further most related to Hamodactylus aqabai Bruce & Svoboda, 1983, originally described from the Red Sea. Both new species are distinguished from all other congeners by the presence of multiple teeth distally on the cutting edges of the fingers of the first pereiopods, and, in the case of H. paraqabai sp. nov., by a full reduction of the fixed finger on the second pereiopod chela. In H. pseudaqabai sp. nov. the finger is greatly reduced to a small but distinct stub, and the telson bears only a single pair of dorsal spines, as in H. aqabai. A key for the identification of all six currently known species is proposed.

Key words. Palaemonidae, Hamodactylus paraqabai sp. nov., Hamodactylus pseudaqabai sp. nov., coral associates, identification key.


Fig. 10. Colour pattern of three relatives of the genus Hamodactylus.
AHamodactylus aqabai Bruce & Svoboda, 1983, ovigerous ♀ (UO Aq09-55) on alcyonacean coral Nephthea sp., Aqaba, Red Sea.
BC. Hamodactylus paraqabai sp. nov., ovigerous ♀♀, Madang, Papua New Guinea, on Nephthea sp. B. Holotype (MNHN-IU-2013-11092). C. Paratype (MNHN-IU-2013-11090).
 — DHamodactylus pseudaqabai sp. nov., ovigerous ♀, holotype, N. Sulawesi, Indonesia (RMNH.CRUS.D.57195). 
Photos: Z. Ďuriš (A), T.- Y. Chan (B), A.F. Berberian (C), C.H.J.M. Fransen (D).
DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2016.188 

Systematics 

Family Palaemonidae Rafinesque, 1815 
Genus Hamodactylus Holthuis, 1952

Distribution Widely distributed in the Indo-West Pacific region from the Red Sea to New Caledonia (e.g., Bruce 1981, 1982, 1983; Chace & Bruce 1993; Fransen & Rauch 2013). 

Ecology Reported in association with gorgonarians and alcyonaceans (Bruce 1970b, 1981, 1983; Bruce & Svoboda 1983); scleractinian coral (Fransen & Rauch 2013), from depths of 2–27.5 m (Bruce 1970b, 1983).


Hamodactylus paraqabai sp. nov. 
urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:D50ED903-8CDF-4B68-BE54-8E4F2177FB2B 
Figs 1–5, 10B–C 

Etymology: The specific name paraqabai is a noun composed of the prefix para- (from Greek: besides) and the adjective -aqabai, a species name used for H. aqabai, a closely similar species from the Red Sea.

Host: Associated with branching soft corals of the genus Nephthea sp. (Fig. 10C) of the family Nephtheidae (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea). Distribution Up to date known from the Madang Lagoon, Papua New Guinea, and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.   


Hamodactylus pseudaqabai sp. nov. 
urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:5306FF2F-64E9-47A5-8554-393952257DEF 
Figs 6–9, 10D 
Hamodactylus aqabai – Fransen 2012: 102. — Fransen & Rauch 2013: 287 (Tab. 1), 288 (comparative material).
non H. aqabai – Bruce & Svoboda 1983: 26, figs 10–14. 

Etymology: The specific name pseudaqabai is a noun combined from the prefix pseudo- (Greek: false) and the suffix -aqabai, the species name used for H. aqabai, a very similar species from the Red Sea

Host: Associated with soft corals of the family Nephtheidae (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea). Distribution Known from northeastern and southwestern Sulawesi and Ambon in Indonesia and from Sabah, Malaysia.


Ivona Horká, Charles H.J.M. Fransen and Zdeněk Ďuriš. 2016. Two New Species of Shrimp of the Indo-West Pacific Genus Hamodactylus Holthuis, 1952 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Palaemonidae). European Journal of Taxonomy. 188: 1–26.  DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2016.188 

[Botany • 2016] Begonia manuselaensis • A New Species of Begonia sect. Petermannia (Begoniaceae) from Manusela National Park, Seram, Maluku province, Indonesia


Begonia manuselaensis 
Ardhaka & Ardi 

Abstract

A new species of BegoniaBmanuselaensis Ardhaka & Ardi, is described from Seram, Maluku province, Indonesia. The species is endemic to Seram and belongs to Begonia section Petermannia.

