Thursday, April 19, 2018

[PaleoMammalogy • 2018] Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai • A New Large Squalodelphinid (Cetacea, Odontoceti) from Peru Sheds Light on the Early Miocene Platanistoid Disparity and Ecology

Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai  
Bianucci, Bosio, Malinverno, de Muizon, Villa, Urbina & Lambert, 2018

   DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172302 

The South Asian river dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is the only extant survivor of the large clade Platanistoidea, having a well-diversified fossil record from the Late Oligocene to the Middle Miocene. Based on a partial skeleton collected from the Chilcatay Formation (Chilcatay Fm; southern coast of Peru), we report here a new squalodelphinid genus and species, Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai. A volcanic ash layer, sampled near the fossil, yielded the 40Ar/39Ar age of 18.78 ± 0.08 Ma (Burdigalian, Early Miocene). The phylogenetic analysis places Macrosqualodelphis as the earliest branching squalodelphinid. Combined with several cranial and dental features, the large body size (estimated body length of 3.5 m) of this odontocete suggests that it consumed larger prey than the other members of its family. Together with Huaridelphis raimondii and Notocetus vanbenedeni, both also found in the Chilcatay Fm, this new squalodelphinid further demonstrates the peculiar local diversity of the family along the southeastern Pacific coast, possibly related to their partition into different dietary niches. At a wider geographical scale, the morphological and ecological diversity of squalodelphinids confirms the major role played by platanistoids during the Early Miocene radiation of crown odontocetes.

KEYWORDS: Odontoceti, Squalodelphinidae, Early Miocene, Peru, phylogeny, palaeoecology

Systematic palaeontology
Cetacea Brisson, 1762
Neoceti Fordyce and Muizon, 2001

Odontoceti Flower, 1867
Platanistoidea Gray, 1863
Squalodelphinidae Dal Piaz, 1917

Type genus. Squalodelphis Dal Piaz, 1917

Other genera included. Huaridelphis, Medocinia, Notocetus, Phocageneus.

Macrosqualodelphis, gen. nov.

Etymology. From ‘Macro’, large, and ‘Squalodelphis’ the type genus of the family. Gender masculine.

Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai, sp. nov.

Holotype and only referred specimen. MUSM 2545 consists of a skull lacking the anterior portion of the rostrum, the ear bones, both mandibles and the hyoid bones. The ventralmost portion of the rostrum and of the basicranium is worn along a plane slightly anterodorsally sloping with respect to the horizontal plane of the skull (erupted portion of maxillary teeth, basioccipital crests, ventral part of exoccipitals and postglenoid processes of squamosals missing). MUSM 2545 also preserves three detached anterior teeth; the atlas, two thoracic, two lumbar and eight caudal vertebrae; the left humerus, radius and incomplete ulna; one phalanx and one metacarpal; and two small fragments of ribs.

Type locality. About 3 km south of the fossiliferous Cerro Colorado locality, Western Ica Valley, Ica Region, southern Peru. 710 m above sea level. The holotype was discovered and collected by one of the authors (M.U.).

Etymology. From ‘Uku Pacha’ (Uku = withininsidePacha = Earth), the Inca lower world, located below the Earth's surface, in reference to the discovery of the specimen buried in sediment.

Figure 16. Skeletal remains and inferred body outline of the squalodelphinids from the early Burdigalian of the Chilcatay Fm (Pisco Basin, Peru) and skeletal and body outline of the extant P. gangetica. Body lengths based on the Pyenson & Sponberg [2011] equation for the fossils and on Jefferson et al. [2008] for the extant P. gangetica.

Cranium of the holotype (MUSM 2545) of Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai, from the early Burdigalian of the Chilcatay Fm (Pisco Basin, Peru).

Figure 3. (a) Dorsal view; (b) corresponding explanatory line drawing;   Linear hatching indicates major breaks and cross-hatching areas covered by the sediment.
Figure 4. (a) Ventral view; (b) corresponding explanatory line drawing;  Linear hatching indicates major breaks, cross-hatching areas covered by the sediment and dark shading worn surface.
Figure 5. (a) Right lateral view; (b) corresponding explanatory line drawing; (c) left lateral view. Cross-hatching indicates supporting frame.

Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai is a new species of the extinct platanistoid family Squalodelphinidae based on a well-preserved partial skeleton collected from the Early Miocene (ca 19–18 Ma) fossiliferous beds of the Chilcatay Fm outcropping in the Western Ica Valley (southern coast of Peru). The age of this skeleton is further constrained via 40Ar/39Ar dating of a local volcanic ash layer to 18.78 ± 0.08 Ma (early Burdigalian).

Our phylogenetic analysis supports the referral of M. ukupachai to the monophyletic family Squalodelphinidae, of which it constitutes the earliest diverging lineage.

