Saturday, March 25, 2017

[Ornithology • 2017] Phylogeography of Bulbuls in the Genus Iole (Aves: Pycnonotidae)

S. Manawatthana, P. Laosinchai, N. Onparn, W.Y. Brockelman & P.D. Round. 2017.
 Phylogeography of Bulbuls in the Genus Iole (Aves: Pycnonotidae). 

Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 120(4); 931-944.  DOI:  10.1093/biolinnean/blw013 

Southeast Asia is one of the most geologically dynamic regions of the world with great species diversity and high endemism. We studied the bulbuls of the south and southeast Asian genus Iole (Aves: Pycnonotidae) in order to analyse their evolutionary relationships and describe their patterns of diversification and delimit species boundaries. Our phylogeographic reconstruction, based on two mitochondrial and one nuclear markers, sampled from all 13 recognized Iole taxa, presently grouped as four species, revealing three primary lineages: (1) a Palawan lineage (2) a Sundaic group distributed in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo and (3) an Indochinese group distributed throughout continental Southeast Asia. Divergence time estimation suggested that the Palawan lineage diverged during the Miocene (around 9.7 Mya), a later split between the Sundaic and Indochinese lineages occurring around 7.2 Mya. The present classification of Iole based on morphology does not accurately reflect taxonomic relationships within the genus, in which we recognize five more putative species. An integrative approach that incorporates morphology and bioacoustics should further refine our understanding of species limits among Iole taxa.

Keywords: Iole, phylogeny, phylogeography, pycnonotidae, species tree

Sontaya Manawatthana, Parames Laosinchai, Nuttaphon Onparn,Warren Y. Brockelman and Philip D. Round. 2017. Phylogeography of Bulbuls in the Genus Iole (Aves: Pycnonotidae). Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 120(4); 931-944..  DOI:  10.1093/biolinnean/blw013

นกปรอดสกุล Iole (อ่านว่า ไอโอลี่เดิมพบได้ในไทย 3 ชนิดคือ
1.) นกปรอดเล็กตาขาว (Grey-eyed Bulbul; Iole propinqua)
2.) นกปรอดเล็กสีไพลตาแดง (Olive Bulbul; Iole viridescens)
3.) นกปรอดหงอนตาขาว (Buff-vented Bulbul; Iole charlottae)

ซึ่งผลจากการศึกษานี้ทำให้มีนกชนิดใหม่ของไทยเพิ่มขึ้นมาอีก 1 ชนิด คือ
4.) Baker’s Bulbul (Iole cinnamomeoventris; ยังไม่มีชื่อภาษาไทยอย่างเป็นทางการ) 
- นกชนิดใหม่นี้เดิมถูกจัดเป็นเพียงชนิดย่อยของนกปรอดเล็กตาขาว เนื่องจากมีลักษณะภายนอกใกล้เคียงปรอดเล็กตาขาวมากๆ จนหลายๆครั้งในภาคสนามไม่เห็นความแตกต่าง 
- แต่จากการวิเคราะห์ DNA พบว่ามันมีความแตกต่างในเชิงวิวัฒนาการมากจนสมควรจะแยกเป็นชนิดใหม่ และยังพบว่ามีสายวิวัฒนาการใกล้ชิดกับ ปรอดเล็กสีไพลตาแดง (แทนที่จะใกล้ชิดกับปรอดเล็กตาขาวอย่างที่ถูกจัดไว้เป็นชนิดย่อยเดิม) 
- พบในภาคใต้ของไทย บริเวณด้ามขวานตั้งแต่ราวๆ จ.เพชรบุรีลงไปถึงราวๆ จ.สงขลา
- ลักษณะที่ใช้จำแนกในภาคสนามได้ดีที่สุดคือเสียงร้อง จะต่างกับปรอดหงอนตาขาวที่ลักษณะภายนอกคล้ายคลึงกันและพบในบริเวณภาคใต้เหมือนกัน
ตัวอย่างเสียงของ Iole cinnamomeoventris
ตัวอย่างเสียงของ ปรอดหงอนตาขาว Iole charlottae

- ชื่อ Baker's Bulbul ตั้งเพื่อเป็นเกียรติแก่ E. C. Stuart Baker นักปักษีวิทยาชาวอังกฤษ ซึ่งเป็นคนแรกที่จำแนกชนิดย่อย cinnamomeoventris นี้ไว้เมื่อปี 1917 

ถ้านับรวมทั้งเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ เดิมนกปรอดสกุลนี้มีทั้งหมด 4 ชนิด ผล DNA จากการศึกษานี้บ่งชี้ว่าควรจะจำแนกเพิ่มอีก 5 ชนิด รวมเป็น 9 ชนิด ใครสนใจสามารถอ่านรายละเอียดได้ในงานวิจัยฉบับเต็มครับ:

ทั้งนี้ เปเปอร์แรกนี้จะเน้นเฉพาะผลจากการวิเคราะห์ DNA อาจจะอ่านยากสำหรับคนทั่วไปซักหน่อย ยังมีเปเปอร์ที่สองที่จะพูดถึงลักษณะภายนอก สีขน และผลการวิเคราะห์เสียงร้อง ที่ตอนนี้กำลังอยู่ระหว่างเตรียมส่งตีพิมพ์ครับ

[Botany • 2017] New Species; Peperomia sirindhorniana รักตะนิล, P. heptaphylla, P. masuthoniana & P. multisurcula and A Reinstatement in Peperomia (Piperaceae) from Thailand

รักตะนิล |  Peperomia sirindhorniana Suwanph. & Chantar.

Four new species of Peperomia (Piperaceae) from Thailand, namely Peperomia heptaphyllaPeperomia masuthonianaPeperomia multisurcula and Peperomia sirindhorniana are described and illustrated. The reinstatement of Peperomia dindygulensis is also proposed with supporting morphological evidence.

Key words: IUCN vulnerability; morphology; taxonomy

Taxonomic Treatment

• Peperomia heptaphylla Suwanph. & Hodk., sp. nov. 

Type: Thailand, Prachuap Kiri Khan
Etymology. The specific epithet refers to the number of leaves per node.
Vernacular Name: เบี้ยประจวบ - Bia Pra Chuap.

• Peperomia masuthoniana Suwanph. & Chantar. sp. nov. 

Type: Thailand, Chiang Mai, Doi Chiangdao
Etymology: The specific epithet honours Associate Prof. Sumon Masuthon (1952 – present), Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Kasetsart University, who encouraged the first author to intensively study the family Piperaceae for the Flora of Thailand project.
Vernacular Name: เบี้ยเชียงดาว - Bia Chiang Dao.

• Peperomia multisurcula Suwanph. & Hodk. sp. nov. 
Type: Thailand, Nan
Etymology: The specific epithet refers to the stems that have many clumps, and many main stems and branchlets.
Vernacular Name: เบี้ยสะปัน - Bia Sa Pan (Nan).

• Peperomia sirindhorniana Suwanph. & Chantar., sp. nov. 
Type: Thailand, Loei, Nong Hin, Pha Hin Ngam

Conservation Status. This species is uncommon and only a few specimens have been collected from the border area between Loei and Khon Kaen provinces in northeastern Thailand. The populations are narrowly distributed in an area of karst limestone and not in a protected area. The populations are threatened by farming and deforestation. The status of Peperomia sirindhorniana is assessed as Critically Endangered (CR), according to IUCN (2011) criteria and the authors consider a category of B1b to be appropriate.

Etymology: The specific epithet honours to H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Mahidol who initiated the Plant Genetic Conservation Project to develop the personnel and plant genetics resources for the maintenance of plant varieties, and for the development to be advantageous for farmers and the business sector of Thailand.
Vernacular Name: Rak-Ta-Nil.

 We discovered some unidentified specimens (T. Smitinand & H. Sleumer 1131 in BKF and L that were collected from Pha Nok Khao, Khon Kaen province, northeastern Thailand. They are similar to Peperomia pellucida in gross morphology but differ in some characters. We have subsequently collected living specimens from a nearby locality and they are easily recognised as a species new to science. The distinguishing characteristics of P. sirindhorniana are its red or reddish petioles and stems, and its bright to dark green leaves when fresh (subcoriaceous when dry) as opposed to pale green (membranous when dried) in P. pellucida. Furthermore, its fruits are larger than P. pellucida and are ovoid with a beaked apex formed from the style and it has densely acute papillae on the fruit surface.

• Peperomia dindygulensis Miq.

Etymology: The specific epithet refers to Dindygul (the city in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu) from which the type specimens were collected.
Vernacular Name: ผักป้องแดง - Phak Pong Daeng (Chanthaburi).

Chalermpol Suwanphakdee, Trevor R. Hodkinson and Pranom Chantaranothai. 2017. New Species and A Reinstatement in Peperomia (Piperaceae) from Thailand.
  Kew Bulletin. 72(1);  DOI: 10.1007/s12225-016-9662-5

  รักตะนิล ซึ่งมีความหมายว่า เขียว-แดง เนื่องจากพืชชนิดนี้มีลำ ต้นและก้านใบสีแดง มีใบสีเขียวเข้มหรือสีมรกต

[Herpetology • 2015] Platymantis quezoni • A New Species of Limestone Karst inhabiting Forest Frog, Genus Platymantis (Ceratobatrachidae: subgenus Lupacolus) from southern Luzon Island, Philippines

Platymantis (Lupacolusquezoni 
Brown, de Layola, Lorenzo, Diesmos & Diesmos, 2015 


