Saturday, December 3, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2016] Lubricogobius tunicatus • A New Species of Goby (Pisces: Gobiidae) from Papua New Guinea and the First Record of L. ornatus from the East Indies

Tunicate Goby | Lubricogobius tunicatus 
Allen & Erdmann, 2016


A new species of goby, Lubricogobius tunicatus, is described from Milne Bay Province, eastern Papua New Guinea, on the basis of 10 adult specimens, 9.1–11.5 mm SL. Diagnostic features include 9 (rarely 10) segmented dorsal-fin rays, 6–7 segmented anal-fin rays, the presence of both anterior and posterior nostrils, the greatest body depth 3.1–3.7 in SL, overall coloration typically pale yellow to whitish (rarely brown), and an exceptionally small maximum size of about 11.5 mm SL. Lubricogobius tunicatus is most similar in appearance to L. nanus Allen, 2015, another diminutive species from Papua New Guinea that differs in having 10–11 dorsal-fin rays and 8–9 anal-fin rays. The new species is apparently invariably associated with a species of tunicate (Polycarpa sp.) on silty-sand bottoms in depths of about 20–28 m. In addition, L. ornatus Fourmanoir, 1966, originally described from Vietnam and also recorded from the Ryukyu Islands in Japan, northern Australia, and New Caledonia, is reported for the first time from the East Indies, based on two specimens collected at Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Key words: ichthyology, taxonomy, systematics, coral-reef fishes, Indo-Pacific Ocean

Figure 3. Lubricogobius tunicatus, approximately 9–11 mm SL, underwater photographs taken at the type locality, Normanby Island, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea (G.R. Allen & M.V. Erdmann). 

Etymology. The new species is named tunicatus (Latinized adjective from tunicate) referring to its commensal host. The specific epithet is a masculine singular adjective in the genitive case.

Gerald R. Allen and Mark V. Erdmann. 2016. Lubricogobius tunicatus, A New Species of Goby (Pisces: Gobiidae) from Papua New Guinea and the First Record of L. ornatus from the East Indies. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. 24; 24–34. 


[Botany • 2016] Tridimeris chiapensisPhylogenetic Analyses and Morphological Characteristics support the Description of A Second Species of Tridimeris (Annonaceae) from the karst forest of southern Mexico

Tridimeris chiapensis Escobar-Castellanos & Ortiz-Rodr.

Based on phylogenetic and morphological evidence, Tridimeris chiapensis Escobar-Castellanos & Ortiz-Rodr., sp. n. (Annonaceae), a new species from the karst forest of southern Mexico, is described and illustrated. The new species differs from Tridimeris hahniana, the only described species in the genus, in that the latter has flowers with sepals densely tomentose outside, one (rarely two) carpel(s) per flower and fruits densely covered with golden-brown hairs, while Tridimeris chiapensis has flowers with glabrous sepals outside, two to five carpels per flower and glabrous fruits. Furthermore, a shallow triangular white patch at the base of the inner petals is found in T. chiapensis, a morphological character shared with the sister genus Sapranthus but absent in T. hahniana. Geographically, both species occur allopatrically. With just one known locality and seven individuals of Tridimeris chiapensis recorded in one sampling hectare, and based on application of the criteria established by the IUCN, we conclude tentatively that the species is critically endangered.

Keywords: Dimery, Neotropical, Miliuseae, tropical rainforest

Diagnosis: Tridimeris chiapensis is phylogenetically related to Tridimeris hahniana with which it shares axillary and dimerous flowers and large and fleshy fruits. However, Tridimeris chiapensis differs in having flowers with glabrous sepals, a triangular white patch near the base of inner petals and 2-5 carpels per flower and glabrous fruits (Fig. 3), while T. hahniana has flowers with sepals densely tomentose outside, 1 or 2 carpels per flower and fruits densely covered with golden-brown hairs.

Etymology: The specific epithet is in honor of the Mexican state of Chiapas where the species was found.

