Thursday, July 27, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Brachycephalus coloratus & B. curupira • Two New Species of the Brachycephalus pernix Group (Anura: Brachycephalidae) from the State of Paraná, southern Brazil

Brachycephalus coloratus 
Ribeiro, Blackburn, Stanley, Pie & Bornschein, 2017

 DOI:  10.7717/peerj.3603 


We describe two new species of miniaturized toadlet in the Brachycephalus pernix group of Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) from the Atlantic Forest of the state of Paraná, southern Brazil. The first new species is distinguished from all congeners by the pale red coloration from the head to the pelvic region, with sides of the body and thighs dorsally yellowish green. It is known only from the type locality in a cloud forest at altitudes ranging between 1,144–1,228 m a.s.l. The second species, although more closely related to B. izecksohni, is morphologically similar to B. brunneus in its overall brown coloration, but distinct from that species in the color of the iris (black with conspicuous golden spots, instead of entirely black). It was found on three mountains, at altitudes between 1,095–1,320 m a.s.l., and in vegetation types including cloud forest, montane forest, and secondary forest. The two new species exhibit neither vertebral fusions nor osteoderms, but one has both a distinct neopalatine and well-developed odontoids on the maxillae. We discuss the conservation status of both species.

Figure 1: Holotype of Brachycephalus coloratus in life (MHNCI 10273). 

Brachycephalus coloratus sp. nov

Etymology. The specific epithet is from the Latin coloratus (“colored”, “variegated”) in reference to the unique combination of colors found in the species.

Figure 7: Holotype of Brachycephalus curupira in life (MHNCI 10280). 

Brachycephalus curupira sp. nov.

Etymology. The specific epithet is a noun in apposition and refers to the homonymous mythical character in Brazilian folklore whose aim is to protect the forests. Although usually portrayed as a red-headed boy with feet pointing backwards, the curupira becomes invisible and produces sounds that confuse those walking in his forests. This confusion is a fitting description of our situation while trying to locate calling males of this elusive species (see Remarks below).

Luiz F. Ribeiro, David C. Blackburn, Edward L. Stanley, Marcio R. Pie and Marcos R. Bornschein. 2017. Two New Species of the Brachycephalus pernix group (Anura: Brachycephalidae) from the State of Paraná, southern Brazil. PeerJ. 5:e3603. DOI:  10.7717/peerj.3603

[Herpetology • 2017] Gonatodes rayito • A New Species of Gonatodes (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae) from the western versant of the Cordillera de Mérida, Venezuela

Gonatodes rayito 
SchargelRivas, García-Pérez, Rivero-Blanco, Chippindale & Fujita, 2017


Gonatodes rayito sp. nov. is described from the western versant of the Cordillera de Mérida, Venezuela. Like most species of Gonatodes the new species is sexually dichromatic and is one of only a few in the genus in which individuals have a conspicuous, pale middorsal stripe. The new species is similar to, and has been confused in the past with, G. petersi and G. vittatus. It differs from both species in several aspects of color pattern, and also from G. vittatus in size and scale counts. The validity of Gonatodes rayito sp. nov. is also strongly supported by a phylogenetic analysis using a fragment of the ornithine decarboxylase nuclear gene.

Keywords: Gonatodes rayito sp. nov., Gonatodes petersi, Gonatodes vittatus, lizard, gecko, Gekkota, taxonomy, Reptilia, Squamata, Sphaerodactylidae

Male Gonatodes rayito sp. nov. (MCNG 2231, holotype); 
Female Gonatodes rayito sp. nov. (MCNG 2237)
photos: Juan E. García-Pérez

FIGURE 4. Male specimens of Gonatodes rayito sp. nov. (top, photo of the holotype by JEGP);
G. vittatus (middle, photo by Marcial Quiroga-Carmona) from Valencia, Carabobo;
and G. petersi (bottom, photo by JEGP) from Finca El Deseo, Zulia. All localities are in Venezuela

FIGURE 5. Female specimens of Gonatodes rayito sp. nov. (top, photo of MCNG 2237 by JEGP),
 G. vittatus (middle, photo by Marcial Quiroga-Carmona), from Valencia, Carabobo;
and G. petersi (bottom, photo by JEGP), from Finca El Deseo, Zulia. All localities are in Venezuela.

Gonatodes rayito sp. nov. 