We describe a new species of limestone karst dwelling forest frog of the genus Platymantis from the Quezon Protected Landscape in southeastern Luzon Island, Philippines. We assign Platymantis quezoni, sp. nov., to the diverse assemblage of terrestrial species in the Platymantis dorsalis Group, subgenus Lupacolus on the basis of its body size and proportions, only slightly expanded terminal discs of the fingers and toes, and its terrestrial microhabitat. The new species is distinguished from these and all other Philippine congeners by features of its external morphology, its restriction to a distinctive limestone karst microhabitat, and its advertisement call, which is unique among frogs of the family Ceratobatrachidae. Several distinguishing morphological characters include its moderate body size (22.1–33.9 mm SVL for 16 adult males and 32.4–39.7 mm SVL for five adult females), slightly expanded terminal discs of the fingers and toes, smooth skin with limited dermal tuberculation, and a dorsal color pattern of mottled tan to dark brown with black blotches. The new species is the sixth Philippine Platymantis known to occur exclusively on limestone karst substrates (previously known karst-obligate species include: P. bayani, P. biak, P. insulatus, P. paengi, and P. speleaus). Recently accelerated discovery of limestone karst anurans across the Philippines suggests that numerous additional species may await discovery on the hundreds of scattered karst formations throughout the archipelago. This possibility suggests that a major conservation priority in coming years will be to study, characterize, describe, and preserve the endemic species supported by this patchy, unique and imperiled type of forest ecosystem in the Philippines.

Keywords: Amphibia, Biodiversity; Evolutionary convergence; Limestone ecomorph; Microhabitat preference; Species discovery

FIGURE 3. Photographs of Platymantis (Lupacolus) quezoni, sp. nov.,
(A) the holotype (PNM 9817; SVL = 33.7) and (B) a male paratype (KU 328735; SVL = 31.3).
Photos: R. M. Brown

FIGURE 5. Limestone karst forest habitat of Platymantis (Lupacolusquezonisp. nov., at the type locality:
 (A) limestone bolder where the holotype (PNM 9817) was recorded and collected; (B) appearance of habitat in late afternoon (~16:30). Note darkened caves and crevices beneath limestone over-hangs from where P. quezoni initiate vocalizations in the late afternoons (16:30–17:30 hr) from concealed perches inside crevices and small caves.
 Photos: R. M. Brown. 

Distribution. Platymantis quezoni is known only from the type locality but may be more wide spread in scattered karst outcrops of northern portions of the Bicol Peninsula (Restificar et al. 2006; MGB 2010), especially on limestone karst formations in the nearby Bondoc Peninsula (Fig. 1). 

 Etymology.  The specific epithet is a patronym in the genitive singular, honoring Manuel Luis Molina Quezon. Quezon served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines during the American colonial period from 1935 through the conclusion of the Second World War. An exemplary statesman, he led the struggle for Philippine independence from American rule.
Suggested common name: Quezon Limestone Forest Frog.  

 Rafe M. Brown, Louise Abigail Asio De Layola, Antonio Ii Nuñez Lorenzo, Mae Leonida Diesmos and Arvin Cantor Diesmos. 2015. A New Species of Limestone Karst inhabiting Forest Frog, Genus Platymantis (Amphibia: Anura: Ceratobatrachidae: subgenus Lupacolus) from southern Luzon Island, Philippines. Zootaxa. 4048(2): 191–210.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4048.2.3


[Ichthyology • 2017] Understanding Morphological Variability in A Taxonomic Context in Chilean Diplomystids (Teleostei: Siluriformes), Including the Description of A New Species, Diplomystes incognitus

Diplomystes incognitus Arratia & Quezada-Romegialli, 2017

Figure 18: Diplomystes incognitus sp. nov. in a recreation of its natural environment.
Young individual, ca. 93 mm SL, from Ñuble River at Nahueltoro Bridge, Itata Basin.


Following study of the external morphology and its unmatched variability throughout ontogeny and a re-examination of selected morphological characters based on many specimens of diplomystids from Central and South Chile, we revised and emended previous specific diagnoses and consider Diplomystes chilensis, D. nahuelbutaensis, D. camposensis, and Olivaichthys viedmensis (Baker River) to be valid species. Another group, previously identified as Diplomystes sp., D. spec., D. aff. chilensis, and D. cf. chilensis inhabiting rivers between Rapel and Itata Basins is given a new specific name (Diplomystes incognitus) and is diagnosed. An identification key to the Chilean species, including the new species, is presented. All specific diagnoses are based on external morphological characters, such as aspects of the skin, neuromast lines, and main lateral line, and position of the anus and urogenital pore, as well as certain osteological characters to facilitate the identification of these species that previously was based on many internal characters. Diplomystids below 150 mm standard length (SL) share a similar external morphology and body proportions that make identification difficult; however, specimens over 150 mm SL can be diagnosed by the position of the urogenital pore and anus, and a combination of external and internal morphological characters. According to current knowledge, diplomystid species have an allopatric distribution with each species apparently endemic to particular basins in continental Chile and one species (O. viedmensis) known only from one river in the Chilean Patagonia, but distributed extensively in southern Argentina.