The main distinctive character of M. ukupachai is its large size: its estimated TBL is approximately 3.5 m, significantly larger than all other known squalodelphinids, including N. vanbenedeni (2.5 m) and H. raimondii (2.0 m), both also found in the Chilcatay Fm. Combined with cranial and dental features (robust rostrum less tapered than in other squalodelphinids, large temporal fossa, prominent nuchal and temporal crests, and more robust teeth), the large body size of M. ukupachai suggests that this squalodelphinid was able to prey upon larger prey items. Consequently, M. ukupachai would have been positioned higher along the local trophic chain than the roughly contemporaneous N. vanbenedeni and H. raimondii. Therefore, it is suggested that the squalodelphinid diversity, both locally and worldwide, could be related to their partition into different dietary niches, as is observed in the extant delphinids.

This new record further illustrates the first, Early Miocene, broad radiation of crown odontocetes in marine environments, with a major contribution of homodont platanistoids. This Early Miocene morphological and ecological diversification of platanistoids (including squalodelphinids) was followed by the radiation of delphinidans (porpoises, true dolphins and relatives) during the Middle–Late Miocene. The only extant survivor of the platanistoid ‘golden age’ is the endangered South Asian river dolphin P. gangetica, confined in freshwater ecosystems of the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra river basins.

Giovanni Bianucci, Giulia Bosio, Elisa Malinverno, Christian de Muizon, Igor M. Villa, Mario Urbina and Olivier Lambert. 2018. A New Large Squalodelphinid (Cetacea, Odontoceti) from Peru Sheds Light on the Early Miocene Platanistoid Disparity and Ecology. Royal Society Open Science. 5(4)  DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172302

[Marine Mammal • 2018] Large Dugong (Dugong dugon) Aggregations Persist in coastal Qatar

Dugong dugon 
in Marshall, Al Ansi, Dupont, et al., 2018.
 DOI:  10.1111/mms.12497  

Dugongs (Dugong dugon) are large herbivorous marine mammals of the order Sirenia commonly referred to as sea cows. Due to their herbivorous diet, feeding and foraging dominate their natural history. Dugongs have evolved a specialized feeding apparatus for efficient grazing and processing of sea grass, which can occur by cropping blades or the excavation of roots and rhizomes (Marsh et al. 1999; Marshall et al. 2003; Lanyon and Sanson 2006a, b). The excavation of seagrasses results in signature benthic feeding trails in which 60%–90% of the vegetation may be removed (Heinsohn et al. 1977; Preen 1992, 1995; Marsh et al. 2011). Sediment plumes from dugong foraging are easily observed during aerial surveys. Due to their low reproductive output, dugongs are vulnerable to perturbations in their environment, such as habitat degradation, fisheries bycatch and contaminants (Baldwin and Cockcroft 1997, Marsh et al. 2011, Reynolds and Marshall 2012) from which populations may be slow to recover.

Dugongs of the Arabian Gulf are consistently referred to as the largest population outside Australia, and the Gulf has been cited as the most important region for dugongs in the western portion of their range (Marsh et al. 2002, 2011). These statements are based on extensive surveys conducted 30 yr ago in which the entire Arabian Gulf population was estimated at approximately 6,000 dugongs (Preen 1989, 2004; Preen et al. 2012). ....


Christopher D. Marshall, Mehsin Al Ansi, Jennifer Dupont, Christopher Warren, Ismail Al Shaikh and Joshua Cullen. 2018. Large Dugong (Dugong dugon) Aggregations Persist in coastal Qatar.  Marine Mammalogy. DOI:  10.1111/mms.12497  

Dugongs in the Arabian Gulf comprise the second largest population in the world.  Check out our new work in Mar Mamm Sci on persistent aggregations of dugongs off of NW Qatar …

Our article "Large Dugong (Dugong dugon) Aggregations Persist in Coastal Qatar" is publ in MarMammSci Early View. 500+ dugongs aggregate in NW Qatar seasonally-largest single group in the world. 1st known 30 yrs ago, this aggregation persists today @AggiesByTheSea @tamuresearch

[Ichthyology • 2018] Hemibrycon iqueima • A New Species of Hemibrycon (Characiformes, Characidae, Stevardiinae) from the upper Magdalena River Basin in Colombia

Hemibrycon iqueima 
García‐Melo, Albornoz‐Garzón, García‐Melo, Villa‐Navarro & Maldonado‐Ocampo, 2018

  DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13634 

Hemibrycon iqueima sp. nov., is described from small streams in the Magdalena drainage at the foothills of the western slope of the Eastern Cordillera of the Colombian Andes, Suarez municipality, Tolima Department, Colombia. The new species is distinguished from its congeners in the Magdalena–Cauca River basin by a combination of characters related to snout–anal‐fin origin length, head length, dorsal–pectoral fin distance, dorsal‐fin–hypural distance, postorbital distance, orbital diameter, snout length, number of total vertebrae, pre‐dorsal scales, scale rows between anal‐fin origin and lateral line, number of branched rays of the anal fin, maxillary teeth number and number and arrangement of hooks on the branched rays of the pectoral and dorsal fins. In addition, the validity of this species is supported by previous molecular analyses that included specimens of the new species that had been erroneously identified. Phylogenetic relationships between the new species and congeners from Pacific coast basins are discussed.

