Friday, November 24, 2017

[Botany • 2017] Syzygium jiewhoei • A New Endemic Tree (Myrtaceae) from Western New Guinea, Indonesia

Syzygium jiewhoei
  Hambali, Sunarti & Y.W.Low 

 Gardens' Bulletin Singapore. 69(2)

Syzygium jiewhoei Hambali, Sunarti & Y.W.Low, a new species from Western New Guinea, Indonesia, is described and illustrated. It is closely related to Syzygium recurvovenosum (Lauterb.) Diels but differs in a range of vegetative and reproductive morphological characteristics.

Keywords. East Malesia, Papua Province, Sahul shelf, Syzygium recurvovenosum 

Fig. 1. Syzygium jiewhoei Hambali, Sunarti & Y.W.Low. 
A. Young leaves. B. Cauliflorous habit with many inflorescences at various stages. C. Close-up of inflorescences showing flowers at anthesis. D. Close-up of infructescence.
 All from type Hambali, G.G. s.n. (Photos: G.G. Hambali)

Syzygium jiewhoei Hambali, Sunarti & Y.W.Low, sp. nov. 

Similar to Syzygium recurvovenosum (Lauterb.) Diels but differs in having 90‒100 pairs of secondary veins (vs up to 55 pairs of secondary veins in S. recurvovenosum), 14‒16 cm long inflorescences with 13‒15 mm wide peduncles (vs up to 9 cm long and c. 3.5 mm wide in S. recurvovenosum), and 8‒18 mm long styles (vs 4 mm long in S. recurvovenosum).

 – TYPE: Native to Indonesia, Western New Guinea, Papua, Timika, Kuala Kencana, ..., vouchered on 3 July 2016 as Hambali, G.G. s.n. (holotype BO; isotype SING). 

Etymology. We are pleased to name this handsome tree, with foliage very much resembling that of Anthurium veitchii Mast. (Araceae), after Mr Tan Jiew Hoe, a benefactor of science who has a great interest in natural history, particularly in the fields of botany and horticulture (see Kurzweil & Lwin, 2014; Kiew et al., 2015; Leong-Škorničková & Newman, 2015; Lamb & Rodda, 2016). 

Distribution and habitat. Syzygium jiewhoei is so far known only from the lowland forests around the vicinity of Timika, Papua Province, Indonesian New Guinea. However, the species has now been introduced for cultivation as an ornamental tree in Bogor (Java, Indonesia) and Singapore (Fig. 3).

G.G. Hambali, S. Sunarti and Y.W. Low. 2017.  Syzygium jiewhoei (Myrtaceae), A New Endemic Tree from Western New Guinea, Indonesia. Gardens' Bulletin Singapore. 69(2);  201 - 210. 

[PaleoIchthyology • 2017] Eoanabas thibetana • Fossil Climbing Perch and Associated Plant Megafossils indicate A Warm and Wet Central Tibet During the late Oligocene

Eoanabas thibetana
Wu, Miao, Chang, Shi & Wang, 2017

Understanding the Tibetan Plateau’s palaeogeography and palaeoenvironment is critical for reconstructing Asia’s climatic history; however, aspects of the plateau’s uplift history remain unclear. Here, we report a fossil biota that sheds new light on these issues. It comprises a fossil climbing perch (Anabantidae) and a diverse subtropical fossil flora from the Chattian (late Oligocene) of central Tibet. The fish, Eoanabas thibetana gen. et sp. nov., is inferred to be closely related to extant climbing perches from tropical lowlands in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It has osteological correlates of a labyrinth organ, which in extant climbing perches gives them the ability to breathe air to survive warm, oxygen-poor stagnant waters or overland excursion under moist condition. This indicates that Eoanabas likewise lived in a warm and humid environment as suggested by the co-existing plant assemblage including palms and golden rain trees among others. As a palaeoaltimeter, this fossil biota suggests an elevation of ca. 1,000 m. These inferences conflict with conclusions of a high and dry Tibet claimed by some recent and influential palaeoaltimetry studies. Our discovery prompts critical re-evaluation of prevailing uplift models of the plateau and their temporal relationships with the Cenozoic climatic changes.