 Gonatodes petersi Donoso-Barros: Esqueda (2004) [two specimens, ULABG 4726, 4741, from near Santa Apolonia, Mérida, Venezuela] 
Gonatodes vittatus (Lichtenstein): Rivas et al. (2006) [in part, specimens from Mérida] 
Gonatodes v. vittatus (Lichtenstein): Rivero-Blanco (1967) [specimens of G. v. vittatus reported in sympatry with G. albogularis in “Sur del Lago” are likely G. rayito based on locality. The two live specimens of G. v. vittatus pictured from “La Azulita” are also G. rayito]

Etymology. The specific name is the Spanish word meaning “little lightning” or “little ray”, a name informally coined by the late naturalist Dr. Richard Schargel for individuals of this species as well as of G. petersi and G. vittatus. The name refers to the notion that, because males of this group of species have a conspicuous middorsal white stripe, when they flee they resemble a “little white lightning.” Richard kept many species of Gonatodes in captivity and also helped support the first author on his research on the genus.

Walter E. Schargel, Gilson A. Rivas, Juan E. García-Pérez, Carlos Rivero-Blanco, Paul T. Chippindale and Matthew K. Fujita. 2017. A New Species of Gonatodes (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae) from the western versant of the Cordillera de Mérida, Venezuela.
Zootaxa. 4291(3); 549–562.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4291.3.7

Resumen: Gonatodes rayito sp. nov. es descrita de la vertiente oeste de la Cordillera de Mérida, Venezuela. Al igual que la mayoría de las especies de Gonatodes, la nueva especie es sexualmente dicromática y es una de las pocas en el género en que los individuos poseen una línea vertebral clara conspicua. La nueva especie es similar a, y ha sido confundida en el pasado con, G. petersi y G. vittatus. Se diferencia de ambas especies en varios aspectos en el patrón de la coloración, y también de G. vittatus en el tamaño y en conteo de escamas. La validez de Gonatodes rayito sp. nov. es también corroborada por un análisis filogenético en el que se usó un fragmento de un gen nuclear (ODC, por sus siglas en inglés). 

[Ornithology • 2017] Pyrrhula crassa • A New Extinct Species of Large Bullfinch (Aves: Fringillidae: Pyrrhula) from Graciosa Island (Azores, North Atlantic Ocean)

 [upper] Pyrrhula crassa  Rando, Pieper, Olson, Pereira & Alcover, 2017 
[lower] P. pyrrhula & P. murina. 

 possible aspect in life illustration: Pau Oliver. 


A new species of extinct bullfinch, Pyrrhula crassa n. sp., is described from bones found in Furna do Calcinhas, a small cave situated at Caldeira, a volcano located in the southeastern portion of the Graciosa Island (Azores archipelago, North Atlantic Ocean). It is the first extinct passerine bird to be described from this archipelago. Both skull and post-cranial bones are larger in the new species than in its relatives, the Eurasian Bullfinch (P. pyrrhula) and the Azores Bullfinch or “Priolo” from São Miguel Island (P. murina), the new species being the largest known in this genus. The morphology of its humerus and the estimated wing length and surface area seem to indicate a flying ability similar to that of the extant P. murina. The possible sources of colonization of the genus into Azores, causes and chronology of extinction of the new species are discussed

Keywords: Aves, Fringillidae, Pyrrhula

FIGURE 5. A: Skull and mandible, lateral view. From top to bottom: Pyrrhula pyrrhula, LARC 2328; P. murina, SPEA 120; Pyrrhula crassa n. sp., based on premaxilla MCMa 2006.016 and mandible MCMa 2002.016. The missing parts have been added using the equivalent parts of P. murina. Scale = 1 cm.
B: From top to bottom: aspect of extant P. pyrrhulaP. murina; and possible aspect in life of Pyrrhula crassa n. sp. (colours are speculative). Art by Pau Oliver.

Systematic paleontology
Order Passeriformes Linnaeus, 1758
Family Fringillidae (Vigors, 1825)
Subfamily Carduelinae Vigors, 1825

Tribe Pyrrhulini
Genus Pyrrhula Brisson, 1760

Pyrrhula crassa n. sp.

 Etymology. From Latin, crassa, thick, referring to the large size of the species and particularly to its notably heavy bill. 
Vernacular names proposed: Greater Azores Bullfinch (English) – Priolo maior dos Açores (Portuguese).