Key words: biodiversity; ichthyology; morphological visualization; Neotropical fishes; Stevardiinae; taxonomy

FIG. 1. Hemibrycon iqueima sp. nov., Quebrada Bacallá, upper Magdalena River basin, Suárez Municipality, Tolima Department, Colombia. Holotype CZTU-IC 16418, 57.3 mm standard length, preserved coloration.
(a) Lateral view, (b) dorsal view, (c) ventral view. Scale bar 10 mm.  

 FIG. 4. Lateral view of cleared and stained skeleton of Hemibrycon iqueima sp. nov. CZUT-IC 11920, 40.9 mm standard length. Scale bar 10 mm.

Hemibrycon iqueima sp. nov.

Distribution and habitat: Hemibrycon iqueima is known from three small tributaries (Batatas, Yeguas, Bacallá) in the upper Magdalena River basin, draining the western slope of the Eastern Cordillera (Figs 5 and 6).  

 Etymology: The specific epithet is a noun in apposition referring to Cacique Iqueima, a name belonging to the indigenous Los Panches and Tolimas tribes that inhabited the type locality region. The tribes inhabited land near to the Magdalena River south-west of Cundinamarca and north-east of Tolima. 

J. E. García‐Melo, J. G. Albornoz‐Garzón, L. J. García‐Melo, F. A. Villa‐Navarro and J. A. Maldonado‐Ocampo. 2018. A New Species of Hemibrycon (Characiformes, Characidae, Stevardiinae) from the upper Magdalena River Basin in Colombia. Journal of Fish Biology.  DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13634

[Botany • 2018] Three New Species of Begonia (section Baryandra, Begoniaceae) from Luzon Island, the Philippines; Begonia droseroides, B. gabaldonensis & B. madulidii

Begonia droseroides  C.I Peng, Rubite & C.W. Lin
 B. gabaldonensis, and B. madulidii Rubite, C.I Peng & C.W. Lin 

in Rubite, Peng, Chung, et al., 2018.


Luzon is the largest island of the Philippines, and because of its isolation from other landmasses it has developed a unique diversity of flora and fauna. Included in this rich biodiversity of flora are members of genus Begonia of the family Begoniaceae. In a joint expedition to the island, botanists from Taiwan and the Philippines found three unknown Begonia species and compared them with potentially allied species. The three species are clearly members of Begonia section Baryandra. Studies of literature, herbarium specimens, and living plants support the recognition of the three new speciesBegonia droseroidesB. gabaldonensis, and B. madulidii. This brings the total of Begonia species in section Baryandra to sixty-eight, of which 85.3% are endemic to the Philippines.

Keywords: sect. Baryandra, endemic, Luzon, Eudicots

 Rosario R. Rubite, Ching-I Peng, Kuo-Fang Chung, Che-Wei Lin, Luisito T. Evangelista, Danilo N. Tandang, John Rey C. Callado and Mark Hughes. 2018. Three New Species of Begonia (section Baryandra, Begoniaceae) from Luzon Island, the Philippines. Phytotaxa. 347(3); 201-212. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.347.3.1

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

[PaleoMammalogy • 2018] Toipahautea waitaki • A New Archaic Baleen Whale (early-Late Oligocene, New Zealand) and the Origins of Crown Mysticeti

Toipahautea waitaki   Tsai & Fordyce, 2018

Burial in the ancient sea of Zealandia: a Toipahautea whale skeleton is slowly covered by sand 27-28 million years ago, on its path to becoming a fossil 