Systematic Palaeontology  

Teleostei Müller, 1845
Anabantiformes sensu Wiley and Johnson, 2010

Anabantoidei sensu Lauder and Liem, 1983
Anabantidae Bonaparte, 1839

Eoanabas thibetana gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology. The generic name combines ‘Eo-’ (Greek, early/primeval) with ‘Anabas’, the type genus of Anabantidae from tropical Asia. The specific name refers to Tibet, China.

Holotype. IVPP V 22782, a complete skeleton, part and counterpart (Fig. 1a,b).

Paratypes. Sixteen specimens are designated as paratypes (Supplementary Information).

Locality and Horizon. Jiangnongtangga (type locality) and Songwori in south Nima Basin and Dayu in Lunpola Basin in central Tibet (Supplementary Figs 1 and 2). Middle-upper part of Dingqing Formation, late Oligocene (Chattian) (ca. 26~23.5 Ma)6, 20, 26.

Diagnosis. A labyrinth fish displaying anabantid characteristics including a posterior notch of the opercle bounded by spines, a V-shaped strut on inner side of opercle and six to nine anal-fin spines. It shares with Asian anabantids the following derived characters: broad infraorbitals 3–5 completely covering the cheek, a sensory canal pore just behind sphenotic/pterotic junction and pelvic plate lying flat; and it shares with African anabantids some derived characters, e.g., sensory canal opening in between the infraorbitals, supraorbital commissure of the sensory canal absent and male postocular contact organ present.

Figure 1 A new fossil climbing perch, Eoanabas thibetana gen. et sp. nov. from the upper Oligocene of central Tibet. It resembles its extant tropical relatives in having a labyrinth organ for air breathing and postocular contact organ in male fishes for stimulating the female during a mating clasp.
(a) Photograph and (b) line drawing of holotype (IVPP V22782a), image horizontally rotated. (c) Photograph and (d) line drawing of the head of IVPP V18412a, red area in (d) representing muscular attachment facet.

Abbreviations: alm, attachment facet of levator operculi muscle; Cbr1, ceratobranchial of first gill arch;, V-shaped struts on inner side of opercles.

Figure 2 Fossil climbing perch, Eoanabas thibetana gen. et sp. nov. from the upper Oligocene of central Tibet.
(a) Line drawing of the head of IVPP V18414a. (b) Photograph of IVPP V18414a. (c) Photograph of IVPP V18581a. (d) Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images of relics of labyrinth organ in (c), arrows pointing the pores on the lamellae. (e) Computerized tomography of labyrinth organ (lateral view) of Anabas testudineus (OP 435). (f) Cleared and stained head showing the labyrinth organ and associated structures of Anabas testudineus (collection no. OP 432). (g) Cleared and stained specimen of Anabas testudineus (collection no. OP 433). (h) Osteological restoration of Eoanabas, purported male; not to scale.

Images in (c), (d) are horizontally rotated. Abbreviations: br, branchiostegal rays; hp1, hypural 1; m., muscle; php, parhypural.

Feixiang Wu, Desui Miao, Mee-mann Chang, Gongle Shi and Ning Wang. 2017. Fossil Climbing Perch and Associated Plant Megafossils indicate A Warm and Wet Central Tibet During the late Oligocene. Scientific Reports. 7, Article number: 878.  DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-00928-9

[Ichthyology • 2017] Sinorhodeus microlepis • A New Genus and Species of Bitterling (Cyprinidae: Acheilognathinae) from China

Sinorhodeus microlepis
 Li, Liao & Arai, 2017


A new genus and speciesSinorhodeus microlepis gen. et sp. nov., is described from a tributary of the Yangtze River, in Chongqing City, China. Sinorhodeus gen. nov. can be distinguished from four closely related genera, Paratanakia, Pseudorhodeus, Rhodeus, and Tanakia, by the following combination of characters: pharyngeal teeth 0,0,4–4,0,0, longitudinal scales 41–46, white spots on dorsal-fin rays absent, a black blotch on dorsal fin in juvenile absent, and less developed wing-like yolk sac projections in larvae. Phylogenetic analysis of one mitochondrial gene and six nuclear genes supports the establishment of the new genus.