 J. C. Rando, H. Pieper, Storrs L. Olson, F. Pereira and J. A. Alcover. 2017. A New Extinct Species of Large Bullfinch (Aves: Fringillidae: Pyrrhula) from Graciosa Island (Azores, North Atlantic Ocean). Zootaxa. 4282(3); 567–583.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4282.3.9

Resumo Uma nova espécie extinta de Pyrrhula, P. crassa n. sp., é descrita a partir de ossos encontrados em a Furna do Calcinhas, uma pequena caverna situada na Caldeira, vulcão localizado no sudoeste da ilha Graciosa (Arquipélago dos Açores, Atlântico Norte). É a primeira ave Passeriforme extinta descrita neste arquipélago. Tanto o crânio e os ossos do seu esqueleto pós-craniano são maiores que os dos seus parentes, o dom-fafe Pyrrhula pyrrhula e o priolo Pyrrhula murina. A nova espécie é a maior do gênero. A morfologia do úmero e o tamanho estimado das suas asas indica uma capacidade para o voo semelhante a o priolo. As possíveis fontes de colonização dos Açores por Pyrrhula e as causas e cronologia da extin- ção da espécie nova são discutidas.

A new bird which humans drove to extinction discovered in Azores   @physorg_com
New species of Pyrrhula described for Graciosa Island

[Botany • 2017] Zingiber alba • A New Species and A New Record, Scaphoclamys perakensis, of Zingiberaceae from Sumatra, Indonesia

 Zingiber alba Nurainas


 Zingiber alba is a new species from West Sumatra. Scaphoclamys perakensis is newly recorded species from the Eastern part of Sumatra. Detailed descriptions and photographs are given for each species. 

KEY WORDS: Scaphoclamys perakensis, Zingiberaceae, Zingiber alba, Sumatra.

Fig. 1.  Zingiber alba Nurainas.
  A: The plant habit. B: Part of the pseudostem showing the lower part of leaves and ligules. C: Inflorescence. D: Fruits. E: Seeds. F: Top part of inflorescence. G: A flower. H: Dissection of flower (from left): bract, calyx, corolla lobes, floral tube with stamen attach, ovary with epigenous gland style and stigma. I: detail of stamen and ovary with epigenous gland.
Scale bar: D = 2 cm; E = 1 cm; H = 2 cm; I = 2 cm. Photographed by Nurainas.

Zingiber alba Nurainas, sp. nov 

Type: INDONESIA, Sumatra, Simanau, Solok, West Sumatra, altitude 1200 m, 21 June 2016, Nurainas 3272 (holotype ANDA, isotype BO, TAI).

 Zingiber alba differs from Zingiber acuminatum var. acutibractetatum Valeton in its apex of ligules rounded, elongated of spike, arrangement of bract at top of spike is rose-like, bract bright white, ovate with subapicalmucronate, bracteole small, white and yellow flower

Distribution: throughout West Sumatra province and Batang Gadis National Park, North Sumatra. 

Ecology: Zingiber alba grows on sandy soils along the margins of mixed evergreen forests, edges of small rivers at 500-1200 meter elevation. Etymology: the epithet specific refers to color of bract. 

Phenology: Zingiber alba was observed in flower when it was collected in February 2006 and May 2016 and fruit when it was collected in October 2014. 

Vernacular name: Penggalan (Minangkabau language).

Scaphoclamys perakensis Holtt., 
Scaphochlamys perakensis Holttum, Gard. Bull. Singapore. 13 (1950) 97., nom. nov. 

Distribution: Perak and Sumatra (Riau). 
Ecology: Scapholamys perakensis grows on the forest floor at limestone area.

Nurainas Nurainas and Dayar Arbain. 2017. A New Species and A New Record of Zingiberaceae from Sumatra, Indonesia. Taiwania. 62(3); 294-298.   DOI:   10.6165/tai.2017.62.294

[PaleoOrnithology • 2017] Ancient DNA and Morphometric Analysis Reveal Extinction and Replacement of New Zealand's Unique Black Swans, Cygnus sumnerensis

The skeleton of the poūwa, Cygnus sumnerensis (Forbes, 1890) 

Rawlence, Kardamaki, Easton, et al. 2017.
 Ancient DNA and Morphometric Analysis Reveal Extinction and Replacement of New Zealand's Unique Black Swans.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  DOI:  10.1098/rspb.2017.0876 

Prehistoric human impacts on megafaunal populations have dramatically reshaped ecosystems worldwide. However, the effects of human exploitation on smaller species, such as anatids (ducks, geese, and swans) are less clear. In this study we apply ancient DNA and osteological approaches to reassess the history of Australasia's iconic black swans (Cygnus atratus) including the palaeo-behaviour of prehistoric populations. Our study shows that at the time of human colonization, New Zealand housed a genetically, morphologically, and potentially ecologically distinct swan lineage (Cygnus sumnerensis, Poūwa), divergent from modern (Australian) C. atratus. Morphological analyses indicate C. sumnerensis exhibited classic signs of the ‘island rule’ effect, being larger, and likely flight-reduced compared to C. atratus. Our research reveals sudden extinction and replacement events within this anatid species complex, coinciding with recent human colonization of New Zealand. This research highlights the role of anthropogenic processes in rapidly reshaping island ecosystems and raises new questions for avian conservation, ecosystem re-wilding, and de-extinction.