Keywords: Begonia, endemic, Manusela, Molucca, new species.



Begonia manuselaensis Ardhaka & Ardi spec. nov. § Petermannia

 Type: Indonesia, cultivated at Bali and Bogor Botanic Garden from vegetative material collected in the wild (Manusela National Park, Seram Island, Indonesia), 22 February 2016. Wisnu Ardi, WI 104 (holotype BO!; isotype KRB! SING). Fig. 1.

Diagnosis. Similar to Begonia gemella differing from that species by the very sparse indumentum of red emergences on vegetative parts, ovate to elliptic lamina with serrate margin, and longer female flower pedicel 1.6–4 cm long (glabrous vegetative parts, suborbicular lamina with sublobed margin and female flower pedicels 7 mm long in B. gemella)


I.M. Ardhaka, W.H. Ardi, N.K.E. Undaharta and I.G. Tirta. 2016. A New Species Begonia from Manusela National Park, Seram. 
Reinwardtia. 15(1): 61 – 64.  DOI:  10.14203/reinwardtia.v15i1.2443 

    

Thursday, July 21, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2016] Scorpaenodes barrybrowni • A New Deep-Reef Scorpionfish (Teleostei, Scorpaenidae, Scorpaenodes) from the southern Caribbean with Comments on Depth Distributions and Relationships of western Atlantic Members of the Genus


Scorpaenodes barrybrowni 
 Pitassy & Baldwin, 2016
Stellate Scorpionfish | Escorpión Estrellado || DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.606.8590 

Abstract
A new species of scorpionfish, Scorpaenodes barrybrowni Pitassy & Baldwin, sp. n. which is described, was collected during submersible diving in the southern Caribbean as part of the Smithsonian’s Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). It differs from the other two western Atlantic species of the genus, S. caribbaeus and S. tredecimspinosus, in various features, including its color pattern, having an incomplete lateral line comprising 8–10 pored scales, tending to be more elongate, usually having the 11th–12th pectoral-fin rays elongate, and by 20–23% divergence in the cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) DNA barcode sequences. It further differs from one or the other of those species in head spination and in numbers of soft dorsal-fin rays, pectoral-fin rays, and precaudal + caudal vertebrae. Inhabiting depths of 95–160 m, the new species is the deepest western Atlantic member of the genus (S. caribbaeus occurs at depths < 35 m and S. tredecimspinosus from 7 to 82 m). DNA barcode data do not rigorously resolve relationships among the ten species of the genus for which those data are available.

Keywords: Manned submersible, Smithsonian Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP), Substation Curaçao, ocean exploration, integrative taxonomy, phylogeny



Diagnosis: A species of Scorpaenodes distinguished by the following combination of characters: dorsal-fin soft rays 8; pectoral-fin rays 16–17, rays 11–12 (from uppermost ray) noticeably longer than rest in smallest four type specimens; caudal-fin rays 25–27; vertebrae 24 (8 precaudal + 16 caudal); spines on suborbital ridge 4 (rarely 5); secondary suborbital ridge spines absent; two prominent round to oblong pores in suborbital sensory canal immediately ventral to suborbital ridge; coronal, interorbital, upper post temporal and postorbital spines absent; lateral line incomplete, 8-10 pored scales extending from behind supracleithral spine to mid body; cirri associated with nasal, supraocular, and parietal spines and present on posteroventral projection of lacrimal and upper left quadrant of orbit; no cirri associated with postocular, tympanic, supracleithral, and lower posttemporal spines; body relatively elongate, depth at origin of dorsal fin 30–32% SL, depth at caudal peduncle 9–10% SL. Color in life bright orange-red with several reddish-brown bars on posterior portion of trunk; pectoral fin with vivid yellow spots interspersed with bright orange-red spots.



Distribution: Known from Curaçao and Bonaire in the southern Caribbean, and Dominica in the Windward Islands, eastern Caribbean.