Keywords: Pisces, Cyprinidae, Rhodeus, Tanakia, phylogeny, Yangtze River, China

Sinorhodeus microlepis in breeding season, male (A) and female (B)

Fan Li, Te-Yu Liao, Ryoichi Arai and Liangjie Zhao. 2017. Sinorhodeus microlepis, A New Genus and Species of Bitterling from China (Teleostei: Cyprinidae: Acheilognathinae).  Zootaxa. 4353(1); 69–88. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4353.1.4

终于发表了中国最艳丽的淡水鱼之一、鱊亚科新属新种——细鳞华鳑鲏 Sinorhodeus microlepis。本种为目前鱊亚科已知种中唯一咽齿为0,0,4-4,0,0、眶下感觉管为断线状、产卵于河蚬的特化物种,对于鱊亚科的物种演化等研究具有重要价值。

[Entomology • 2017] Oligoaeschna sirindhornae • A New Dragonfly Species (Odonata: Anisoptera: Aeshnidae) from Thailand

Oligoaeschna sirindhornae
 Ngiam & Orr, 2017


Oligoaeschna sirindhornae sp. nov. is described from a male from Sakaerat Silvicultural Research Station, Nakhon Ratchasima Province in Thailand. It is the only known Oligoaeschna species recorded from Thailand since Oligoaeschna pramoti (Yeh, 2000) and Oligoaeschna minuta (Hämäläinen & Pinratana, 1999) were transferred to the genus Sarasaeschna.

Keywords: Odonata, Anisoptera, Aeshnidae, Oligoaeschnasirindhornae, new species, Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima, Sakaerat

FIGURE 1. Oligoaeschna sirindhornae sp. nov. holotype, habitus.

Etymology. We humbly dedicate this species to Her Royal Highness, The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, in recognition of her continuing support of nature conservation and as a mark of personal admiration by the authors. The specific epithet sirindhornae is a noun in the genitive case.

Robin W. J. Ngiam and Albert G. Orr. 2017. Oligoaeschna sirindhornae sp. nov., A New Dragonfly Species from Thailand (Odonata: Anisoptera: Aeshnidae).  Zootaxa. 4353(1); 195–200.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4353.1.13


[Herpetology • 2017] Pristimantis yantzaza • A New Species of Direct-developing Frog of the Genus Pristimantis (Anura: Terrarana: Craugastoridae) from Cordillera del Cóndor, Ecuador, with Comments on Threats to the Anuran Fauna of the Region

 Pristimantis yantzaza 
Valencia, Dueñas, Székely, Batallas, Pulluquitín & Ron, 2017


A new frog in the genus Pristimantis is described from a cloud forest on the western flanks of the Cordillera del Cóndor and eastern Andean slopes in the province of Zamora Chinchipe, southeastern of Ecuador. We inferred its phylogenetic position using DNA sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear genes. The new species is strongly supported as part of a clade that includes P. ardalonychus, P. cajamarcensis, P. ceuthospilus, P. chalceus, P. minutulus, P. luteolateralis, P. parvillus, P. ockendeni, P. unistrigatus, and P. walkeri. It can be distinguished from all other species from Cordillera del Cóndor and congeneric species by the unique combination of the following characters: (1) iris light blue with black reticulations; (2) skin of dorsum finely shagreen with scattered pustular tubercles and absence of dorsal folds; (3) tympanic membrane and tympanic annulus visible; (4) snout rounded in dorsal and lateral view; (5) upper eyelid bearing two or three enlarged subconical tubercles; (6) cranial crest absent; (7) males lacking vocal sac and slits; and (8) venter uniformly bright red, light red, salmon or orange. The new species is most closely related to P. ardalonychus, P. cajamarcensis, P. ceuthospilus, P. ockendeni and P. unistrigatus. We consider the new species to be Endangered following IUCN criteria because it has been severely affected by large scale open-pit mining in some localities. Currently, the amphibian fauna of the Cordillera del Cóndor and nearby protected areas are threatened by large–scale copper and gold mining projects with devastating effects on ~20 species, including several undescribed ones.