Figure 3. Tridimeris chiapensis  Escobar-Castellanos & Ortiz-Rodr.
 A Dimerous flower B Large and fleshy fruits C Flower showing the pollen release and a triangular white patch at the base of the inner petals E Leafy branches.
Photographs by Marcos Escobar-Castellanos.   DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.74.10371

Andres Ernesto Ortiz-Rodriguez, Marcos Alberto Escobar-Castellanos and Miguel Angel Pérez-Farrera. 2016. Phylogenetic Analyses and Morphological Characteristics support the Description of A Second Species of Tridimeris (Annonaceae).
 PhytoKeys. 74: 79-85. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.74.10371


[Botany • 2016] Strobilanthes agasthyamalana • An Enigmatic New Species (Acanthaceae) from Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve of Southern Western Ghats, India

Strobilanthes agasthyamalana  Sasidh., Dantas & Robi

Strobilanthes agasthyamalana is described and illustrated here from the Pongalapara region of Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve, southern Western Ghats. It is similar to S. foliosa and S. lanata in floral, seed and vegetative characters. However, it differs from S. foliosa by its adaxially hirsute and abaxially woolly leaves, bracts and bracteoles, pubescent corolla and villous style, and it differs from S. lanata by its glabrous stem, adaxially hirsute leaves, pubescent corolla, villous style and glabrous seeds.

Key Words: Kerala; kurinji; Strobilanthinae

Fig 2 Strobilanthes agasthyamalana.
A habit; B inflorescence enlarged; C mature inflorescence; D leaf portion enlarged; E tip of corolla lobe enlarged; F corolla split open; G gynoecium with style and stigma; H stamens. photos: A. J. ROBI. 

N. Sasidharan, P. Sujanapal, K. J. Dantas and A. J. Robi. 2016. An Enigmatic New Species, Strobilanthes agasthyamalana (Acanthaceae), from Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve of Southern Western Ghats, India.
 Kew Bulletin. 71:51. DOI: 10.1007/s12225-016-9667-0

[Ichthyology • 2016] Narcine baliensis • A New Species of Electric Ray (Chondrichthyes: Torpediniformes) from southeast Asia

Narcine baliensis 
 De Carvalho & White, 2016  


A new species of numbfish, Narcine baliensis, sp. nov., is described from the tropical eastern Indian Ocean from Indonesia. It is superficially similar to N. brevilabiata and N. atzi in aspects of its color pattern, but is distinguished from both congeners in details of its color pattern, in tooth band morphology, and in proportions of its dorsal fins, among other features. Narcine baliensis, sp. nov., is unique in having a dorsal color pattern composed of large, circular, ovoid or elongate dark brown spots or blotches on dorsal disc along with more numerous small (about eye-sized or slightly greater) brownish, subcircular spots, with large blotches and small spots surrounded by a very slender creamy-white pattern, as well as in having broadly circular upper and lower tooth bands of about the same width and shape. The genus Narcine is now composed of 20 valid species, but uncertainty remains concerning the identification and morphological variation of some of its species in the tropical Indo-West Pacific region.

Keywords: Pisces, Narcinidae, lesser electric rays, numbfishes, taxonomy, morphology, Indonesia

Geographical distribution.— Known from four specimens from southern Indonesia. The holotype was collected during the JETINDOFISH Survey (Gloerfelt-Tarp & Kailola, 1984) from between the islands of Bali and Lombok in depths of about 60 m. The paratypes were collected from the Cilacap fishing port in Central Java from bycatch landings of the local trammel net fishery, which operates off southern Java where it is based. The image of the live specimen was taken farther east on the other side of Wallace's line from the island of Komodo.Narcine baliensis probably occurs at least off most of Java and the western Lesser Sunda Islands, therefore crossing Wallace's line between Bali and Lombok. As far as presently known, N. baliensis and the Australian species of Narcine (= Narcinops Whitley, 1940; Carvalho et al., unpubl.) are the only numbfishes to occur east of the line.

Etymology.— Named in reference to the nearby island of Bali, close to the type locality between the islands of Bali and Lombok, Indonesia.