KEYWORDS:  ancient-DNA, Australia, black swan, Chatham Islands, Cygnus atratus, Cygnus sumnerensis, Q1 extinction, island rule, New Zealand, Poūwa, recolonization

The skeleton of the extinct poūwa.
Jean-Claude Stahl / Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa 
The mounted bones of an extinct poūwa.
Photo: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Nicolas J. Rawlence, Afroditi Kardamaki, Luke J. Easton, Alan J. D. Tennyson, R. Paul Scofield and Jonathan M. Waters. 2017. Ancient DNA and Morphometric Analysis Reveal Extinction and Replacement of New Zealand's Unique Black Swans.
 Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  DOI:  10.1098/rspb.2017.0876


[Paleontology • 2017] Reappraisal of Austrosaurus mckillopi Longman, 1933 from the Allaru Mudstone of Queensland, Australia’s First Named Cretaceous Sauropod Dinosaur

Reconstruction of the possible sequence of events that led to the preservation of the carcass of the sauropod Austrosaurus mckillopi in the Eromanga Sea.
Austrosaurus as a living animal on land; (B) freshly deceased Austrosaurus prior to bloating; (C) bloated Austrosaurus carcass washed out to sea, where it was possibly scavenged by marine reptiles like Kronosaurus; (D) the partially defleshed but still effectively intact thoracic portion of the Austrosaurus carcass is picked at by sharks as it sinks to the seafloor; (E) the thoracic portion of the Austrosaurus carcass is buried along with several ammonites (Beudanticeras) and bivalves (Inoceramus), which were possibly drawn to the carcass as it decayed.
Reconstruction by Travis R. Tischler.

 Poropat, Nair, Symeet al. 2017. Reappraisal of Austrosaurus mckillopi Longman, 1933. ... DOI: 10.1080/03115518.2017.1334826

Austrosaurus mckillopi was the first Cretaceous sauropod reported from Australia, and the first Cretaceous dinosaur reported from Queensland (northeast Australia). This sauropod taxon was established on the basis of several fragmentary presacral vertebrae (QM F2316) derived from the uppermost Lower Cretaceous (upper Albian) Allaru Mudstone, at a locality situated 77 km west-northwest of Richmond, Queensland. Prior to its rediscovery in 2014, the type site was considered lost after failed attempts to relocate it in the 1970s. Excavations at the site in 2014 and 2015 led to the recovery of several partial dorsal ribs and fragments of presacral vertebrae, all of which clearly pertained to a single sauropod dinosaur. The discovery of new material of the type individual of Austrosaurus mckillopi, in tandem with a reassessment of the material collected in the 1930s, has facilitated the rearticulation of the specimen. The resultant vertebral series comprises six presacral vertebrae—the posteriormost cervical and five anteriormost dorsals—in association with five left dorsal ribs and one right one. The fragmentary nature of the type specimen has historically hindered assessments of the phylogenetic affinities of Austrosaurus, as has the fact that these evaluations were often based on a subset of the type material. The reappraisal of the type series of Austrosaurus presented herein, on the basis of both external morphology and internal morphology visualized through CT data, validates it as a diagnostic titanosauriform taxon, tentatively placed in Somphospondyli, and characterized by the possession of an accessory lateral pneumatic foramen on dorsal vertebra I (a feature that appears to be autapomorphic) and by the presence of a robust ventral mid-line ridge on the centra of dorsal vertebrae I and II. The interpretation of the anteriormost preserved vertebra in Austrosaurus as a posterior cervical has also prompted the re-evaluation of an isolated, partial, posterior cervical vertebra (QM F6142, the ‘Hughenden sauropod’) from the upper Albian Toolebuc Formation (which underlies the Allaru Mudstone). Although this vertebra preserves an apparent unique character of its own (a spinopostzygapophyseal lamina fossa), it is not able to be referred unequivocally to Austrosaurus and is retained as Titanosauriformes indet. Austrosaurus mckillopi is one of the oldest known sauropods from the Australian Cretaceous based on skeletal remains and potentially provides phylogenetic and/or palaeobiogeographic context for later taxa such as Wintonotitan wattsi, Diamantinasaurus matildae and Savannasaurus elliottorum.