Keywords: Pristimantis yantzaza sp. nov., bioacoustics, conservation, systematics, taxonomy

Jorge H. Valencia, Manuel Dueñas, Paul Székely, Diego Batallas, Francisco Pulluquitín and Santiago R. Ron. 2017. A New Species of Direct-developing Frog of the Genus Pristimantis (Anura: Terrarana: Craugastoridae) from Cordillera del Cóndor, Ecuador, with Comments on Threats to the Anuran Fauna of the Region.  Zootaxa. 4353(3); 447–466.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4353.3.3


[Botany • 2017] Zingiber ultralimitale • A New Species of Zingiber (Zingiberaceae) east of Wallace’s Line

Zingiber ultralimitale  Ardiyani & A.D.Poulsen

Ardiyani, Newman & Poulsen, 2017. 
 Gardens' Bulletin Singapore. 69(2)

Zingiber Mill. is distributed from India to the Pacific but only a few species are known from east of Wallace’s Line, whereas the area to the west is rich in species. A recent collection from limestone at Bantimurung, South Sulawesi, Indonesia represents a new eastern speciesZingiber ultralimitale Ardiyani & A.D.Poulsen, which is described, illustrated, and barcoded using three of the four barcoding loci (rbcL, trnH-psbA and ITS). Placement of this species using morphological evidence is ambiguous but a combination of evidence from morphology, pollen anatomy and molecular analysis indicates that it belongs to Zingiber sect. Zingiber.

Keywords: Bantimurung, DNA barcode, Indonesia, limestone, Sulawesi, Wallacea 

Fig. 3. Zingiber ultralimitale   Ardiyani & A.D.Poulsen.
A. Habit on limestone boulders at Bantimurung. B. Rhizome, including roots with tubers. C. Leafy shoot and inflorescence. D. Sheath, ligule, petiole and base of lamina. E. Spike with single flower, front view. F. Spike with single flower, lateral view. G. Bract. H. Bracteole and flower. I. Calyx. J. Ovary and corolla tube. K. Dorsal corolla lobe, ventral view. L. Labellum and lateral corolla lobes, ventral view. M. Corolla tube, stamen and stigma. N. Ovary and epigynous glands. A from Poulsen et al. 2767; B from Poulsen & Yeats 2989; C–N from Poulsen & Yeats 2984. (Photos: A.D. Poulsen)

Zingiber ultralimitale Ardiyani & A.D.Poulsen, sp. nov. 
This species is distinct from all others by the following combination of characters: narrow long loose green bracts, bright yellow flowers, and large free yellow lateral staminodes.
―TYPE: Indonesia, originally collected from South Sulawesi Province, Bantimurung NP, ... and cultivated as RBGE 20091017*A, flowering material vouchered on 12 June 2013 as Newman, M.F. 2552 (holotype BO; isotype E). (Fig. 2, 3)

Etymology. The specific epithet ultralimitale means ‘on the other side of the border’, referring to the occurrence of this species east of Wallace’s Line

Ecology and habitat. Limestone cliffs and boulders in forest, lowlands at c. 300 m. During the first year of cultivation in Edinburgh, it was discovered that the species has a dormancy period during which it survives entirely underground.

M. Ardiyani, M.F. Newman and A.D. Poulsen. 2017. A New Species of Zingiber (Zingiberaceae) east of Wallace’s Line. Gardens' Bulletin Singapore. 69(2); 189 - 199. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

[Herpetology • 2018] Cyclocorinae (New Subfamily) • Discovery of An Old, Archipelago-wide, Endemic Radiation of Philippine Snakes

Subfamily Cyclocorinae

 Weinell & Brown, 2017.

