Wednesday, December 13, 2017

[Mammalogy • 2018] Taxonomic Review of the Genus Cyclopes Gray, 1821 (Xenarthra: Pilosa), with the Revalidation and Description of New Species

silky anteater  Cyclopes didactylus

photo: Quinten Questel
Miranda, Casali, Perini, et al. 2018.    DOI:  10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx079 

The taxonomy of Cyclopes didactylus is marked by a confusing history of new names, with few or no references to types, and new subspecies without any verified geographic correspondence. Here, we review the taxonomy of the genus Cyclopes using an integrative approach that combines morphological, morphometric and molecular data. We, therefore, aim to clarify many issues concerning the taxonomy, distribution and conservation status of the valid taxa and describe new previously unrecognized species for the genus. We examined a total of 287 specimens of Cyclopes, including skins and skulls, housed in 20 natural history collections and 33 samples for molecular analyses. Based on evidence provided by molecular phylogenetics using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, allied with coalescent species delimitation analyses, diagnostic characters of the skull, colour patterns and structures of pelage, we suggest that the genus Cyclopes comprises at least seven species. Four previous species designations are considered valid here: Cyclopes didactylus (Linnaeus, 1758); Cyclopes ida Thomas, 1900; Cyclopes catellus Thomas, 1928; and Cyclopes dorsalis (Gray, 1865). In addition, three new species are described. The results presented here have large implications for the conservation status and management practices of silky anteaters.

Family Cyclopedidae
Genus Cyclopes Gray, 1821

Cyclopes didactylus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Cyclopes ida Thomas, 1900
Cyclopes dorsalis (Gray, 1865)
Cyclopes catellus Thomas, 1928

Cyclopes thomasi sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific name honours Michael Rogers Oldfield Thomas, in recognition of his extensive contribution to mammalogy, and specifically to the taxonomy of Cyclopes.

Cyclopes rufus sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific name rufus (meaning ‘red’ in Latin) refers to the reddish tone of the dorsal coloration of this species.

Cyclopes xinguensis sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific epithet xinguensis refers to the type locality of this species in Vitória do Xingu, Pará, Brazil. Xingu is an indigenous word meaning good and clean water.
The silky anteater (Cyclopes didactylus

photo: Quinten Questel/CC 3.0/Wikimedia Commons 

Flávia R Miranda, Daniel M Casali, Fernando A Perini, Fabio A Machado and Fabrício R Santos. 2018. Taxonomic Review of the Genus Cyclopes Gray, 1821 (Xenarthra: Pilosa), with the Revalidation and Description of New Species.  Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. zlx079.  DOI:  10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx079 

Brazilian researchers uncover 6 new species of silky anteater via @EurekAlert
 Cientistas brasileiros descobrem seis novas espécies de tamanduás-anões -,cientistas-brasileiros-descobrem-seis-novas-especies-de-tamanduas-anoes,70002115814  @estadao

[Herpetology • 2017] Hemidactylus kurdicus • A New Species of Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkota: Gekkonidae) from Qara Dagh Mountains, Kurdistan Region, with A Key to the Genus in Iraq

Hemidactylus kurdicus 
Safaei-Mahroo, Ghaffari, Ghafoor & Amini, 2017


We describe a new species of gecko of the genus Hemidactylus from the oak woodlands of Zagros Forest Steppe of Qara Dagh Mountains, Sulaimani, northeastern Iraq, based on morphological and molecular characteristics. Hemidactylus kurdicus sp. nov. is distinguished from all other related Arid clade Hemidactylus species in the Middle East by having a single pair of postmental scales; it differs H. turcicus, H. robustus, H. ulii, H. sinaitus, H. shihraensis and H. yerburii based on the number of lamellae under the first and fourth toes of pes. Mitochondrial DNA including CytB and 12S identify a consistent divergence between H. kurdicus and H. persicus. An identification key to the genus Hemidactylus in Iraq is presented.

Keywords: Hemidactylus kurdicus sp. nov., morphology, phylogeny, taxonomy, Geckoes, habitat, Zagros Mountains forest steppe, Qara-Dagh Mountain, Reptilia

Hemidactylus kurdicus sp. nov.

Etymology. The generic nomen kurdicus is derived from the word “Kurd” which refers to the name for the Kurdish nation (Kurdistan Region), the location where the new species was found.