 Reconstruction by Chris Gaskin, Geology Museum, University of Otago 

A new genus and species of extinct baleen whale, †Toipahautea waitaki (Late Oligocene, New Zealand) is based on a skull and associated bones, from the lower Kokoamu Greensand, about 27.5 Ma (local upper Whaingaroan Stage, early Chattian). The upper jaw includes a thin, elongate and apparently toothless maxilla, with evidence of arterial supply for baleen. Open sutures with the premaxilla suggest a flexible (kinetic) upper jaw. The blowhole is well forward. The mandible is bowed laterally and slightly dorsally; unlike the Eomysticetidae, there are no mandibular alveoli, and the coronoid process is tapered and curved laterally. Jaw structure is consistent with baleen-assisted gulp-feeding. The age of early Chattian makes †Toipahautea a very early, if not the oldest named, toothless and baleen-bearing mysticete, suggesting that the full transition from toothed to baleen-bearing probably occurred in the Early Oligocene. Late Oligocene mysticetes vary considerably in jaw form and kinesis, tooth form and function, and development of baleen, implying a wide range of raptorial, suctorial and filter-feeding behaviour. More study may elucidate the function of jaws, teeth and baleen in terms of opportunist/generalist feeding, as in modern gray whales, versus specialized feeding. We here propose that early mysticetes, when transitioned from toothed to baleen-bearing, were generalists and opportunists instead of specializing in any forms of feeding strategies. In addition, two different phylogenetic analyses placed †Toipahautea either in a polytomy including crown Mysticeti, or immediately basal to the crown, and above †Eomysticetidae in both cases. Because the †Toipahautea waitaki holotype is an immature individual, it may plot more basally in phylogeny than its true position.

Keywords: Cetacea, mysticete, feeding strategy, filter-feeding, specialist/generalist, opportunist

  initial preparation of †Toipahautea waitaki OU 21981 by A. Grebneff
 (photo: R.E. Fordyce)

Burial in the ancient sea of Zealandia: a Toipahautea whale skeleton is slowly covered by sand 27-28 million years ago, on its path to becoming a fossil

 Reconstruction by Chris Gaskin, Geology Museum, University of Otago 

Cetacea Brisson, 1762
Mysticeti Gray, 1864

Incertae familiae

Toipahautea waitaki gen. et. sp. nov 

Etymology. Toi means origin and pahautea refers to whalebone/baleen in Maori, alluding to the origin of the early toothless and baleen-bearing mysticetes. Waitaki is a name for the wider region, including the Waitaki River (wai, water or river; taki, tears) into which the smaller Hakataramea River drains.

 Holotype. Toipahautea waitaki is known only from the holotype, OU 21981: a disarticulated partial skull (parts of the maxillae and premaxillae, left nasal, frontals, squamosals, exoccipitals, basioccipital and supraoccipital), incomplete mandibles, left tympanic bulla and periotic, hyoid(?), atlas, axis, two thoracic vertebrae, two scapulae, a partial humerus, two radii and ribs. Most of the elements were disarticulated but associated when excavated.

Diagnosis. Toipahautea waitaki is interpreted as a chaeomysticete based on the presence of ‘baleen’ sulci on the ventral surface of the maxilla and lack of mandibular alveoli. †Toipahautea waitaki has a unique combination of: massive size of periotic; well-developed superior process of the periotic; prominent elongation of dorsomedial margin of the internal acoustic meatus; prominent fissure between the fenestra rotunda and the aperture for the cochlear aqueduct; small medial posterior sulcus; the presence of the anteroexternal foramen; the presence of the sigmoidal cavity; the presence of the elliptical foramen; horizontal sigmoidal cleft far anterior than the anterior margin of the sigmoidal process; posteromedial margin of the bulla orienting slightly anteromedially.

Locality and horizon. OU 21981 (field number REF- was recovered from the Hakataramea Valley, South Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand (figure 1). ....


Cheng-Hsiu Tsai and R. Ewan Fordyce. 2018. A New Archaic Baleen Whale,Toipahautea waitaki (early-Late Oligocene, New Zealand) and the Origins of Crown Mysticeti.   R. Soc. Open Sci. 5: 172453.  DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172453

Whale of a discovery: NZ's ancient (and extinct) ocean mammal, via @nzherald

[Plankton • 2018] Syracosphaera azureaplaneta sp. nov. and Revision of Syracosphaera corolla Lecal, 1966

Syracosphaera azureaplaneta
 Young, Bown, Cros, Hagino & Jordan, 2018

Here we show that the extant coccolithophore Syracosphaera corolla Lecal, 1966 comprises two consistently different non-intergrading morphotypes characterised respectively by exothecal coccoliths with wide and narrow central-areas. These are interpreted as separate species and so a new species is described, Syracosphaera azureaplaneta, and a revised description is given for S. corolla.

Keywords Coccolithophores, Syracosphaera, extent

Syracosphaera azureaplaneta sp. nov.

Synonymy: Syracosphaera corolla (Lecal, 1966); Okada & McIntyre, 1977, pl. 6, figs 1-2; Nishida, 1979, pl.6, fig. 4; Winter & Siesser, 1994, fig. 107; Young et al., 2003, pl. 19, figs 14-15; Malinverno et al., 2008, fig. 76.
Umbellosphaera corolla (Lecal, 1966) Gaarder in Heimdal & Gaarder, 1981, pl. 6, figs 53, 57.
Gaarderia corolla (Lecal, 1966) Kleijne, 1993, pl.6, fig. 3-5; Cros & Fortuño, 2002 fig. 29 A. 