Habitat: Collected off Curaçao at 95–160 m on rocky substrata. Off Dominica, USNM 438436 was collected on a vertical rock wall.

Etymology: Named in honor of Barry Brown, Substation Curaçao and free-lance photographer (www.coralreefphotos.com), who has patiently, diligently, and expertly taken photographs of hundreds of fishes and invertebrates captured alive by DROP investigators. He has generously shared his photographs, and they have enhanced numerous scientific and educational publications. An example of his work is here featured in Fig. 2A.

Common name: Stellate Scorpionfish, in reference to the yellow, stellate chromatophores on the pectoral fin in life and the radiating pigment markings accentuating the eye. Spanish common name: Escorpión Estrellado.

 Carole C. Baldwin, Diane E. Pitassy and D. Ross Robertson. 2016. A New Deep-Reef Scorpionfish (Teleostei, Scorpaenidae, Scorpaenodes) from the southern Caribbean with Comments on Depth Distributions and Relationships of western Atlantic Members of the Genus.
ZooKeys. 606: 141-158. DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.606.8590


[Herpetology • 2016] Parallel Selective Pressures Drive Convergent Diversification of Phenotypes in Pythons and Boas


Figure 1: Convergent ecological guilds in pythons and boas. Examples of pythons and boas that display a similar micro-habitat or guild and look phenotypically similar. Species pairs from top to bottom and left to right along with the author of the photograph are as follows. 
Arboreal: 
Morelia viridis (John Rummel) and Corallus caninus (Pedro Bernardo). Semi-arboreal: Simalia kinghorni (Kieran Palmer) and Chilabothrus angulifer (Milan Kořínek).  Terrestrial: Antaresia childreni (Dan Lynch) and Epicrates maurus (Esteban Alzate).  Semiaquatic: Liasis mackloti (George Cruiser) and Eunectes murinus (Marcio Lisa/Txai Studios). Semi-fossorial: Aspidites ramsayi (Steve Wilson) and Lichanura trivirgatta (Pedro Bernardo). 

Abstract

Pythons and boas are globally distributed and distantly related radiations with remarkable phenotypic and ecological diversity. We tested whether pythons, boas and their relatives have evolved convergent phenotypes when they display similar ecology. We collected geometric morphometric data on head shape for 1073 specimens representing over 80% of species. We show that these two groups display strong and widespread convergence when they occupy equivalent ecological niches and that the history of phenotypic evolution strongly matches the history of ecological diversification, suggesting that both processes are strongly coupled. These results are consistent with replicated adaptive radiation in both groups. We argue that strong selective pressures related to habitat-use have driven this convergence. Pythons and boas provide a new model system for the study of macro-evolutionary patterns of morphological and ecological evolution and they do so at a deeper level of divergence and global scale than any well-established adaptive radiation model systems.

Keywords: Adaptive radiation, ecomorphology, henophidia, snakes.

Figure 1: Convergent ecological guilds in pythons and boas. Examples of pythons and boas that display a similar micro-habitat or guild and look phenotypically similar. Species pairs from top to bottom and left to right along with the author of the photograph are as follows.
 Arboreal: Morelia viridis (John Rummel) and Corallus caninus (Pedro Bernardo). Semi-arboreal: Simalia kinghorni (Kieran Palmer) and Chilabothrus angulifer (Milan Kořínek).  Terrestrial: Antaresia childreni (Dan Lynch) and Epicrates maurus (Esteban Alzate).  Semiaquatic: Liasis mackloti (George Cruiser) and Eunectes murinus (Marcio Lisa/Txai Studios). Semi-fossorial: Aspidites ramsayi (Steve Wilson) and Lichanura trivirgatta (Pedro Bernardo).