Fig. 11. Reconstruction of the possible sequence of events that led to the preservation of the carcass of the sauropod Austrosaurus mckillopi in the Eromanga Sea. (AAustrosaurus as a living animal on land; (B) freshly deceased Austrosaurus prior to bloating; (C) bloated Austrosaurus carcass washed out to sea, where it was possibly scavenged by marine reptiles like Kronosaurus; (D) the partially defleshed but still effectively intact thoracic portion of the Austrosaurus carcass is picked at by sharks as it sinks to the seafloor; (E) the thoracic portion of the Austrosaurus carcass is buried along with several ammonites (Beudanticeras) and bivalves (Inoceramus), which were possibly drawn to the carcass as it decayed.
Reconstruction by Travis R. Tischler. 

The sauropod taxon Austrosaurus mckillopi is of historical significance to Australian palaeontology as the first Cretaceous dinosaur recognized in Queensland, and the first Cretaceous sauropod ever reported from the entire continent. The augmentation, articulation and description of the type material have helped to shed light on the phylogenetic position of Austrosaurus, unequivocally placing it within Titanosauriformes, and probably as a member of Somphospondyli. The identification of an autapomorphic auxiliary pneumatic foramen in dorsal vertebra I means that the referral of other sauropod specimens to Austrosaurus should be possible in the future, although this feature is not presently observable in any other Australian sauropod specimen. The morphological congruence of the posteriormost cervical vertebra of Austrosaurus with QM F6142 (the ‘Hughenden sauropod’) might represent grounds for the referral of the latter to the former, although this can not be demonstrated unequivocally. Lastly, despite its fragmentary nature, Austrosaurus appears to share several features with the type specimens of both Diamantinasaurus and Savannasaurus, possibly indicating a close phylogenetic relationship.

The fragmentary nature of the type series of Austrosaurus has impeded, and will continue to restrict, efforts to precisely resolve its phylogenetic position within Titanosauriformes. Consequently, the palaeobiogeographic significance of Austrosaurus is poorly understood, a situation worsened by the relative rarity of Early Cretaceous titanosauriforms in South America and the lack of such in Antarctica. Nevertheless, the presence of numerous titanosauriform lineages in the Early Cretaceous of South America provides some context for Australian Early Cretaceous titanosauriforms like Austrosaurus, and also for the mid-Cretaceous Winton Formation fauna, which appears to have been dominated by titanosaurs with amphicoelous (rather than procoelous) caudal vertebrae.

Stephen F. Poropat, Jay P. Nair, Caitlin E. Syme, Philip D. Mannion, Paul Upchurch, Scott A. Hocknull,  Alex G. Cook, Travis R. Tischler and Timothy Holland. 2017. Reappraisal of Austrosaurus mckillopi Longman, 1933 from the Allaru Mudstone of Queensland, Australia’s First Named Cretaceous Sauropod Dinosaur. Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology. DOI: 10.1080/03115518.2017.1334826

[Ichthyology • 2017] Etmopterus lailae • A New Lanternshark (Squaliformes: Etmopteridae) from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Etmopterus lailae
Ebert, Papastamatiou, Kajiura & Wetherbee, 2017

Laila’s Lanternshark || DOI:   10.11646/zootaxa.4237.2.10 


A new species of lanternshark, Etmopterus lailae (Squaliformes: Etmopteridae), is described from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, in the central North Pacific Ocean. The new species resembles other members of the “Etmopterus lucifer” clade in having linear rows of dermal denticles, and most closely resembles E. lucifer from Japan. The new species occurs along insular slopes around seamounts at depths between 314–384 m. It can be distinguished from other members of the E. lucifer clade by a combination of characteristics, including a longer anterior flank marking branch, arrangement of dermal denticles on the ventral snout surface and body, flank and caudal markings, and meristic counts including number of spiral valve turns, and precaudal vertebrate. A key to species of the Etmopterus lucifer-clade is included.

Keywords: Pisces, Chondrichthyes, elasmobranch, Etmopterus lucifer clade, new species, central North Pacific Ocean

FIGURE 1. Etmopterus lailae new species, immature male holotype (BPBM 40183).

Etmopterus lailae, new species 
Laila’s Lanternshark

Distribution. The new species presently is known only from the Koko and South Kanmu seamounts, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and at a depth range of 314–384 m. 

Etymology. The new species is named after Laila Mostello-Wetherbee, shark enthusiast and daughter of coauthor Brad Wetherbee. The proposed common name is Laila’s Lanternshark. 