Barbod Safaei-Mahroo, Hanyeh Ghaffari, Aram Ghafoor and Saywan Amini. 2017. A New Species of Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkota: Gekkonidae)  from Qara Dagh Mountains, Kurdistan Region, with A Key to the Genus in Iraq.  Zootaxa. 4363(3); 377–392. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4363.3.4

BBC Persian - کشف گونه‌ای جدید از مارمولک در سلیمانیه

[PaleoOrnithology • 2017] Kumimanu biceae • A Paleocene Penguin from New Zealand Substantiates Multiple Origins of Gigantism in Fossil Sphenisciformes

Kumimanu biceae
Mayr, Scofield, De Pietri & Tennyson, 2017

One of the notable features of penguin evolution is the occurrence of very large species in the early Cenozoic, whose body size greatly exceeded that of the largest extant penguins. Here we describe a new giant species from the late Paleocene of New Zealand that documents the very early evolution of large body size in penguins. Kumimanu biceae, n. gen. et sp. is larger than all other fossil penguins that have substantial skeletal portions preserved. Several plesiomorphic features place the new species outside a clade including all post-Paleocene giant penguins. It is phylogenetically separated from giant Eocene and Oligocene penguin species by various smaller taxa, which indicates multiple origins of giant size in penguin evolution. That a penguin rivaling the largest previously known species existed in the Paleocene suggests that gigantism in penguins arose shortly after these birds became flightless divers. Our study therefore strengthens previous suggestions that the absence of very large penguins today is likely due to the Oligo-Miocene radiation of marine mammals.

Systematic paleontology
Aves Linnaeus, 1758
Sphenisciformes Sharpe, 1891

Kumimanu biceae, n. gen. et sp.

  Holotype. NMNZ S.45877: partial skeleton of a single individual including cranial end of left scapula, incomplete right coracoid, cranialmost portion of sternum, partial left humerus, incomplete proximal end of left ulna, right femur, right tibiotarsus lacking proximal end, partial synsacrum, three vertebrae, and various bone fragments.

  Etymology. From kumi (Maori), a large mythological monster, and manu (Maori), bird. The species epithet honors Beatrice (“Bice”) A. Tennyson, the mother of AJDT, who fostered his interest in natural history (pronounced “bee-chee-ae”).

  Type locality and horizon. Hampden Beach, Otago, New Zealand (NZ Fossil Record Number J42/f0956; precise locality information is recorded at NMNZ); Moeraki Formation, late Paleocene (late Teurian, local stratigraphic level NZP522, which has an absolute age of 55.5.-59.5 million years23; a matrix sample taken from the fossil (GNS Science sample L29126) contained a specimen of the dinoflagellate Palaeocystodinium australinum and an unnamed dinoflagellate taxon that support a Teurian age for this sample; C. Clowes, pers. comm.).

  Diagnosis. A very large-sized sphenisciform species, which is characterized by proximodistally low and widely spaced condyles of the tibiotarsus. Distinguished from the late Paleocene Crossvallia and all post-Paleocene Sphenisciformes of which humeri are known in the dorsoventrally narrower humerus shaft, with ratio of maximum width of proximal end of humerus to minimum width of shaft being 2.4 (less than this value in Crossvallia and all post-Paleocene Sphenisciformes of which the humerus is known). Distinguished from Waimanu tuatahi in having the bicipital crest of humerus not forming a distally directed bulge. Distinguished from Waimanu manneringi (the humerus of which is unknown) in having the tibiotarsus with proximodistally lower and more widely spaced condyles.

The humerus (top) and a bone from the shoulder girdle (coracoid, bottom) of the Paleocene giant penguin Kumimanu biceae, compared to the corresponding bones of one of the largest fossil penguins known to date (Pachydyptes ponderosus from the Eocene in New Zealand) and those of an Emperor Penguin (Aptendodytes forsteri).

photo: G. Mayr/Senckenberg Research Institute.

Gerald Mayr, R. Paul Scofield, Vanesa L. De Pietri and Alan J. D. Tennyson. 2017. A Paleocene Penguin from New Zealand substantiates multiple origins of gigantism in fossil Sphenisciformes. Nature Communications. 8, Article number: 1927. DOI:  10.1038/s41467-017-01959-6

A giant human-sized ancient penguin has been discovered 
Ancient man-sized penguin found in New Zealand beach via @zmescience
 「怪物」サイズのペンギン、ニュージーランドで化石発見 via @afpbbcom


[Crustacea • 2017] Procambarus virginalis • The Marbled Crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae) represents An Independent New Species

Procambarus virginalis  Lyko, 2017


Marbled crayfish are a globally expanding population of parthenogenetically reproducing freshwater decapods. They are closely related to the sexually reproducing slough crayfish, Procambarus fallax, which is native to the southeastern United States. Previous studies have shown that marbled crayfish are morphologically very similar to P. fallax. However, different fitness traits, reproductive incompatibility and substantial genetic differences suggest that the marbled crayfish should be considered an independent species. This article provides its formal description and scientific name, Procambarus virginalis sp. nov.