Marcelo R. De Carvalho and William T. White. 2016.  Narcine baliensis, A New Species of Electric Ray from southeast Asia (Chondrichthyes: Torpediniformes).
 Zootaxa. 4127(1);  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4127.1.8

[Botany • 2010] Rubovietnamia nonggangensis • A New Species (Rubiaceae) from Guangxi, China

Rubovietnamia nonggangensis  F.J.Mou & D.X.Zhang

 A new Rubiaceae species, Rubovietnamia nonggangensis F. J. Mou & D. X. Zhang, is described and illustrated from Guangxi, China. The somatic chromosome number (2n = 22) and pollen morphology of the species are reported. The new species is characterized prominently by having dense hairs on many organs, such as young branches, leaves, and inflorescences, enlarged and foliaceous calyx lobes caducous after anthesis, and indehiscent and globose fruits with persistent yellowish annular floral disks on the apex. All morphological data support that it belongs to the genus Rubovietnamia, a genus distributed in Vietnam and southern China, currently classified in the tribe Gardenieae of the subfamily Ixoroideae.

Keywords: Chromosome number; Gardenieae; Molecular phylogeny; New species; Pollen morphology; Rubiaceae; RubovietnamiaRubovietnamia nonggangensis

 Feng-Juan Mou and Dian-Xiang Zhang. 2010. Rubovietnamia nonggangensis (Rubiaceae), A New Species from China. Botanical Studies (Taipei) 51:119-126.

[Paleontology • 2016] Litorosuchus somnii • A New Armored Archosauriform (Diapsida: Archosauromorpha) from the Marine Middle Triassic of China, with Implications for the Diverse Life Styles of Archosauriforms Prior to the Diversification of Archosauria

 Litorosuchus somnii 
 Li, Wu, Zhao, Nesbitt, Stocker & Wang, 2016  

Reptiles have a long history of transitioning from terrestrial to semi-aquatic or aquatic environments that stretches back at least 250 million years. Within Archosauria, both living crocodylians and birds have semi-aquatic members. Closer to the root of Archosauria and within the closest relatives of the clade, there is a growing body of evidence that early members of those clades had a semi-aquatic lifestyle. However, the morphological adaptations to a semi-aquatic environment remain equivocal in most cases. Here, we introduce a new Middle Triassic (245–235 Ma) archosauriform, Litorosuchus somnii, gen. et sp. nov., based on a nearly complete skeleton from the Zhuganpo Member (Ladinian [241–235 Ma]) of the Falang Formation, Yunnan, China. Our phylogenetic analyses suggest that Litorosuchus is a stem archosaur closely related to the aberrant Vancleavea just outside of Archosauria. The well-preserved skeleton of L. somnii bears a number of morphological characters consistent with other aquatic-adapted tetrapods including: a dorsally directed external naris, tall neural spines and elongate chevrons in an elongated tail, a short and broad scapula, webbed feet, long cervical vertebrae with long slender ribs, and an elongated rostrum with long and pointed teeth. Together these features represent one of the best-supported cases of a semi-aquatic mode of life for a stem archosaur. Together with Vancleavea campi, the discovery of L. somnii demonstrates a growing body of evidence that there was much more diversity in mode of life outside Archosauria. Furthermore, L. somnii helps interpret other possible character states consistent with a semi-aquatic mode of life for archosauriforms, including archosaurs.

Keywords: Adaptation; Morphology; Phylogeny; Reptile; Semi-aquatic

Systematic paleontology
Diapsida (Osborn 1903).
Archosauromorpha (von Huene 1946) sensu (Benton 1985).

Archosauriformes (Gauthier et al. 1988).

Litorosuchus somnii gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: From Latin litoralis, indicating the coastal region where the archosauriform may have lived and Greek soukhos crocodile. From Latin somnium —“dream” in reference to a dream the first author (Li) had the day after he searched for a name for the animal, in which he saw an archosauriform wandering on the beach.


Holotype: IVPP V 16978, a nearly complete skull and skeleton embedded in a slab of limestone with much of its right lateral side exposed.