David A. Ebert, Yannis P. Papastamatiou, Stephen M. Kajiura and Bradley M. Wetherbee. 2017. Etmopterus lailae sp. nov., A New Lanternshark (Squaliformes: Etmopteridae) from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Zootaxa. 4237(2); 371-382. DOI:   10.11646/zootaxa.4237.2.10

[Ichthyology • 2017] Pseudotanganikallabes prognatha • A New Diminutive Genus and Species of Catfish (Siluriformes: Clariidae) from Lake Tanganyika

Pseudotanganikallabes prognatha Wright, 2017

  DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13374 


The examination of material representing one of Lake Tanganyika's six previously recognized endemic catfish lineages, has revealed the presence of an additional genus of clariid, described here as Pseudotanganikallabes new genus. This genus is represented by a single species, Pseudotanganikallabes prognatha sp. nov., which is distinguished from all other clariids by its lack of an infraorbital series, the presence of multiple osseous connections between the swim bladder capsules and elements of the neurocranium, the absence of an ethmoid notch, the presence of a very large, egg-shaped occipital fontanelle and the extension of the lower lip beyond the margin of the upper jaw. A combination of additional external and molecular characters serves to further distinguish this taxon from all currently recognized clariid species. Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial (cytb) and nuclear (18S-ITS1-5.8S-ITS2-28S) sequence data supports the creation of a new genus for this species, as it appears to represent an independent, monophyletic lineage within the family Clariidae.

Key words: Africa; catfish; Clariidae; Lake Tanganyika; rift lake; taxonomy.

Fig. 4. (a) Dorsal, (b) lateral and (c) ventral views of the holotype of Pseudotanganikallabes prognatha (SAIAB-80226). Scale bar = 1 cm. 

Type species: Pseudotanganikallabes prognatha new genus and species.
Content: Pseudotanganikallabes prognatha sp. nov.; monotypic

Etymology: From the Greek pseudo (𝜓𝜀𝜐𝛿ή𝜍), meaning lying or false and the genus Tanganikallabes, in reference to the superficial resemblance between these two genera. Gender: feminine.

Geographical distribution: All known specimens referred to Pseudotanganikallabes were collected on the southeast, Zambian coast of Lake Tanganyika.


Etymology: The specific epithet is derived from the prefix pro, in this case meaning anterior to and the Greek gnathos (𝛾ν΄𝛼𝜃o𝜍), meaning jaw, in reference to the distinctive protrusion of the lower jaw of this species. Gender: feminine.

Distribution: Currently known from localities along the southeastern coast of Lake Tanganyika: .... East of Mpulungu.

J. J. Wright. 2017. A New Diminutive Genus and Species of Catfish from Lake Tanganyika (Siluriformes: Clariidae).  Journal of Fish Biology. DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13374

[Arachnida • 2017] Megacormus xichu • A New Species of Megacormus (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae) from An Oak-Pine Forest in Guanajuato, México with An Identification Key to the Species in the Genus

Megacormus xichu
González-Santillán, González-Ruiz & Escobedo-Morales, 2017


The fifth species of the genus, Megacormus xichu sp. nov., is described and compared to the other species. An identification key to these species as well as a distributional map with localities taken from the literature are provided.

Keywords: Scorpiones, Scorpion, Xichú, distributional map, literature, Charco Azul

Edmundo González-Santillán, Juan Manuel González-Ruiz and Luis A. Escobedo-Morales. 2017. A New Species of Megacormus (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae) from An Oak-Pine Forest in Guanajuato, México with An Identification Key to the Species in the Genus.
 Zootaxa. 4299(2); 221–237.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4299.2.3

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] New Species of Blindsnake of the Genus Gerrhopilus (Squamata: Gerrhopilidae) from the offshore islands of Papua New Guinea

Gerrhopilus persephone Kraus, 2017 


I describe four new species of blindsnake of the genus Gerrhopilus from islands off the southeastern tip of New Guinea and from New Ireland to the northeast. All have ventral keels on the rostral scale, and most have previously been assigned in their respective museum collections to the species G. depressiceps. Examination of available specimens shows G. depressiceps to be a composite of species, and I emend the diagnosis of that species based on the holotype and one additional specimen from northeastern New Guinea. The species described as new here differ from G. depressiceps and from each other in a series of features, including shape of the snout, shape of the rostral scale, numbers of mid-dorsal scale rows, reduction patterns in longitudinal scale rows, body mass, degree of eye development, and color pattern. The new species all inhabit islands remote from the known range of G. depressiceps on New Guinea and have likely been separated from that species for millions of years.