Derivation of name: From Latin azureusblue (adjective, feminine form azurea), and planetaplanet (noun, feminine). Named for the BBC documentary series Blue Planet in recognition of its work and that of its presenter, Sir David Attenborough, in promoting understanding of the marine realm. 

Distribution. Sazureaplaneta has a very broad distribution occurring from the tropics to the sub-arctic and in all the major oceans.

Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Lluisa Cros, Kyoko Hagino and Richard W. Jordan. 2018. Syracosphaera azureaplaneta sp. nov. and Revision of Syracosphaera corolla Lecal, 1966. J. Nannoplankton Res. 38(1),  

New ocean plankton species named after BBC's Blue Planet series via @uclnews

[Cnidaria • 2018] Tempuractis rinkai • First Detailed Record of Symbiosis Between a Sea Anemone (Anthozoa: Actiniaria: Edwardsiidae) and Homoscleromorph Sponge

Tempuractis rinkai  Izumi, Ise & Yanagi, 2018

in Izumi, Ise, Yanagi, Shibata & Ueshima, 2018.  
 DOI:  10.2108/zs170042 

A new species in a new genus of sea anemone, Tempuractis rinkai gen. et sp. nov., was discovered at several localities along the temperate rocky shores of Japan. The new species is approximately 4 mm in length and has been assigned to family Edwardsiidae, because it has eight macrocnemes, lacks sphincter and basal muscles, and possesses rounded aboral end. The sea anemone, however, also has a peculiar body shape unlike that of any other known taxa. This new species resembles some genera, especially Drillactis and Nematostella, in smooth column surface without nemathybomes or tenaculi, but is distinguishable from them by several morphological features: the presence of holotrichs and absence of nematosomes. Furthermore, this edwardsiid species exhibits a peculiar symbiotic ecology with sponges. Therefore, a new genus, Tempuractis, is proposed for this species. In the field, T. rinkai sp. nov. was always found living inside homosclerophorid sponge of the genus Oscarella, which suggests a possible obligate symbiosis between Porifera and Actiniaria. The benefit of this symbiosis is discussed on the basis of observations of live specimens, both in the aquarium and field. This is the first report of symbiosis between a sea anemone and a homoscleromorph sponge.

KEYWORDSJapan; edwardsiid; intertidal; marine invertebrates; overhang; species description; symbiotic relationship; taxonomy; transmission electron microscopy (TEM)

External view of Tempuractis rinkai gen. et sp. nov. and its host sponge Oscarella sp. collected from Misaki, Kanagawa,
including a holotype (NSMT-Co 1573) and four paratypes (CMNH-ZG 08969 to 08972).

Order ACTINIARIA Hertwig, 1882 
Family Edwardsiidae Andres, 1881 

Tempuractis gen. nov. 
Izumi, Ise and Yanagi
(Japanese name: tempura-isoginchaku-zoku)

Etymology. Tempura is a deep-fried, batter-coated nugget of seafood and/or vegetables in Japanese cuisine. This word comprises the first half of the Japanese name of the type species of this genus, as the shape of the actiniarian when embedded in a sponge tissue resembles shrimp tempura. The siffix -actis is commonly used in actiniarian genus names, meaning radiation of sunshine in Greek. The new genus name is feminine in gender.

Tempuractis rinkai sp. nov. 
Izumi, Ise and Yanagi, 2018
(New Japanese name: tempura-isoginchaku)

Etymology. The species epithet is dedicated to marine biological stations around Japan. The first specimens of this species were collected from a rocky shore in front of the Misaki Marine Biological Station (the University of Tokyo). This station is called “Misaki rinkai jikkenjo” in Japanese (“rinkai” means seaside and “jikkennjo” means research facility). Other specimens were collected during a subsequent faunistic survey in collaboration with other marine biological stations: Sugashima Marine Biological Laboratory (Nagoya University) and Sado Marine Biological Station (Niigata University).

図1.今回の記載に用いられたテンプライソギンチャクTempuractis rinkai gen. et sp. nov.(三崎新井浜海岸産)。 a:ノリカイメン科の1種Oscarella sp.(中央のベージュ色のかたまり。全体で1個体)の中に群生している本種。生時は、触手のみをカイメンから出している。 b:テンプライソギンチャク1個体が、カイメンの鞘状構造の中に棲息している。刺激を与えないように観察すると、図の矢印が示す通り徐々に触手を出す

Takato Izumi, Yuji Ise, Kensuke Yanagi, Daisuke Shibata and Rei Ueshima. 2018. First Detailed Record of Symbiosis Between a Sea Anemone and Homoscleromorph Sponge, With a Description of Tempuractis rinkai gen. et sp. nov. (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Actiniaria: Edwardsiidae). Zoological Science. 35(2); 188-198. DOI:  10.2108/zs170042