Locality and horizon: Jiyangshan, west of Huangnihe River, southeast Fuyuan County, Yunnan Province, China; Zhuganpo Member of the Falang Formation, Late Middle Triassic (Ladinian (241–235 Ma)) (Chen 1985).

Diagnosis: A medium-sized reptile (snout to tip of the tail length = ∼2.0 m), differing from other non-archosaur archosauriforms in having the following unique combination of character states: premaxilla bearing only two anteriorly positioned teeth with a short diastema anterior to and a long diastema posterior to the teeth, respectively; posterodorsal (maxillary) process of the premaxilla long and extending just posteriorly; nasal process of the premaxilla extending posteriorly beyond the posterodorsal margin of the external naris; large caniniform tooth in each tooth-bearing bone (shared with V. campi); midline length of the snout (measured from anterior edge of the orbit to the anterior tip of the premaxilla) more than twice that of the post-snout region (shared with species of Chanaresuchus, Q. mixtus, and D. fuyuanensis); T-shaped prefrontal with an elongate and bar-like descending process extending as ventrally as the lacrimal; lacrimal excluded by the prefrontal from the orbit; interfenestral region of the skull roof very narrow, less than one fifth of interorbital width; body completely covered by variously shaped osteoderms in certain regions (e.g., spine-like dorsal osteoderms on caudal vertebrae 10 to 13); tail long, about 60 % of the total length; vertical ridge present on the lateral surface of the neural spine of caudal vertebrae 9 to 35; cervical ribs slender and elongate; astragalus-calcaneum contact a simple butt joint, calcaneal tuber nearly absent. Asterisks denote autapomorphies.

Chun Li, Xiao-chun Wu, Li-jun Zhao, Sterling J. Nesbitt, Michelle R. Stocker and Li-Ting Wang. 2016.  A New Armored Archosauriform (Diapsida: Archosauromorpha) from the Marine Middle Triassic of China, with Implications for the Diverse Life Styles of Archosauriforms Prior to the Diversification of Archosauria.
The Science of Nature [Naturwissenschaften].  103: 95. DOI: 10.1007/s00114-016-1418-4


[Botany • 2016] Borneocola spp. • A New Genus (Zingiberaceae) from Borneo

Floral bracts (B Red and coriaceous in Scaphochlamys pusilla (C) Scarious and marcescent in Borneocola petiolatus.
Variegation on labellum (E) White labellum with red streaks beside the band in Scaphochlamys concinna (F) Lilac labellum without coloured streaks beside the band in Borneocola petiolatus
Photographs by Y.Y. Sam.   DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.75.9837

A new genus from Borneo, Borneocola Y.Y.Sam, is described here. The genus currently contains eight species previously classified as members of the Scaphochlamys Baker. The finding is based on the results of the morphological and molecular studies of Scaphochlamys throughout its geographical range and its closely allied sister groups, Distichochlamys M.F.Newman and Myxochlamys A.Takano & Nagam. Borneocola is nested within the tribe Zingibereae and its monophyly is strongly supported by both ITS and matK sequence data. The genus is characterised by several thin, translucent and marcescent floral bracts, absence of coloured streaks on the labellum and capitate stigma with two dorsal knobs. The genus is distributed in northwest Borneo and all species are very rare and highly endemic.

Keywords: DistichochlamysMyxochlamysScaphochlamys, morphology, phylogeny, taxonomy

Borneocola Y.Y.Sam, gen. nov.

 Diagnosis: Similar to Scaphochlamys and MyxochlamysBorneocola has thin, translucent and marcescent floral bracts, absence of coloured streaks on labellum and two dorsal knobs on the stigma versus the coriaceous and persistent floral bracts, coloured streaks on labellum and absence of dorsal knobs on the stigma in Scaphochlamys. The mucilage on the floral bracts and the versatile anther of Myxochlamys are absent in Borneocola.

Type species: Borneocola reticosus (Ridl.) Y.Y.Sam, comb. nov.
 Gastrochilus reticosa Ridl., J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat. Soc. 44: 195 (1905).