Figure 18: Diplomystes incognitus sp. nov. in a recreation of its natural environment.
 Young individual, ca. 93 mm SL, from Ñuble River at Nahueltoro Bridge, Itata Basin.  

Diagnosis. Diplomystid that is distinguished from all congeners by the possession of the skin of head, body, and fins densely covered by round, short papillae giving the skin a blackberry-like or verrucose aspect in large individuals; with a short head, slightly squarish and as long as broad (versus slightly longer more triangular-shaped head); high dorsal fin, ca. 20% of SL (range 17–25%) and triangularly-shaped (versus slightly rhomboidal); maxilla with 7–9 teeth (vs. 8–13 in D. chilensis, 11–13 in D. nahuelbutaensis, and 12–19 in D. camposensis); with 10 infraorbital bones, as in D. nahuelbutaensis, but the dorsalmost compound bone is absent; urogenital pore and anus placed between posterior tips of pelvic fins as in D. chilensis (vs. urogenital pore and anus placed between pelvic fins or in between the distal tips of pelvics and anal fin); and absence of pores of axillary gland with occasionally four on one side of body (vs. two or three pores).

Etymology. The specific name incognitus is in reference that recognition of the species was obscured by the assumption that Diplomystes chilensis also extended south of Maipo Basin.

Geographical distribution. In Rapel, Mataquito, Maule, and Itata Basins.

 Gloria Arratia​​ and Claudio Quezada-Romegialli​. 2017.  Understanding Morphological Variability in A Taxonomic Context in Chilean Diplomystids (Teleostei: Siluriformes), Including the Description of A New Species.  PeerJ 5:e2991.  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2991

[Paleontology • 2017] Cascolus ravitis • A New Crustacean from the Herefordshire (Silurian) Lagerstätte, UK , and Its Significance in Malacostracan Evolution

Cascolus ravitis 
Siveter, Briggs, Siveter, Sutton & Legg, 2017  


Cascolus ravitis gen. et sp. nov. is a three-dimensionally preserved fossil crustacean with soft parts from the Herefordshire (Silurian) Lagerstätte, UK. It is characterized by a head with a head shield and five limb pairs, and a thorax (pereon) with nine appendage-bearing segments followed by an apodous abdomen (pleon). All the appendages except the first are biramous and have a gnathobase. The post-mandibular appendages are similar one to another, and bear petal-shaped epipods that probably functioned as a part of the respiratory–circulatory system. Cladistic analysis resolves the new taxon as a stem-group leptostracan (Malacostraca). This well-preserved arthropod provides novel insights into the evolution of appendage morphology, tagmosis and the possible respiratory–circulatory physiology of a basal malacostracan.

An international team of scientists led by the University of Leicester has discovered a new 430 million-year-old fossil and has named it in honour of Sir David Attenborough - who grew up on the University campus.  

Systematic palaeontology

Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea

Class Malacostraca
Subclass Phyllocarida

Order Leptostraca

Genus Cascolus gen. nov.

Type species: Cascolus ravitis sp. nov.

Etymology: The new crustacean is named in honour of the naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, who grew up on University College Leicester campus, in celebration of his 90th birthday. Latin castrum stronghold’ and colus dwelling in’; alluding to the Middle/Old English source for the surname ‘Attenborough, derived from attenat the’ and burgh a fortified place’. Latin Ratae, the Roman name for Leicester, vita life’ and commeatis ‘a messenger’.

  Diagnosis of genus (monotypic) and species: An elongate body comprising a head with a head shield, pedunculate eyes and five limb pairs; and a trunk consisting of a thorax (pereon) with nine limb-bearing segments and an apodous abdomen (pleon). The first appendage is uniramous and has three slender flagella longer than the body. All other appendages are biramous and have a gnathobase. The post-mandibular appendages are similar to one another, except that the fourth head appendage bears a single petal-shaped epipod, and the fifth head appendage and each trunk appendage bear two petal-shaped epipods.

  Material: Only known from the holotype OUMNH C.29698 (figure 1v), a specimen with soft parts reconstructed in three dimensions (figure 1a–u).

  Locality and horizon: Herefordshire, England, UK; Wenlock Series, Silurian.

David J. Siveter, Derek E. G. Briggs, Derek J. Siveter, Mark D. Sutton and David Legg. 2017. A New Crustacean from the Herefordshire (Silurian) Lagerstätte, UK, and Its Significance in Malacostracan Evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0279 

 430 million-year-old fossil named in honor of Sir David Attenborough   @physorg_com

[Mollusca • 2017] Coat of Many Colours — DNA Reveals Polymorphism of Mantle Patterns and Colouration in Caribbean Cyphoma Röding, 1798 (Gastropoda, Ovulidae)

Figure 1: In situ photographs of Cyphoma species. Cyphoma species showing different mantle patterns and colouration.