Damien Esquerré and J. Scott Keogh. 2016. Parallel Selective Pressures Drive Convergent Diversification of Phenotypes in Pythons and Boas. Ecology Letters. 19: 800–809. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12620 



[Ichthyology • 2016] Genetic and Phenotypic Diversity in the Wedgefish Rhynchobatus australiae, A Threatened Ray of High Value in the Shark Fin Trade


Fig. 7. Examples of colour variation in Rhynchobatus australiae for the most common combination of phenotypic variables in 3 specimens of increasing size (phenotype A, bottom and middle; phenotype C, top)

Abstract
Rhynchobatus spp. (wedgefishes) are large benthopelagic shark-like rays with fins that are highly prized in the international shark fin trade. They are among the most threatened groups of sharks and rays globally. While Rhynchobatus spp. are known to be under considerable fishing pressure as a group, taxonomic confusion among species within the genus has compromised species-specific fishery and demographic data that are urgently needed for developing effective management strategies. Rhynchobatus australiae (Whitley, 1939) is a large Indo-West Pacific species reaching 2 to 3 m that is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. This study combines new empirical data from field surveys with data obtained from verified reference specimens to investigate genetic and phenotypic variation in R. australiae and its relative incidence in fisheries. R. australiae dominated Rhynchobatus catch in fisheries surveys across Southeast Asia, and was the most commonly recorded species of the genus in Australia (94% and 58% of captures respectively, n = 207). Study specimens were consistent with a single species with moderate spatial mtDNA variation (ΦST = 0.198, p < 0.0001). We show that R. australiae can be reliably differentiated from other Indo-Pacific species with nadh2 (1044bp), and a section of the control region (456bp) short enough to amplify DNA from processed fins in international trade. We document aspects of morphological variability to assist in the description of external characters that differentiate this species. This is the first range-wide intraspecific study on any wedgefish species, and provides the most complete synthesis of mtDNA data to date for identifying Rhynchobatus fins in the global shark fin trade.

KEY WORDS: Wedgefishes · Rays · Shark fin trade · Phylogeography · Southeast Asia

Fig. 7. Examples of colour variation in Rhynchobatus australiae for the most common combination of phenotypic variables in 3 specimens of increasing size (phenotype A, bottom and middle; phenotype C, top) 

  Jenny L Giles, Cynthia Riginos, Gavin Naylor, Dharmadi Dharmadi and Jennifer Robyn Ovenden. 2016. Genetic and Phenotypic Diversity in the Wedgefish Rhynchobatus australiae, A Threatened Ray of High Value in the Shark Fin Trade. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 548. DOI: 10.3354/meps11617

[Paleontology • 2016] Murusraptor barrosaensis • A New Megaraptoran Dinosaur (Theropoda, Megaraptoridae) from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia


Murusraptor barrosaensis  
Coria & Currie, 2016

Abstract

A skeleton discovered in the Upper Cretaceous Sierra Barrosa Formation (Turonian-Coniacian) of Neuquén Province, Argentina represents a new species of theropod dinosaur related to the long snouted, highly pneumatized Megaraptoridae. The holotype specimen of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen et n.sp. (MCF-PVPH-411) includes much of the skull, axial skeleton, pelvis and tibia. Murusraptor is unique in having several diagnostic features that include anterodorsal process of lacrimal longer than height of preorbital process, and a thick, shelf-like thickening on the lateral surface of surangular ventral to the groove between the anterior surangular foramen and the insert for the uppermost intramandibular process of the dentary. Other characteristic features of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen. et n. sp.include a large mandibular fenestra, distal ends of caudal neural spines laterally thickened into lateral knob-like processes, short ischia distally flattened and slightly expanded dorsoventrally. Murusraptor belongs to a Patagonian radiation of megaraptorids together with Aerosteon, Megaraptor and Orkoraptor. In spite being immature, it is a larger but more gracile animal than existing specimens of Megaraptor, and is comparable in size with Aerosteon and Orkoraptor. The controversial phylogeny of the Megaraptoridae as members of the Allosauroidea or a clade of Coelurosauria is considered analyzing two alternative data sets.