Morphology: The Borneocola and Scaphochlamys species look similar in their vegetative morphologies. They are mostly small-sized gingers without the conspicuous pseudostem, with one to several leaves arranged spirally and tightly on a very short stem at the base. So far, all the Borneocola species examined are unifoliate. Similarly, most of the Scaphochlamys species also bear one leaf except for several species which have leafy shoots composed of multiple leaves, for example, S. grandis, S. lanceolata, S. kunstleri, S. malaccana and S. minutiflora. The basal part of the leaves is covered with a few bladeless sheaths which are rather different for both groups in terms of their texture and colour. For Scaphochlamys, the sheaths are coriaceous, green, green with a red tinge or red and mostly persistent until the end of flowering (Figure 4A, B). On the other hand, the sheaths of Borneocola are thinner in texture with a lighter shade of green or brown. The thin sheaths normally dry up early (Figure 4C) and sometimes they are completely shredded during the time of flowering.

Figure 4.: Bladeless sheaths Green and coriaceous in Scaphochlamys klossii (Peninsular Malaysia) Red and coriaceous in Scaphochlamys abdullahii (Peninsular Malaysia) Papery and marcescent in Borneocola calcicola (Sarawak).
Photographs by Y.Y. Sam.   DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.75.9837

Figure 5. AC Floral bracts A Green and coriaceous in Scaphochlamys klossii B Red and coriaceous in Scaphochlamys pusilla C Scarious and marcescent in Borneocola petiolatus. 
 DF Variegation on labellum D White labellum with purple lines beside the median band in Scaphochlamys malaccana E White labellum with red streaks beside the band in Scaphochlamys concinna F Lilac labellum without coloured streaks beside the band in Borneocola petiolatus.
 Photographs by Y.Y. Sam.   DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.75.9837 

The inflorescences of Borneocola and Scaphochlamys are terminal, stalked and consisted of few to many floral bracts. The differences lie in the characteristics of the floral bracts and flowers. Borneocola species have thin, translucent, early decaying and marcescent floral bracts. The colours of the bracts can be pink, pale brown, pale or light green (Figure 5A). On the contrary, the bracts of Scaphochlamys are coriaceous and sometimes hard in texture. They are usually green, green tinged red, red or reddish brown and remain fresh throughout the flowering (Figure 5B, C).

Etymology: This new genus is named after the island of Borneo and -cola (Latin) means dweller or inhabitant. This is to recognise the extremely rich and unique biodiversity that is found in Borneo.

Distribution: Borneo. The genus is currently known to occur only in the northwest and possibly central Borneo. Eight species are recorded from Sarawak, Malaysia and many more are undescribed.

1. Borneocola argenteus (R.M.Sm.) Y.Y.Sam, comb. nov.
Scaphochlamys argentea R.M.Sm., Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 44: 209 (1987).
Scaphochlamys depressa Mas Izzaty, A.Ampeng & K.Meekiong, Folia Malaysiana 14(2): 19 (2013).

2. Borneocola biru (Meekiong) Y.Y.Sam, comb. nov.
Scaphochlamys biru Meekiong, Folia Malaysiana 16(1): 37 (2015).

3. Borneocola calcicola (A.D.Poulsen & R.J.Searle) Y.Y.Sam, comb. nov.
Scaphochlamys calcicola A.D.Poulsen & R.J.Searle, Gard. Bull. Singapore 57: 29 (2005).

4. Borneocola iporii (Meekiong & A.Ampeng) Y.Y.Sam, comb. nov.
Scaphochlamys iporii Meekiong & A.Ampeng, Folia Malaysiana 12(1): 19 (2011).

5. Borneocola petiolatus (K.Schum.) Y.Y.Sam, comb. nov.
Haplochorema petiolatum K.Schum. in Engler, Pflanzenr. IV, 46 (Heft 20): 90 (1904). Scaphochlamys petiolata (K.Schum.) R.M.Sm., Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 44: 210 (1987).

6. Borneocola reticosus (Ridl.) Y.Y.Sam, comb. nov.
Gastrochilus reticosa Ridl., J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat. Soc. 44: 195 (1905).
  Boesenbergia reticosa (Ridl.) Merr., Bibl. Enum. Born. Pl. 122 (1921).
  Scaphochlamys reticosa (Ridl.) R.M.Sm., Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 44: 209 (1987).