• Three snake genera placed into molecular phylogeny for first time
• Hypothesized close relationship between Myersophis and Oxyrhabdium confirmed
• Hypothesized close relationship between Cyclocorus and Hologerrhum confirmed
• Novel, Philippine-endemic clade of snakes described as new subfamily Cyclocorinae
• Diversification within Cyclocorinae inconsistent with Pleistocene “species-pump”

The extraordinarily rich land vertebrate biodiversity of the Philippines includes at least 112 species of terrestrial snakes (74% of which are endemic to the archipelago) in 41 genera (12% endemic). Endemic Philippine snake genera include Cyclocorus (two species), Hemibungarus (three species), Hologerrhum (two species), Oxyrhabdium (two species), and Myersophis (monotypic). Although Hemibungarus and Oxyrhabdium have been included in previous species-level phylogenies, the affinities of the other three Philippine endemic genera are completely unknown. We generated novel DNA sequences for six species from four genera and analyzed these in conjunction with data from earlier studies to infer a phylogeny for the group containing Colubridae, Elapoidea (Elapidae + Lamprophiidae), and Homalopsidae. We present a novel phylogenetic result that strongly supports the existence of an entirely endemic Philippine radiation of elapoid snakes that originated 35–25 million years ago. We provide a revised, phylogeny-based classification to accommodate the new clade, transfer CyclocorusHologerrhum, and Myersophis to Lamprophiidae, and provide the first estimate of the evolutionary relationships among these genera and the related Oxyrhabdium, setting the stage for future investigation of this entirely endemic, novel Philippine elapoid radiation.

Keywords: Cyclocorinae; CyclocorusHologerrhum; Lamprophiidae; MyersophisOxyrhabdium

Representative taxa of the Philippine elapoid radiation, subfamily Cyclocorinae: 
Myersophis alpestris (holotype, KU 203012),  Oxyrhabdium modestum (RMB 19937),Cyclocorus lineatus (KU 275744), Oxyrhabdium leporinum leporinum (KU 322339)

[map] Geographic distribution of Cyclocorinae new subfamily in the Philippines, including Cyclocorus, Hologerrhum, Myersophis, Oxyrhabdium, and the unnamed lineage.

Fig. 1. Representative taxa of the Philippine elapoid radiation, subfamily Cyclocorinae:
(A) Oxyrhabdium leporinum leporinum (KU 322339), (B) Oxyrhabdium leporinum visayanum, (C) Oxyrhabdium modestum (Uncataloged KU specimen [RMB 19937]), (D) Hologerrhum philippinum (KU 330056), (E) Cyclocorus lineatus (KU 275744), (F) Cyclocorus nuchalis (KU 344159), (G) and (H) Myersophis alpestris (holotype, KU 203012).

Cyclocorinae (new subfamily)

Type genus: Cyclocorus Duméril, Bibron, and Duméril, 1854
Type species: Lycodon lineatus Reinhardt, 1843

Content: Cyclocorinae includes four endemic Philippine genera:
Genus CyclocorusCyclocorus lineatus lineatusC. l. alcalaiC. nuchalis nuchalis and C. n. taylori.
Genus HologerrhumHologerrhum philippinum and H. dermali.
Genus OxyrhabdiumOxyrhabdium leporinum leporinum, O. l. visayanum and O. modestum.
Genus MyersophisMyersophis alpestris.