Cyphoma gibbosum on Pseudoplexaura sp. (B) C. gibbosum on Pseudoplexaura sp. (E) Csignatum on Plexaurella dichotoma (see Reijnen, Hoeksema & Gittenberger, 2010: Fig. 1B) (F) Juvenile C. signatum on Gorgonia ventalina (G) Cyphoma “black morph” on Eunicea tourneforti (H) C. mcgintyi from Florida, USA.
Photos: (A–G) B.T. Reijnen, all from Curaçao; (H) Florida Museum of Natural History.


The iconic gastropod genus Cyphoma is commonly observed in the Caribbean, where it lives in association with various octocorallian hosts. Each species in the genus Cyphoma has a unique, characteristic mantle pattern and colouration, which separates the valid taxa. Because of its abundance and recognisability Cyphoma gibbosum has been used as a model organism in several studies concerning allelochemicals, reef degradation, and physical defence mechanisms. Molecular analyses based on four molecular markers (COI, 16S, H3 and 28S) for three Cyphoma species (C. gibbosum, C. mcgintyi, C. signatum) and an unidentified black morph, collected from three localities in the Caribbean, show that they represent morphological varieties of a single, genetically homogeneous species. This outcome is in agreement with previous anatomical studies. As a result C. mcgintyi and C. signatum are synonymised with C. gibbosum, which is a key result for future work using C. gibbosum as a model organism. The striking morphological differences in mantle pattern and colouration are hypothesised to be the result of one of three possible scenarios: rapid divergence, supergenes (including balanced polymorphism), or incipient speciation.

Figure 1: In situ photographs of Cyphoma species. Cyphoma species showing different mantle patterns and colouration
(A) Cyphoma gibbosum on Pseudoplexaura sp. (B) C. gibbosum on Pseudoplexaura sp. (C) C. gibbosum with atypical mantle pattern (only dots around mantle edges) on Briareum asbestinum (D) C. cf. allenae on Antillogorgia americana (E) Csignatum on Plexaurella dichotoma (see Reijnen, Hoeksema & Gittenberger, 2010: Fig. 1B) (F) Juvenile C. signatum on Gorgonia ventalina (G) Cyphoma “black morph” on Eunicea tourneforti (H) C. mcgintyi from Florida, USA. Photos: (A–G) B.T. Reijnen, all from Curaçao; (H) Florida Museum of Natural History. 

Figure 1: In situ photographs of Cyphoma species. Cyphoma species showing different mantle patterns and colouration
(A) Cyphoma gibbosum on Pseudoplexaura sp. (B) C. gibbosum on Pseudoplexaura sp. (C) C. gibbosum with atypical mantle pattern (only dots around mantle edges) on Briareum asbestinum (D) C. cf. allenae on Antillogorgia americana 

Photos: (A–D) B.T. Reijnen, all from Curaçao. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3018 

Figure 1: In situ photographs of Cyphoma species. Cyphoma species showing different mantle patterns and colouration. (E) Csignatum on Plexaurella dichotoma (see Reijnen, Hoeksema & Gittenberger, 2010: Fig. 1B) (F) Juvenile C. signatum on Gorgonia ventalina (G) Cyphoma “black morph” on Eunicea tourneforti (H) C. mcgintyi from Florida, USA. 

Photos: (E–G) B.T. Reijnen, all from Curaçao; (H) Florida Museum of Natural History.   DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3018 

Bastian T. Reijnen​ and Sancia E.T. van der Meij. 2017. Coat of Many Colours — DNA Reveals Polymorphism of Mantle Patterns and Colouration in Caribbean Cyphoma Röding, 1798 (Gastropoda, Ovulidae).
PeerJ.  5:e3018.  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3018


[PaleoEntomology • 2017] Yijenplatycnemis huangi • Extreme Adaptations for Probable Visual Courtship Behaviour in A Cretaceous Dancing Damselfly

Yijenplatycnemis huangi
 Zheng, Nel, Jarzembowski, Chang, Zhang, Xia, Liu & Wang, 2017

Illustration by D. Zheng. DOI: 10.1038/srep44932 

Courtship behaviours, frequent among modern insects, have left extremely rare fossil traces. None are known previously for fossil odonatans. Fossil traces of such behaviours are better known among the vertebrates, e.g. the hypertelic antlers of the Pleistocene giant deer Megaloceros giganteus. Here we describe spectacular extremely expanded, pod-like tibiae in males of a platycnemidid damselfly from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. Such structures in modern damselflies, help to fend off other suitors as well as attract mating females, increasing the chances of successful mating. Modern Platycnemidinae and Chlorocyphidae convergently acquired similar but less developed structures. The new findings provide suggestive evidence of damselfly courtship behaviour as far back as the mid-Cretaceous. These data show an unexpected morphological disparity in dancing damselfly leg structure, and shed new light on mechanisms of sexual selection involving intra- and intersex reproductive competition during the Cretaceous.