7. Borneocola salahuddinianus (Meekiong, A.Ampeng & Ipor) Y.Y.Sam, comb. nov.
Scaphochlamys salahuddiniana Meekiong, A.Ampeng & Ipor, Folia Malaysiana 12(1): 22 (2011).

8. Borneocola stenophyllus (I.H.Ooi & S.Y.Wong) Y.Y.Sam, comb. nov.
Scaphochlamys stenophylla I.H.Ooi & S.Y.Wong, Willdenowia 44(2): 241-245 (2014).

Incompletely known species

Scaphochlamys anomala (Hallier f.) R.J.Searle, Edinburgh J. Bot. 67: 85 (2010).

Kaempferia anomala Hallier f., Bull. Herb. Boissier 6: 357 (1898).
  Gastrochilus anomalum (Hallier f.) K.Schum. in Engler, Pflanzenr. IV, 46 (Heft 20): 92 (1904). Boesenbergia anomala (Hallier f.) Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 12: 315 (1913).

Gastrochilus hallieri (Hallier f.) Ridl., J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat. Soc. 32: 109 (1899), nom. illegit.

 Yen Yen Sam, Atsuko Takano, Halijah Ibrahim, Eliška Záveská and Fazimah Aziz. 2016. Borneocola (Zingiberaceae), A New Genus from Borneo. PhytoKeys. 75; 31-55. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.75.9837


Friday, December 2, 2016

[Botany • 2014] Gracilaria lantaensis • A New Flat Gracilaria (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) from the Andaman Coast of Thailand

Gracilaria lantaensis 
 Muangmai, Zuccarello, Noiraksa & Lewmanomont 

Collection of a flat red alga of the genus Gracilaria from the Andaman coast of Thailand was described as a new species, Gracilaria lantaensis sp. nov. based on detailed morphological characteristics and rbcL sequence analysis. This species typically grew intertidally on exposed mud-sand shores. It was characterized by its slender thalli with narrow-bladed branches, its smooth margin with a few brachlets and its reddish-pink color. Spermatangial conceptacles were of the textorii-type. Cystocarps were spherical and possessed numerous nutritive filaments at lateral and basal positions in the cystocarp cavity. Gracilaria lantaensis was morphologically similar to G. yamamotoi but differed in branching pattern and cystocarp structure. RbcL sequence data also indicated the genetic distinction between G. lantaensis and other species of Gracilaria. Gracilaria lantaensis was grouped with a major assemblage of Gracilaria species, and sister to some Indian Ocean species with denticulate margins, e.g. G. beckeri, G. capensis and G. denticulata.

Key Words: Gracilaria lantaensis sp. nov, Gracilariales, Indian Ocean, rbcL, Rhodophyta, Thailand

DIAGNOSIS: thalli solitary, flattened and erect, 2–11 cm long and 1–6 mm wide, arising from discoid hold fast with a stipe, 2–10 mm long.Blades had smooth margins with few branchlets, irregularly di- ortrichotomous branched and 250–450lm thick. Spermatangial conceptacles were scattered throughout the blade, forming shallow pits,textorii-type. Mature cystocarps were spherical, slightly rostrate and constricted at their base. Nutritive filaments mostly lateral andbasal, connecting to a thick pericarp. Carposporangia in unbranched chains. Tetrasporangia cruciately divided and scattered over the blade.

HOLOTYPE: KUMF-LT 02-016-1, collected 15 April 2012, deposited at Kasetsart University Museum of Fisheries (KUMF) (see Fig. 1).
ISOTYPES: KUMF-LT 02-016-2, KUMF-LT 02-016-3, KUMF-LT02-016-4, KUMF-LT 02-016-5, collected 15 April 2012, deposited at Kasetsart University Museum of Fisheries (KUMF).