カイメンと共生する新属新種のイソギンチャク - 東京大学 大学院理学系研究科・理学部


[Herpetology • 2018] Leptolalax macrops • A New Species of the Genus Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from southern Vietnam

Leptolalax macrops 
Duong, Do, Ngo, Nguyen & Poyarkov, 2018


 We describe a new species of megophryid frog from Phu Yen Province in southern Vietnam. Leptolalax macrops sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following morphological attributes: (1) body size medium (SVL 28.0–29.3 mm in three adult males, 30.3 mm in single adult female); (2) supra-axillary glands present, creamy white; ventrolateral glands indistinct; (3) tympanum externally distinct; (4) dorsal skin roughly granular with larger tubercles, dermal ridges on dorsum absent; (5) rudimentary webbing present between fingers I–II and II–III; rudimentary webbing between all toes; fingers and toes without dermal fringes; (6) in life ventral surface greyish-violet with white speckling; (7) supratympanic fold distinct, dark brown in life; (8) iris bicolored, typically golden in upper half, fading to golden green in lower half; (9) tibia short (TbL/SVL 0.44–0.45 in males); and (10) eyes large and protuberant (ED/SVL 0.15–0.16 in males). From all congeners for which comparable sequences are available, the new species differs markedly in the 16S rRNA mitochondrial gene sequence (P-distance>5.7%). The new species is currently known only from montane evergreen tropical forests of Song Hinh District, Phu Yen Province, and M’Drak District of Dak Lak Province at elevations of 470–630 m a.s.l. We suggest the new species should be considered as Data Deficient following the IUCN’s Red List categories. We also report a previously unknown Leptolalax mtDNA lineage from an evergreen tropical forest in the Hoa Thinh District of Phu Yen Province, which may also represent an undescribed species.

Keywords: Leptolalax macrops sp. nov.; Phu Yen Province; Dak Lak Province; Southern coastal region of Vietnam

Figure 5: Male paratype of Leptolalax macrops sp. nov. (IEBR A.2017.9) in life (Photo taken in situ. Photo by Dang Trong Do)

Leptolalax macrops sp. nov.
 Chresonymy: Leptolalax sp. [molecular lineage 7] — Rowley et al., 2015a: 10, 12.

Etymology: Specific epithet “macrops” is a noun in the nominative case, derived from Greek “macros” for “large” and “ops” for “eye”, in reference to its comparatively large eye size. 

Recommended vernacular names: We recommend “Big-eyed Litter Frog” as the common English name of the new species and the common name in Vietnamese as “Cóc mày mắt to”

Figure 5: Male paratype of Leptolalax macrops sp. nov. (IEBR A.2017.9) in life.
Figure 6: Typical habitat (A) and microhabitat (B) of Leptolalax macrops sp. nov. in type locality: Suoi Khi Stream, Hon Den Mt., Ea Ly and Ea Trol commune border, Song Hinh District, Phu Yen Province, Vietnam
 (Photos by Dang Trong Do)

Tang Van Duong, Dang Trong Do, Chung Dac Ngo, Truong Quang Nguyen and Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Jr. 2018. A New Species of the Genus Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from southern Vietnam. ZOOLOGICAL RESEARCH. 38(3); 1-16. DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.009

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

[Ornithology • 2018] Distinctive Courtship Phenotype of the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise Lophorina niedda Mayr, 1930 Confirms New Species Status

Cape presentation display of superba and niedda. The visual form of this display is the quintessential feature of courtship in the genus Lophorina

(A, C, E) Lophorina superba (Forster, 1781)
(B, D, F) Lophorina niedda Mayr, 1930