Systematic Paleontology

Dinosauria Owen, 1842
Theropoda Marsh, 1881

Tetanurae Gauthier, 1986
Megaraptora Benson, Carrano, Brusatte, 2010
Megaraptoridae Novas, Agnolin, Ezcurra, Porfiri, Canale 2013

Murusraptor barrosaensis new genus, new species

Etymology: Murus” is a Latin term for “wall”, referring to the discovery of the specimen in the wall of a canyon; “barrosaensis” alludes to Sierra Barrosa, the locality where it was collected.

Holotype: Partial skeleton (Museo Carmen Funes MCF-PVPH-411) includes a complete braincase, lacrimal, prefrontal, postorbital, quadrate, pterygoid, ectopterygoid, teeth, twelve vertebrae, eleven thoracic ribs, one haemal arch, several gastralia, a manual ungual, complete left ilium, part of right ilium, proximal ends of the pubes, distal ends of the ischia, the right tibia, and a calcaneum (Fig 1).

Fig 1. A) Skull reconstruction of Murusraptor barrosaensis, MCF-PVPH-411. B) Body reconstruction
Both illustrations show recovered elements in white. Scale bars: A = 10 cm, B = 1 m.   DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157973

Fig 3. Field photos of the excavation of MCF-PVPH-411 (Murusraptor barrosaensis).
A and B, the authors excavating the right ilium. C-F, different appendicular elements in their original burial positions before collection.

Diagnosis: Murusraptor barrosaensis is unique in having anterodorsal process of lacrimal longer than height of preorbital process, and a thick, shelf-like thickening on the lateral surface of surangular ventral to the groove between the anterior surangular foramen and the insert for the uppermost intramandibular process of the dentary. Two other characters are only known in Murusraptor; sacral ribs hollow and tubelike; short ischia distally flattened and slightly expanded dorsoventrally. These characters are equivocal because they are unknown in other members of the clade. Also, the following combination of diagnostic characters was obtained after running the phylogenetic analysis using TNT: Character 95, basipterygoid processes of the basisphenoid located anteroventrally, with basisphenoid recess opening posterodorsally (also present in coelophysids); Character 98, basisphenoid with a shallow embayment indentation between basal tubera and basipterygoid processes (also present in Cryolophosaurus and basal theropods); Character 216, rather straight chevrons (reversal to the plesiomorphic condition).



Rodolfo A. Coria and Philip J. Currie. 2016.  A New Megaraptoran Dinosaur (Dinosauria, Theropoda, Megaraptoridae) from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia. PLoS ONE. 11(7): e0157973. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157973

Another Brick in the “Murus”: Meet the newest Megaraptoran theropod, Murusraptor http://blogs.plos.org/paleocomm/2016/07/20/another-brick-in-the-murus-meet-the-newest-megaraptoran-theropod-murusraptor

[Herpetology • 2016] Sitana marudhamneydhal • A New Species of Sitana Cuvier, 1829 from Tamil Nadu, southern India


Sitana marudhamneydhal  
Deepak, Khandekar, Varma & Chaitanya, 2016

Photo: Thalavai Pandi
 
DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4139.2.2

Abstract

A new species of Sitana to the ponticeriana group is described herein from southern Tamil Nadu, India. Sitana marudhamneydhal sp. nov. is most similar to Sitana visiri, from which it differs in body scalation and dewlap size. Much like Sitana visiri, the breeding of this species coincides with the North-East monsoon rains (October to December), an adaptation related to its geographic location which receives higher rainfall during the North-East monsoon than the South-West monsoon.

Keywords: Reptilia, India, new species, Sitana



A. Kallidaikurichi B. Kanyakumari
  photos: Surya Narayanan

Type locality: Kallidaikurichi, Tirunelveli

"....My team and I have named a species of fan-throated lizard (Sitana marudhamneydhal) occuring in two of these landscapes. Marudhamneydhal a combination of two words Marudham (மருதம்) = cultivable grasslands, Neydhal (நெய்தல்) = land by the seashore. ..."


V. Deepak, Akshay Khandekar, Sandeep Varma and R. Chaitanya. 2016. Description of A New Species of Sitana Cuvier, 1829 from southern India.
Zootaxa. 4139(2); 167–182.