TYPE LOCALITY: 7838054.1100N, 9981014.5100E; attached to pebbles or shells on the muddy sand area in the intertidal, 1–2 m deep, at Ao Kaw Kwang, Lanta Island, Krabi Province, Thailand (Fig. S1).

ETYMOLOGY: lantaensis refers to the locality of Lanta Island where this species is found.

Narongrit Muangmai, Giuseppe C. Zuccarello, Thidarat Noiraksa and Khanjanapaj Lewmanomont. 2014. A New Flat GracilariaGracilaria lantaensis sp. nov. (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) from the Andaman Coast of Thailand.
Phycologia. 53(2); 137-145. DOI:  10.2216/13-215.1

[Paleontology • 2016] Molecular Evidence of Keratin and Melanosomes in Feathers of the Early Cretaceous Bird Eoconfuciusornis

The fossilized remains of Eoconfuciusornis, a beaked bird with no teeth, still contains traces of its original color.

Image: Xiaoli Wang.  DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1617168113  

We report fossil evidence of feather structural protein (beta-keratin) from a 130-My-old basal bird (Eoconfuciusornis) from the famous Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota, which has produced many feathered dinosaurs, early birds, and mammals. Multiple independent molecular analyses of both microbodies and associated matrix recovered from the fossil feathers confirm that these microbodies are indeed melanosomes. We use transmission electron microscopy and immunogold to show localized binding of antibodies raised against feather protein to matrix filaments within these ancient feathers. Our work sheds new light on molecular constituents of tissues preserved in fossils.

Microbodies associated with feathers of both nonavian dinosaurs and early birds were first identified as bacteria but have been reinterpreted as melanosomes. Whereas melanosomes in modern feathers are always surrounded by and embedded in keratin, melanosomes embedded in keratin in fossils has not been demonstrated. Here we provide multiple independent molecular analyses of both microbodies and the associated matrix recovered from feathers of a new specimen of the basal bird Eoconfuciusornis from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of China. Our work represents the oldest ultrastructural and immunological recognition of avian beta-keratin from an Early Cretaceous (∼130-Ma) bird. We apply immunogold to identify protein epitopes at high resolution, by localizing antibody–antigen complexes to specific fossil ultrastructures. Retention of original keratinous proteins in the matrix surrounding electron-opaque microbodies supports their assignment as melanosomes and adds to the criteria employable to distinguish melanosomes from microbial bodies. Our work sheds new light on molecular preservation within normally labile tissues preserved in fossils.

Keywords: keratinous protein, immunogold, ChemiSTEM, melanosome, Early Cretaceous

Yanhong Pan, Wenxia Zheng, Alison E. Moyer, Jingmai K. O’Connor, Min Wang, Xiaoting Zheng, Xiaoli Wang, Elena R. Schroeter, Zhonghe Zhou and Mary H. Schweitzer. 2016. Molecular Evidence of Keratin and Melanosomes in Feathers of the Early Cretaceous Bird Eoconfuciusornis. PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1617168113  

Keratin and melanosomes preserved in 130-million-year-old bird fossil via @physorg_com
Feathers on This 130-Million-Year-Old Fossil Still Contain Traces of Color

[Entomology • 2016] Andraca yauichui • A New Species (Bombycidae sensu lato, Lepidoptera) Endemic to mid Elevation Forests of Taiwan

Andraca yauichui 
Wu & Chang, 2016 


A new endemic, montane species of the genus AndracaAndraca yauichui sp. nov., in Taiwan is described. It can be separated well from a lower montane, notable tea tree pest A. theae (Matsumura, 1909), based on morphological characters of adult, e.g. larger wingspan size, head vertex white rather than brown, valval apex truncate rather than bifurcate, and final instar larva, e.g. the presence of a pair of white spot on lateral part of each abdominal segment and a distinct short anal horn rather than the absence of two characters. The subgeneric placement of this new species in Andraca is also discussed.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Bombycidae sensu lato, Oberthuerinae, Oriental region, Theaceae, Symplocaceae

 Andraca yauichui sp. nov., male, Guanwu, Miaoli.