Jeffrey L. Weinell and Rafe M. Brown. 2018. Discovery of An Old, Archipelago-wide, Endemic Radiation of Philippine Snakes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. In Press.   DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.11.004


[Crustacea • 2017] Uroptychus macquariae Southern High Latitude Squat Lobsters II: Description of A New Species from Macquarie Ridge

Uroptychus macquariae
Schnabel, Burghardt & Ahyong, 2017 


Squat lobsters have only recently been recorded from the Macquarie Ridge, which extends south between New Zealand and Antarctica. Among these, Uroptychus insignis (Henderson, 1885) was recorded for the first time outside the western Indian Ocean, exhibiting only subtle morphological differences. Reexamination of the Macquarie Ridge and Indian Ocean specimens attributed to U. insignis using morphological and molecular data revealed the Macquarie Ridge form to represent a separate species. Subtle but consistent morphological differences are evident and partial CO1 sequence data indicates that the specimens collected on Macquarie Ridge differ from those collected in the Indian Ocean by more than 7%. The Macquarie Ridge species is described herein as Uroptychus macquariae n.sp. Subtle morphological differences between the new species and U. insignis are discussed.

Keywords: Crustacea, Anomura, Chirostyloidea, New Zealand, cytochrome c oxidase I gene (CO1), DNA barcoding

Kareen E. Schnabel, Ingo Burghardt and Shane T. Ahyong. 2017.  Southern High Latitude Squat Lobsters II: Description of Uroptychus macquariae sp. nov. from Macquarie Ridge. Zootaxa. 4353(2); 327–333.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4353.2.4


[Botany • 2016] Floral Specialization for Different Pollinators and Divergent Use of the Same Pollinator Among Co-occurring Impatiens Species (Balsaminaceae) from Southeast Asia

Researchers have presented their results on specialization in pollination techniques in flowers of the genus Impatiens. For two months in 2014, they have studied 7 co-occurring species of the genus Impatiens in the Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

 Ruchisansakun, Tangtorwongsakul, Cozien, et al. 2016.

Floral variation among closely related species is thought to often reflect differences in pollination systems. Flowers of the large genus Impatiens are characterized by extensive variation in colour, shape and size and in anther and stigma positioning, but studies of their pollination ecology are scarce and most lack a comparative context. Consequently, the function of floral diversity in Impatiens remains enigmatic. This study documents floral variation and pollination of seven co-occurring Impatiens spp. in the Southeast Asian diversity hotspot. To assess whether floral trait variation reflects specialization for different pollination systems, we tested whether species depend on pollinators for reproduction, identified animals that visit flowers, determined whether these visitors play a role in pollination and quantified and compared key floral traits, including floral dimensions and nectar characteristics. Experimental exclusion of insects decreased fruit and seed set significantly for all species except I. muscicola, which also received almost no visits from animals. Most species received visits from several animals, including bees, birds, butterflies and hawkmoths, only a subset of which were effective pollinators. Impatiens psittacina, I. kerriae, I. racemosa and I. daraneenae were pollinated by bees, primarily Bombus haemorrhoidalis. Impatiens chiangdaoensis and I. santisukii had bimodal pollination systems which combined bee and lepidopteran pollination. Floral traits differed significantly among species with different pollination systems. Autogamous flowers were small and spurless, and did not produce nectar; bee-pollinated flowers had short spurs and large floral chambers with a wide entrance; and bimodally bee- and lepidopteran-pollinated species had long spurs and a small floral chamber with a narrow entrance. Nectar-producing species with different pollination systems did not differ in nectar volume and sugar concentration. Despite the high frequency of bee pollination in co-occurring species, individuals with a morphology suggestive of hybrid origin were rare. Variation in floral architecture, including various forms of corolla asymmetry, facilitates distinct, species-specific pollen-placement on visiting bees. Our results show that floral morphological diversity among Impatiens spp. is associated with both differences in functional pollinator groups and divergent use of the same pollinator. Non-homologous mechanisms of floral asymmetry are consistent with repeated independent evolution, suggesting that competitive interactions among species with the same pollination system have been an important driver of floral variation among Impatiens spp.