in Scholes​ & Laman, 2018. 
   DOI:  10.7717/peerj.4621 

Lophorina niedda Mayr, 1930

The birds-of-paradise (Aves: Paradisaeidae) are a quintessential example of elaborate ornamental diversification among animals. Ornamental evolution in the birds-of-paradise is exemplified by the presence of a highly integrated courtship phenotype, which is the whole package of plumage ornaments, behaviors and sounds that each species uses during courtship. Characterizing a species’ courtship phenotype is therefore a key part of evolutionary and taxonomic investigation in the group. With its unprecedented transmogrification from bird-like form into something abstract and otherworldly, the courtship phenotype of the Superb Bird-of-Paradise, Lophorina superba, is one of the most remarkable of all. Recent research by Irestedt et al. (2017) suggests that the genus Lophorina is not a single species but is likely a complex of three allopatric species spanning the island of New Guinea: L. niedda in the Bird’s Head Peninsula of the west, L. superba throughout the central cordillera and L. minor in the Papuan Peninsula of the east. Of these, niedda is the most phenotypically divergent with plumage traits hypothesized to possibly produce differences in ornamental appearance during display. However, the whole courtship phenotype of niedda has not been documented and so the actual extent of differences in ornamental appearance during courtship remain unknown. Here we analyze the first audiovisual recordings of niedda and compare its courtship phenotype with superba to test the hypothesis of potential differences in ornamental appearance. Our main goals are to: (1) provide the first description of the courtship phenotype of niedda in the wild, (2) determine if and how the niedda courtship phenotype differs from superba and (3) evaluate any uncovered differences in light of niedda’s newly recognized species status. Our secondary goal is to provide a more thorough characterization of courtship phenotype diversity within the genus Lophorina to facilitate future comparative study within the genus and family. Results show that the niedda courtship phenotype differs substantially from superba in numerous aspects of ornamental appearance, display behavior and sound. We highlight six key differences and conclude that the new species status of niedda is corroborated by the distinctly differentiated ornamental features documented here. With full species status, niedda becomes the fourth endemic bird-of-paradise to the Bird’s Head region of Indonesian New Guinea (i.e., the Vogelkop Peninsula), a fact that underscores the importance of this region as a center of endemic biodiversity worthy of enhanced conservation protection.

Figure 4: Pointing display of niedda as viewed by a female. The white arrow points to a female plumaged bird (and presumed female) observing the male on his display log. Note how the breast shield remains sleeked against the breast and is effectively invisible—its lateral tips concealed (shadowed) by the protruding “wings” of the cape. In this context, the eye-spots reflect so brightly relative to the super-black plumage of the rest of the male that they look like a pair of headlights “shining” toward the female. This “headlight pose” with the wing-like cape results in a very different appearance from the pointing display of superba. Image credit/source: Tim Laman/ML487540. 

Figure 5: Cape presentation display of superba and niedda. The visual form of this display is the quintessential feature of courtship in the genus Lophorina. In both superba and niedda (A and B), cape-flapping increases in intensity. In niedda (B), the increase is greater because the wings are lifted higher over the back and then flicked open and shut in the exaggerated manner of superba. Simultaneously, the breast is thrust forward so that the breast shield becomes fully expanded and conspicuous with its reflective surface angled toward the approaching female. In superba (C), the cape is lifted into presentation position before to female arrives on the log. In L. niedda (D), wing-flick/cape-flaps continue for several more bouts after the female arrives and before the cape is put into presentation position. The appearance of the cape presentation phenotype differs dramatically between superba (E) and niedda (F).

 Image credit/source: (A, C and E) Edwin Scholes/ML458003, (B) Tim Laman/ML487538 (D and F) Tim Laman/ML487557.

Given the substantial differences in so many aspects of the niedda courtship phenotype combined with the acute geographic isolation of niedda populations from superba populations, leaves little doubt that niedda deserves full species status as proposed by Irestedt et al. (2017).
The species validity niedda underscores the importance of Indonesian New Guinea’ Bird’s Head and Bird’s Neck eco-regions (i.e., the Vogelkop Peninsula) as a center of endemic biodiversity that deserves particular attention from the conservation community. Among birds-of-paradise alone, L. niedda now joins the three other montane species endemic to the region (Astrapia nigraParadigalla longicuda, and Parotia sefilata) and opens the door for additional systematic scrutiny of the entire avifauna of the Bird’s Head (Vogeklop) region, including the other birds-of-paradise at middle and upper elevations (e.g., Drepanonris albertisi and Epimachus fastosus). Given that the Bird’s Head region was the first part of New Guinea to be ornithologically explored, and discovery of new species of birds-of-paradise was the main driver of exploration, it is surprising that the distinctive features of the niedda courtship phenotype, and therefore the species status of this unique population, have remained elusive for so long. Yet this fact underscores the need for continued exploration of New Guinea’s forests and further systematic investigation of all taxa, including those like the avifauna which are often considered to be relatively well known.

Edwin Scholes​ and Timothy G. Laman. 2018.   Distinctive Courtship Phenotype of the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise Lophorina niedda Mayr, 1930 Confirms New Species Status. PeerJ. 6:e4621.   DOI:  10.7717/peerj.4621

Martin Irestedt, Henrique Batalha-Filho, Per G. P. Ericson FLS, Les Christidis and Richard Schodde. 2017. Phylogeny, biogeography and taxonomic consequences in a bird-of-paradise species complex, LophorinaPtiloris (Aves: Paradisaeidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.  181(2); 439–470. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx004 

[Botany • 2018] Afropectinariella (Vandeae, Orchidaceae), A New Genus of the Angraecum Alliance

Afropectinariella doratophylla   (Summerh.) M.Simo & Stévart

in Simo-Droissart, Sonké, Droissart & Stévart, 2018.