 Keywords: Reptilia, Gerrhopilus depressiceps, External morphology, D’Entrecasteaux Islands, Milne Bay Province, New Ireland

Fred Kraus. 2017. New Species of Blindsnakes (Squamata: Gerrhopilidae) from the offshore islands of Papua New Guinea. Zootaxa.  4299(1); 75-94.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4299.1.3


[Crustacea • 2017] On the Identities of The Highland Vampire Crabs, Geosesarma foxi (Kemp, 1918) and G. serenei Ng, 1986 (Decapoda: Brachyura: Sesarmidae), with Description of A New Phytotelmic Species, Geosesarma faustum, from Penang, Peninsular Malaysia

Geosesarma faustum  Ng, 2017

 The identities of two poorly known semiterrestrial sesarmid crabs Geosesarma foxi (Kemp, 1918) and G. serenei Ng, 1986, from northern Peninsular Malaysia are clarified with the study of additional material. A new species associated with phytotelms in Penang, Geosesarma faustum n. sp., is described and distinguished from the two known species by various carapace, male pleon and gonopod characters. The taxonomy of the three species is discussed. All three are highland species, occurring only at altitudes higher than 700 m; and are characterised by their quadrate carapace, long and slender ambulatory legs, absence of a flagellum on the exopod of their third maxilliped, and relatively slender male first gonopod. 

Key words: Phytotelmata, Southeast Asia, Sesarmidae, montane crabs, Geosesarma, taxonomy, new taxa
Fig. 8. Geosesarma faustum n. sp., colour in life, Penang Hill, Penang.
 AB, specimens photographed in bromeliad in situ, part of type species; C, holotype male (10.6 × 10.5 mm) (ZRC 2016.617); D, paratype ovigerous female (10.6 × 10.4 mm) (ZRC 2014.340). 

Geosesarma faustum n. sp. 

Etymology. The species name is derived from the Latin for fortunate and lucky; alluding to the circumstances leading to the discovery of the new species

Fig. 8. Geosesarma faustum n. sp., colour in life, Penang Hill, Penang.
AB, specimens photographed in bromeliad in situ, part of type species; C, holotype male (10.6 × 10.5 mm) (ZRC 2016.617); D, paratype ovigerous female (10.6 × 10.4 mm) (ZRC 2014.340).
 Photo credits: A–D, Ji Tan; E–F, Paul Y. C. Ng 

Fig. 8. Geosesarma faustum n. sp., colour in life, Penang Hill, Penang.
A, B, specimens photographed in bromeliad in situ, part of type species;
C, holotype male (10.6 × 10.5 mm) (ZRC 2016.617); D, paratype ovigerous female (10.6 × 10.4 mm) (ZRC 2014.340);
  EG, paratype male (10.2 × 10.1 mm) (ZRC 2016.0599); H, paratype female (10.8 × 10.9 mm) (ZRC 2016.0599). Photo credits: A–D, Ji Tan; E–H, Paul Y. C. Ng 

Peter K. L. Ng. 2017. On the Identities of The Highland Vampire Crabs, Geosesarma foxi (Kemp, 1918) and G. serenei Ng, 1986, with Description of A New Phytotelmic Species from Penang, Peninsular Malaysia (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Sesarmidae). RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY. 65: 226–242. 



[Ichthyology • 2017] Review of Schismatogobius (Gobiidae) from Japan, with the Description of A New Species, Schismatogobius ninja

Schismatogobius ninja  Maeda, Saeki & Satoh, 2017

Three species of Schismatogobius de Beaufort 1912, distinguished by their morphology and mitochondrial DNA sequences, were found in freshwater streams in the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan. Although two species were previously known from Japan (S. roxasi Herre 1936 and S. ampluvinculus Chen, Shao, and Fang 1995), the taxonomy needs to be revised. To identify these species, the holotype morphology of S. marmoratus (Peters 1868), S. bruynisi de Beaufort 1912, and S. roxasi, originally described from the Philippines and Indonesia, were examined and re-described here, because relatively little information about their diagnostic characters was provided in the original descriptions. The three Japanese species were identified as S. ampluvinculus, S. marmoratus, and a new species. They were distinguished from each other and from their congeners by the banding pattern of the body, markings on the pectoral fins, pigment patterns on the ventral surface of the head and pelvic fin, body depth at the pelvic-fin origin, pre-anal length, and pectoral-fin ray counts. Although the new species had been regarded as S. roxasi in previous publications, we show that it is actually not S. roxasi and that it also differs from all other nominal species of Schismatogobius. This is described as a new speciesSchismatogobius ninja. Additionally, this is the first record of S. marmoratus from Japan.