Figure 5: Reconstruction showing the courtship behaviour of Yijenplatycnemis huangi gen. et sp. nov. from the mid-Cretaceous tropical forest in Burma (drawn by Daran Zheng). 

Figure 1: Yijenplatycnemis huangi gen. et sp. nov.
Holotype (NIGP164757); photograph (A) and line drawing (B) of specimen (drawn by DZ). Paratype (BA16200); dorsal view (C) and anterior view (D) of specimen. 

Systematic palaeontology

Order Odonata Fabricius, 1793
Suborder Zygoptera Selys-Longchamps, 1854
Superfamily Coenagrionoidea Kirby, 1890

Family Platycnemididae Yakobson & Bianchi, 1905
Subfamily Palaeodisparoneurinae Poinar et al. 2011

Yijenplatycnemis huangi gen. et sp. nov

Etymology: The generic name is after Mr Huang Yijen, the donator of the type specimen, and the typical genus Platycnemis. The specific name is after Mr. Huang Yijen. Gender masculine.

Diagnosis: Very small damselfly, complete wing length about 11–14 mm; DC closed and quadrangular with MAb perpendicular to MAa; five postnodal and five postsubnodal crossveins present, somewhat aligned; only one postnodal crossvein present distal of Pt; midfork slightly basal of N; RP1 with strong angle below very long pterostigmal brace; area between RA and RP1 greatly widened distal of Pt; IR2 aligned with Sn; IR1 short, originating below Pt; MA long, ending on posterior wing margin below base of RP2; MP short, one or two cells long; CuA reduced to oblique vein; Pt very small, less than half length of surrounding cells; all tibiae spectacularly expanded, covered with two brown bands, in pod-like sclerite except on metatibiae where of semi-circular shape.


Daran Zheng, André Nel, Edmund A. Jarzembowski, Su-Chin Chang, Haichun Zhang, Fangyuan Xia, Haoying Liu & Bo Wang. 2017. Extreme Adaptations for Probable Visual Courtship Behaviour in A Cretaceous Dancing Damselfly.  Scientific Reports. 7, 44932. DOI: 10.1038/srep44932

Courtship behavior trapped in 100-million-year-old amber via @EurekAlert

[Ichthyology • 2017] Rhinogobius mizunoi • A New Species of Freshwater Goby (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from Japan

Rhinogobius mizunoi 
Suzuki, Shibukawa & Aizawa, 2017

 A new freshwater goby, Rhinogobius mizunoi, is described based on six specimens from a freshwater stream in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The species is distinguished from all congeneric species by the following combination of characters: I, 8 second dorsal-fin rays; 18–20 pectoral-fin rays; 13–18 predorsal scales; 33–35 longitudinal scales; 8 or 9 transverse scales; 10+16=26 vertebrae 26; first dorsal fin elongate in male, its distal tip reaching to base of fourth branched ray of second dorsal fin in males when adpressed; when alive or freshly-collected, cheek with several pale sky spots; caudal fin without distinct rows of dark dots; a pair of vertically-arranged dark brown blotches at caudal-fin base in young and females.

Key words: amphidoromous, fish taxonomy, Rhinogobius sp. CO, valid species

Rhinogobius mizunoi sp. nov.
 (Japanese name: Ruri-yoshinobori)

Diagnosis. Rhinogobius mizunoi is distinguished from all congeners by having the following unique combination of characters: 13–18 predorsal scales; 33–35 longitudinal scale series; 8 or 9 transverse scale series; 10+16=26 vertebrae; first dorsal fin elongate in male, its distal tip reaching to base of fourth branched ray of second dorsal fin when adpressed; when alive or freshly-collected, cheek with several pale sky spots; caudal fin lacking distinct rows of dark dots; a pair of dark brown blotches at caudal-fin base in young and females.

Distribution. Known from middle reaches or mountain torrents of freshwater streams in Japan (western Hokkaido southward to southern Kyushu) and Cheju Island, Korea (Akihito et al., 2013); sometimes landlocked in freshwater reservoirs (e.g., Mizuno, 1989). 

Etymology. The new species is named after Dr. Nobuhiko Mizuno, the former professor of Ehime University, Japan, in honor of his great contribution to our knowledge of the ecology of freshwater fishes in Japan, particularly gobies of Rhinogobius.

Toshiyuki Suzuki, Koichi Shibukawa and Masahiro Aizawa. 2017. Rhinogobius mizunoi, A New Species of Freshwater Goby (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from Japan. Bulletin of the Kanagawa prefectural Museum (Nat. Sci.). 46; 79-95.