Distribution and bionomics. Endemic to Taiwan. Distributed in mid mountain ranges between 1721 to 2610 m, the adults occasionally occur from January to November. According to the breeding record by Mei-Yu Chen in mid-elevation of Central Mountain Range, Meifeng (ca. 2100 m), four final instar larvae were found on Eurya strigillosa (Theaceae) on 17th December, 2003, the emerging date of the first adult is 21th March, 2004.

Etymology. The new species is dedicated to the late Dr. Yau-I Chu, who passed in March, 2015. He published amounts of scientific papers, general books for insect knowledge in his life, so continue to profoundly affect the development of entomology in Taiwan.

Shipher Wu and Wei-Chun Chang. 2016. Andraca yauichui sp. n., A New Species Endemic to mid Elevation Forests of Taiwan (Bombycidae sensu lato, Lepidoptera).  Zootaxa. 4200(4); 515–522. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4200.4.4

Thursday, December 1, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2016] Araichthys loro • A New Genus and Species of Suckermouth Armored Catfish (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from the upper rio Tapajós basin, Brazil

Araichthys loro 
 Zawadzki, Bifi & Mariotto, 2016

Araichthys loro, a new genus and species of the suckermouth armored catfish family Loricariidae, is described from the rio Papagaio and tributaries, rio Tapajós basin, Mato Grosso State, central Brazil. Araichthys is distinguished from all other genera of the Ancistrini by features of body and head plates, odontodes of breeding males, and osteology, and by the absence of an Adipose fin. A phylogenetic analysis of morphological characters obtained Araichthys as part of a monophyletic group that also includes Pseudolithoxus, Ancistrus and Lasiancistrus based on the presence of a large gap with a strut between the anterior process of the pterotic-supracleithrum and its main body, three rows of plates at thinnest part of caudal peduncle, fleshy tentacles on snout with a sheath partially detached from odontodes, and small tentacles on pectoral fins partially detached from odontodes.

Cláudio H. Zawadzki, A. G. Bifi & S. Mariotto. 2016. Araichthys loro, A New Genus and Species of Suckermouth Armored Catfish from the upper rio Tapajós basin, Brazil (Siluriformes: Loricariidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters. 27(4); 361–372.

[Herpetology • 2016] Cnemaspis tropidogaster (Boulenger, 1885) • The Re-discovery of Live Populations (Sauria, Gekkonidae) from Sri Lanka after 120 years

Cnemaspis tropidogaster (Boulenger, 1885)

  egg-nesting habitat with an adult female from Gampaha District, Sri Lanka  (not collected; Photo: W.M.S. Botejue)

Amarasinghe, Campbell, Madawala, Botejueet al. 2016.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4200.3.5  


Gonatodes kandianus var. tropidogaster was described by Boulenger (1885) with only “Ceylon” (=Sri Lanka) as its locality. This taxon was later assigned to the genus Cnemaspis and then recorded from many different parts of the country. Misleading taxonomic publications and muddled nomenclatural issues has since rendered its taxonomic position unclear. Recent studies have revealed, however, that Cnemaspis tropidogaster is a species complex, and the species and its types have been redescribed. Unfortunately, no live populations of this species have been recorded until now. Here we report the rediscovery of live populations of this species 120 years after its last collection date records. C. tropidogaster was rediscovered from a low elevation (50–80 m asl.) of the wet zone of Sri Lanka. The rediscovered population was attributed to C. tropidogaster on the basis of a suite of matching morphometric and meristic characters that distinguish C. tropidogaster from other Sri Lankan Cnemaspis.

Keywords: Reptilia, Cnemaspis tropidogasterCnemaspis kandiana, distribution, conservation, taxonomy

Amarasinghe, A. A. T., Patrick D. Campbell, Majintha B. Madawala, W. M. S. Botejue, Dinesh E. Gabadage, Anslem de Silva and D. M. S. S. Karunarathna. 2016. The Re-discovery of Live Populations of Cnemaspis tropidogaster (Boulenger, 1885) (Sauria, Gekkonidae) from Sri Lanka after 120 years.   Zootaxa. 4200(3); 395–405. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4200.3.5