Keywords: Schismatogobius, Gobiidae, New species, Mitochondrial genome, Ryukyu Archipelago 

Fig. 7:  Schismatogobius ninja sp. nov. immediately after fixation.
a NSMT-P 127395, holotype (male, 30.4 mm SL), b URM-P 48711, paratype (male, 21.5 mm SL), c NSMT-P 127408, paratype (female, 21.8 mm SL), d NSMT-P 127400, paratype (19.6 mm SL) (photo by K. Maeda) 

Schismatogobius ninja Maeda, Saeki, and Satoh, sp. nov.
(Japanese name: Eso-haze)

Diagnosis. The new species is distinguished by a combination of the following characters: pectoral-fin rays 15–16 (usually 15); body relatively slender (depth at pelvic-fin origin 16.9–19.5% of SL); trunk relatively short (pre-dorsal length 35.5–39.1% of SL; pre-anal length 53.2–56.7% of SL; pre-anal-fin length 58.4–61.0% of SL; length of second dorsal-fin base 26.5–29.0% of SL; length of anal-fin base 22.3–25.9% of SL); two dark brown, transverse bands on posterior half of the body; pectoral fin with 1–5 black spots along each ray; pectoral fin often with one large, black vertical blotch on upper part, but blotch not extending to distal part; isthmus and gular region almost cream or white, often with some melanophores, but not densely pigmented; pelvic fin usually almost without pigmentation, but often lightly pigmented in larger males.

Distribution. All specimens described here with mitochondrial DNA sequences were collected from Okinawa Island in the Ryukyu Archipelago. Thirty-five non-type specimens collected from Okinawa, Ishigaki, and Iriomote islands were also identified as the new species, Schismatogobius ninja. Many authors reported “eso-haze” (regarded as Schismatogobius roxasi) in Japan and the range often included Amami-oshima Island, in addition to Okinawa, Ishigaki, and Iriomote islands (Yoshigou 2014). These records need to be verified by reexamination of the specimens. This species seems to have often been misidentified as “Schismatogobius ampluvinculus (see Distribution section of S. ampluvinculus). In conclusion, the verified localities of S. ninja in Japan are Okinawa, Ishigaki, and Iriomote islands, but it may be found on some other islands in the Ryukyu Archipelago.

Ecology. All specimens were collected from the lower freshwater reaches of the streams, at 50 to 1,300 m from the upper limit of tidal fluctuations. This species was found on coarse sand and gravel bottoms of shallow areas (depth usually 5–30 cm) around rapids. Typical habitat was at the ends of the rapids (transitional areas from rapid to pool) with steady flow. These gobies usually stay on the bottom and often bury half of their body in the substratum (Fig. 10e). They prefer substrates with free gravel granules which can be moved easily by water flow, and they do not inhabit silty substrates. Body markings perfectly camouflage them on the gravel bottom of their habitats (Fig. 10e); therefore, they are hard to detect if they remain motionless.

Schismatogobius ninja is often found with S. ampluvinculus, and sometimes with Schismatogobius marmoratus. The most abundant syntopic species was Rhinogobius nagoyae Jordan and Seale 1906. Other gobies, such as Stiphodon percnopterygionus Watson and Chen 1998, Sicyopterus lagocephalus (Pallas 1770), Glossogobius illimis Hoese and Allen 2012, and Luciogobius ryukyuensis Chen, Suzuki, and Senou 2008 and amphidromous pipefish, Microphis leiaspis (Bleeker 1854), were also frequently observed with Schismatogobius ninja.

Etymology. Although the new species shows attractive coloration when viewed against a simple background, they are very cryptic against the gravel substrates of their habitats. The stealthy capacity of this species reminds us of Japanese “ninja,” which were known as masters of camouflage. Therefore, the new species is named Schismatogobius ninja. The new specific name is a noun in apposition.

Fig. 10: Live Schismatogobius ninja sp. nov. observed in streams on Okinawa Island
 (a, d, e 16 Mar. 2015; b 11 Oct. 2010; c 16 June 2008) (photos by K. Maeda)

Taxonomy of Japanese species

Schismatogobius ninja Maeda, Saeki, and Satoh, sp. nov.
(Japanese name: Eso-haze)

Schismatogobius ampluvinculus Chen, Shao, and Fang 1995
(Japanese name: Shima-eso-haze) 

 Schismatogobius marmoratus (Peters,1868)
(New Japanese name: Kaeru-eso-haze)

Fig. 13 Live Schismatogobius ampluvinculus observed in streams on Okinawa Island (16 June 2015, 13 Aug. 2015) and Iriomote Island (10 Aug. 2006),   and Schismatogobius marmoratus observed in streams on Okinawa Island (d16 Mar. 2015; 29 Aug. 2009) (photos by K. Maeda)

Ken Maeda, Toshifumi Saeki, Chuya Shinzato, Ryo Koyanagi and Nori Satoh. 2017. Review of Schismatogobius (Gobiidae) from Japan, with the Description of A New Species.
 Ichthyological Research. xx; 1–22. DOI: 10.1007/s10228-017-0593-4