Friday, March 24, 2017

[Botany • 2017] Begonia tenasserimensis | ส้มกุ้งตะนาวศรี • A New Species of Begonia section Parvibegonia (Begoniaceae) from Thailand and Myanmar

ส้มกุ้งตะนาวศรี | Begonia tenasserimensis Phutthai & M. Hughes

Begonia tenasserimensis sp. nov. belongs to Begonia sect. Parvibegonia and is endemic to the hills of the Tenasserim Range, based on specimens from Peninsular Thailand and Tenasserim Division in Myanmar. The species is restricted to karst limestone and has been assessed as Vulnerable according to IUCN criteria.

Keywords: Southeast Asia; limestone; taxonomy

Fig. 1 Begonia tenasserimensis Phutthai & M.Hughes.
 b. Adaxial and abaxial leaf lamina; c. inflorescence; d. staminate flower; e. glandular hairs on ovary; f. pistillate flower; g. maturing capsule with persistent tepals.
— Photos by T. Phutthai. 

Begonia tenasserimensis Phutthai & M. Hughes, sp. nov. 
Begonia tenasserimensis is vegetatively similar to and shares the presence of persistent tepals when the fruit matures with B. crenata Dryand., but differs from that species in having an acutely lobed leaf lamina with 3 main veins (vs unlobed with 5 main veins) and a shortly spinose dentate leaf margin (vs crenate), pistillate flowers with 5 tepals (vs 6) and staminate flowers with lanceolate inner tepals (vs broadly elliptic), and a more branched inflorescence.

Etymology. The specific epithet ‘tenasserimensis’ is derived from the Tenasserim Range to where the species is endemic.

  T. Phutthai and M. Hughes. 2017. A New Species of Begonia section Parvibegonia (Begoniaceae) from Thailand and Myanmar.  Blumea - Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants.  DOI:  10.3767/000651917X695083

ส้มกุ้งตะนาวศรี Begonia tenasserimensis Phutthai & M. Hughes พบในเขตจังหวัดระนอง สตูล และเขตเทือกเขาตะนาวศรี สาธารณรัฐแห่งสหภาพเมียนมา
 เป็นพืชถิ่นเดียวของไทยและเมียนมา สถานภาพเสี่ยงต่อการสูญพันธุ์


[PaleoMammalogy • 2017] Decoupling Tooth Loss from the Evolution of Baleen in Whales

Baleen whales, or mysticetes, include the largest vertebrates to have ever evolved. Their gigantism, evolutionary success, and ecological diversity have been linked to filter feeding. Mysticetes filter feed using elaborate keratinous baleen plates, which grow from the palate and allow them to strain large quantities of prey out of the water. While the earliest mysticetes retained the adult, mineralized teeth present in ancestral whales, all species of living baleen whales lack teeth and instead possess baleen. The mechanism by which this evolutionary transformation took place remains unknown. We present four independent, but non-exclusive hypotheses for the origin of baleen. We evaluate the support for these hypotheses based on separate lines of evidence, including paleontological, molecular, and ontogenetic data. We suggest that the origin of baleen is decoupled from the loss of teeth, with a separate morphological and genetic basis. Moreover, we outline how new fossils and phylogenetic analyses may resolve current debates about morphological transformations in tooth loss and baleen origin across the phylogeny of stem and crown Mysticeti. Additional insights will likely arise from more detailed examination of developmental and biomechanical data, with sufficient ontogenetic and phylogenetic sampling.

  Key Words: Cetacea, dentition, filter feeding, fossils, Mammalia, Mysticeti, teeth  

Figure 1: Four hypothetical transitional filter feeding stages in mysticetes, with oblique lateral views of a generalized stem mysticete. Hypotheses (A-D) are not mutually exclusive, nor explicitly step-wise.
See text for more details. All artwork courtesy Alex Boersma ( 

Carlos Mauricio Peredo, Nicholas D. Pyenson and Alexandra T. Boersma. 2017. Decoupling Tooth Loss from the Evolution of Baleen in Whales. Front. Mar. Sci.  DOI:  fmars.2017.00067

[Herpetology • 2017] Pristimantis ecuadorensis • Diversification of the Rainfrog Pristimantis ornatissimus in the Lowlands and Andean Foothills of Ecuador

 Pristimantis ecuadorensis
Guayasamin, Hutter, Tapia, Culebras, Peñafiel, Pyron, Morochz, Funk & Arteaga, 2017 