photo: Tariq Stévart

A recent phylogenetic study showed that species assigned to the newly recognised genus Pectinariella Szlach., Mytnik & Grochocka (previously treated as Angraecum Bory sect. Pectinaria Benth.) are polyphyletic, comprising a clade with species primarily in Madagascar and the Western Indian Ocean islands (including the type) and another non-sister clade whose members occur in continental Africa and the Gulf of Guinea islands. In order to render Pectinariella monophyletic, the five continental African species must therefore be removed. A new genusAfropectinariella M.Simo & Stévart, is described and the following combinations are made: Afropectinariella atlantica (Stévart & Droissart) M.Simo & Stévart, Afropectinariella doratophylla (Summerh.) M.Simo & Stévart, Afropectinariella gabonensis (Summerh.) M.Simo & Stévart, Afropectinariella pungens (Schltr.) M.Simo & Stévart and Afropectinariella subulata (Lindl.) M.Simo & Stévart.

Keywords: Angraecoid orchids, continental Africa, Malagasy and Indian Ocean islands, Pectinaria, phylogenetics, taxonomy

Afropectinariella M.Simo & Stévart, gen. nov.
 Type: Afropectinariella doratophylla (Summerh.) M.Simo & Stévart
[≡ Angraecum doratophyllum Summerh.].

Etymology: The name of the genus is based on the geographic distribution of its five species, all of which occur in Africa and the generic name Pectinariella in which they were previously placed.

Diagnosis: Afropectinariella resembles the related genera Dolabrifolia and Pectinariella in having a sessile ovary, i.e. without a pedicel and with a very short peduncle that is hardly developed, but differs from Dolabrifolia by its elongate leaves that are never compressed laterally (vs. imbricate and laterally compressed) and from Pectinariella by its transversely oval lip that is wider than long (vs. the lip longer that wide) and its occurrence in continental Africa and Gulf of Guinea islands (vs. Madagascar and adjacent islands).

Afropectinariella atlantica (Stévart & Droissart) M.Simo & Stévart, comb. nov.
 Angraecum atlanticum Stévart et al. (2010: 253). 

Type: Equatorial Guinea (Rio Muni). Monte Alén National Park: Engong inselberg, ....

Afropectinariella doratophylla (Summerh.) M.Simo & Stévart, comb. nov .  
Angraecum doratophyllum Summerhayes (1937: 465). 

Type: São Tomé and Príncipe (São Tomé Island) Vanhulst (Macambrará): virgin forest, 1,050–1,200 m alt., ....

Afropectinariella gabonensis (Summerh.) M.Simo & Stévart, comb. nov.
Angraecum gabonense Summerhayes (1954: 587). 
Type: Gabon. Upper Ngounyé River, Nimalaba, N. E. of Les Echiras, ....

Afropectinariella pungens (Schltr.) M.Simo & Stévart, comb. nov.
Angraecum pungens Schlechter (1906: 163). 
Type: Cameroon. Man O’War Bay, auf Baümen bei Kriegschiffhafen, ....

Afropectinariella subulata (Lindl.) M.Simo & Stévart, comb. nov. 
Angraecum subulatum Lindley (1837: 206). 
Type: Nigeria. Nun River: s. d., ....

 Murielle Simo-Droissart, Bonaventure Sonké, Vincent Droissart and Tariq Stévart. 2018. Afropectinariella (Vandeae, Orchidaceae), A New Genus of the Angraecum Alliance. PhytoKeys. 96: 79-86.   DOI:  10.3897/phytokeys.96.23933

Résumé: Une analyse phylogénétique récente a montré que les espèces attribuées au nouveau genre Pectinariella Szlach., Mytnik & Grochocka (anciennement Angraecum Bory sect. Pectinaria Benth.) forment un groupe polyphylétique, comprenant un clade avec des espèces présentes principalement à Madagascar et dans les îles de l'ouest de l'Océan Indien (incluant le type) et un autre clade qui ne lui est pas apparenté et dont les espèces sont distribuées en Afrique continentale et dans les îles du Golfe de Guinée. Afin de rétablir la monophylie du genre Pectinariella, les cinq espèces d’Afrique continentale et des îles du Golfe de Guinée doivent donc en être exclues. Un nouveau genre, Afropectinariella M.Simo & Stévart, est décrit et les combinaisons suivantes sont proposées: Afropectinariella atlantica (Stévart & Droissart) M.Simo & Stévart, Afropectinariella doratophylla (Summerh.) M.Simo & Stévart, Afropectinariella gabonensis (Summerh.) M.Simo & Stévart, Afropectinariella pungens (Schltr.) M.Simo & Stévart et Afropectinariella subulata (Lindl.) M.Simo & Stévart.