Keywords: autogamy; bee pollination; butterfly pollination; floral asymmetry; nectar robbing; nectar spur; pollen placement; sympatry; tropics

Figure 3. Impatiens flowers, showing variation in colour and shape and floral visitors:
 I. muscicola (A); 
I. santisukii pollinated by Polytremis lubricans lubricans (B) and Bombus haemorrhoidalis (C);
I. racemosa pollinated by B. haemorrhoidalis (D);
I. chiangdaoensis pollinated by Notocrypta curvifascia (E) and visited by a nectar-robbing B. haemorrhoidalis (F);
 I. psittacina pollinated by B. haemorrhoidalis (G);
I. kerriae pollinated by B. haemorrhoidalis (H) and visited by Apis cerana (I), Macroglossum belis (J), and Aethopyga gouldiae (K).
  I. daraneenae pollinated by an unknown bee species (Apidae) (L).

Black arrow in (A) indicates the typical position of the shed anthers onto the lower lateral united petals, facilitating autonomous self-pollination. All other arrows indicate pollen placement sites on visiting bee species (C, D, G, H, L). Scale bar in (A) represents 1 mm, all other scale bars represent 10 mm.

Saroj Ruchisansakun, Pornpimon Tangtorwongsakul, Ruth J. Cozien, Erik F. Smets FMLS and Timotheüs van der Niet. 2016. Floral Specialization for Different Pollinators and Divergent Use of the Same Pollinator Among Co-occurring Impatiens Species (Balsaminaceae) from Southeast Asia. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 181(4); 651–666.  DOI: 10.1111/boj.12427

In a study in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, researchers (including 4  from Naturalis) have presented their results on specialization in pollination techniques in flowers of the genus Impatiens. For two months in 2014, they have studied 7 co-occurring species of the genus Impatiens (see video) in the Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Impatiens develops diff. floral shapes to specialize in pollination techniques + avoid competition! Blog+video

[Paleontology • 2017] The Squamation of the Eocene stem-Basilisk Geiseltaliellus maarius (Squamata: Iguanidae: Corytophaninae) from Messel, Germany

Geiseltaliellus maarius  Smith, 2009

life reconstruction by J. Eberhardt & A. Vogel  (SMF)
Smith, 2017SALAMANDRA. 53(4) 


 An exceptional new specimen of the stem-basilisk Geiseltaliellus maarius from the middle Eocene of Messel, Germany, preserves details of the squamation of this extinct species. The dorsum and extremities were covered by small, rhomoidal scales, about 0.2 mm in size in most places; somewhat larger scales were present on the lower extremities and on the head. Scales of the venter were arranged in transverse rows, unlike in extant Polychrus and Laemanctus. There is some evidence that the scales on the extremities possessed keels, as in extant basilisks and Polychrus. Keratin appears to be preserved in places. The “Oberhäutchen” is nearly featureless, probably the result of postmortem microbial decomposition; scale organs were not observed. Overall, the body of G. maarius possessed a fine, homogeneous squamation most similar to Basiliscus. Possible sexual dimorphism in the form of the parietal crest raises the prospect of a projecting median keel composed of skin in male G. maarius, although direct evidence on this point is currently lacking. The squamation of the tail is discussed in light of the pseudoautotomy shown by this species. 

Key words: Fossils, Corytophanidae, Eocene, scales, keratin.

Figure 1. Skeleton with skin shadows of Geiseltaliellus maarius, SMF ME 11380a (part).
 (A) Detail of temple region of head. (B) Detail of throat or shoulder region. (C) Detail of right lower leg scales (over tibia and fibula). (D) Detail of left lower leg scales (torn downward and preserved around toe). (E) Detail of digit IV of left pes. Scale bar is 5 mm.

Figure 8. Reconstruction of the squamation of male Geiseltaliellus maarius from Messel.
Juliane Eberhardt (SMF) drew the life reconstruction, colored by Anika Vogel (SMF). 

 K. T. Smith. 2017. The Squamation of the Eocene stem-basilisk Geiseltaliellus maarius (Squamata: Iguanidae: Corytophaninae) from Messel, Germany. SALAMANDRA. 53(4); 519–530.