Geographic barriers and elevational gradients have long been recognized as important in species diversification. Here, we illustrate an example where both mechanisms have shaped the genetic structure of the Neotropical rainfrog, Pristimantis ornatissimus, which has also resulted in speciation. This species was thought to be a single evolutionary lineage distributed throughout the Ecuadorian Chocó and the adjacent foothills of the Andes. Based on recent sampling of P. ornatissimus sensu lato, we provide molecular and morphological evidence that support the validity of a new species, which we name Pristimantis ecuadorensis sp. nov. The sister species are elevational replacements of each other; the distribution of Pristimantis ornatissimus sensu stricto is limited to the Ecuadorian Chocó ecoregion (< 1100 m), whereas the new species has only been found at Andean localities between 1450–1480 m. Given the results of the Multiple Matrix Regression with Randomization analysis, the genetic difference between P. ecuadorensis and P. ornatissimus is not explained by geographic distance nor environment, although environmental variables at a finer scale need to be tested. Therefore this speciation event might be the byproduct of stochastic historic extinction of connected populations or biogeographic events caused by barriers to dispersal such as rivers. Within P. ornatissimus sensu stricto, morphological patterns and genetic structure seem to be related to geographic isolation (e.g., rivers). Finally, we provide an updated phylogeny for the genus, including the new species, as well as other Ecuadorian Pristimantis.


Pristimantis ecuadorensis sp. nov. Guayasamin, Hutter, Tapia, Culebras, Peñafiel, Pyron, Morochz, Funk, Arteaga.
Eleutherodactylus ornatissimus Lynch & Duellman 1997, in part.
Pristimantis ornatissimus Arteaga, Bustamante & Guayasamin 2013, in part.

Suggested common name in English: Ecuadorian Rainfrog
Suggested common name in Spanish: Cutín de Ecuador

Diagnosis: Pristimantis ecuadorensis is characterized by the following combination of characters: (1) skin on dorsum shagreen, that on venter smooth; discoidal fold defined posteriorly, (2) tympanic membrane and tympanic annulus evident, oval, (3) snout long, acuminate in dorsal view, rounded in profile, (4) upper eyelid lacking tubercles, (5) dentigerous process of the vomer present, bearing teeth, (6) males having vocal slits and Type I nuptial pads, (7) first finger shorter than second, (8) fingers with lateral fringes, (9) ulnar tubercles absent, (10) heel and tarsus lacking tubercles or folds, (11) inner metatarsal tubercle oval, 4–5x round outer metatarsal tubercle, (12) toes bearing lateral fringes; webbing absent; discs large; fifth toe much longer than third, (13) in life, greenish yellow dorsum with transversal black stripes that may form a reticulated pattern; iris light blue to grayish green or grayish yellow; in preservative, dorsum cream with black stripes, and (14) SVL in adult males 25.4 mm (n = 1) and 37.1–40.2 in adult females (n = 2).

Distribution: Pristimantis ecuadorensis is known only from three nearby localities on the western slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes, provinces of Cotopaxi and Pichincha, at elevations between 1450–1480 m. The localities are: 3 km NE of San Francisco de Las Pampas, Palo Quemado, and Tandapi. With the information at hand, the distribution of P. ornatissimus sensu stricto is constrained to the Chocoan lowlands and Pacific Andean foothills (< 1100 m) of Ecuador. 

Natural History: Information for Pristimantis ecuadorensis is mainly available from the type locality (Fig 8), San Francisco de Las Pampas, a forested valley along the Río Toachi, located at 1480 m in the northwestern slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes. The locality has a mean annual precipitation of 2325 mm. In this area, P. ecuadorensis is found in primary forest and closely associated with the leaf axils of bromeliads, Heliconia plants and palm fronds (genera Ceroxylon and Wettinia) (field notes of Giovanni Onore, César Tapia, and W. E. Duellman). Additionally, the species is associated with banana (Musa paradisiaca) and sugar cane plantations (Saccharum officinarum) bordering native forest (Fig 9). In these ecosystems, P. ecuadorensis perch on top of leaves or inside leaf axils (~15–150 cm above the ground), creased leaves or moss of epiphytic plants, and have been heard calling from them. Additionally, by inspecting fecal samples, we found the remains of beetles, crickets and spiders. In captivity, females of P. ecuadorensis reach sexual maturity after 14 months, and males start vocalizing after 10 months.

Etymology: The specific name ecuadorensis refers to the Republic of Ecuador, where the species is endemic. The name is intended to highlight the overwhelming beauty, and cultural and biological diversity of Ecuador.

Fig 1. Color variation in sequenced Pristimantis ornatissimus sensu stricto and Pristimantis ecuadorensis sp. nov. in Ecuador.


Juan M. Guayasamin, Carl R. Hutter, Elicio E. Tapia, Jaime Culebras, Nicolás Peñafiel, R. Alexander Pyron, Carlos Morochz, W. Chris Funk and Alejandro Arteaga. 2017. Diversification of the Rainfrog Pristimantis ornatissimus in the Lowlands and Andean Foothills of Ecuador. PLoS ONE. 12(3): e0172615. DOI: 1371/journal.pone.0172615

‘Spectacular-looking’ endangered frog species discovered in Ecuador’s cloud forests