Keywords: Crustacea, parthenogenesis, annulus ventralis, genetic analysis, mitochondrial DNA

FIGURE 2. Procambarus virginalis new species holotype, dorsal views.  

Procambarus virginalis sp. nov.

Diagnosis. Body pigmented, eyes well developed. Rostrum with marginal spine and lacking median carina. Carapace with cervical spine. Areola 5 to 7 times as long as wide, constituting 30 to 35 percent carapace length (Tab. 1). Suborbital angle obtuse and weak. Postorbital ridge well developed with cephalic spine. Hepatic area punctate. Antennal scale approximately 2.5 times as long as wide, widest at midlength. Annulus ventralis bellshaped, about 1.6 times as broad as long, bisected by narrow furrow leading caudally into median depression. Sinus originating on median line, continuing longitudinally on anterior half, then curving dextrally before curving caudally before continuing and terminating on median line. Sternum immediately cephalic to annulus with no tubercles or projections and not overhanging annulus. Unadorned bell-shaped postannular sclerite with central longitudinal furrow, width similar to annulus. First pleopods present. Mitochondrial DNA with guanine and cytosine at positions 8754 and 8783, respectively (GenBank accession number KT074364, see Tab. 2 for a list of discriminatory genetic variants).

Etymology. The name Procambarus virginalis is derived from the preliminary designation Procambarus fallax forma virginalis (Martin et al., 2010) and reflects the species' unique parthenogenetic mode of reproduction

Remarks. The oldest known record of P. virginalis is from a German biologist and hobby aquarist. In a personal conversation with the author (February 2017), he recalled obtaining an uncharacterized batch of "Texas crayfish" from a pet trader specializing in American insects and other invertebrates, at a trade fair in Frankfurt (Germany) in 1995. Animal numbers of this original stock increased rapidly and animals were subsequently distributed to other German aquarists, eventually reaching commercial traders and pet stores. The absence of male animals and the parthenogenetic mode of reproduction were soon recognized among aquarists and subsequently confirmed in the first scientific description of marbled crayfish (Scholtz et al., 2003).

Frank Lyko. 2017. The Marbled Crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae) represents An Independent New Species. Zootaxa. 4363(4); 544–552. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4363.4.6

[Paleontology • 2017] Algorachelus peregrinus • A New Turtle Taxon (Podocnemidoidea, Bothremydidae) reveals the Oldest Known Dispersal Event of the crown Pleurodira from Gondwana to Laurasia

Algorachelus peregrinus
Pérez-García. 2017 

Illustration by José Antonio Peñas

Pan-Pleurodira is one of the two clades of extant turtles (i.e. Testudines). Its crown group, Pleurodira, has a Gondwanan origin being known from the Barremian. Cretaceous turtle fauna of Gondwana was composed almost exclusively of pleurodires. Extant pleurodires live in relatively warm regions, with a geographical distribution restricted to tropical regions that were part of Gondwana. Although pleurodires were originally freshwater forms, some clades have adapted to a nearshore marine lifestyle, which contributed to their dispersal. However, few lineages of Pleurodira reached Laurasian regions and no representatives have so far been described from the pre-Santonian of Laurasia, where the continental and coastal Cretaceous faunas of turtles consist of clades exclusive to this region. A new turtle, Algorachelus peregrinus gen. et sp. nov., is described here from the southern Laurasian Cenomanian site of Algora in Spain. Numerous remains, including a skull and well-preserved postcranial specimens, are attributed to this species. The abundant shell elements, much more numerous than those known in most members of pleurodiran clade Bothremydidae, allow its variability to be studied. The new taxon represents the oldest evidence of the occurrence of Pleurodira in Laurasia, and is the oldest genus of the abundant and diverse Bothremydodda so far described. Factors such as the relatively high Cenomanian temperatures, the adaptation of this Gondwanan clade to coastal environments, and the geographical proximity between the two landmasses may have contributed to its dispersal. This finding shows that the first dispersals of Pleurodira from Gondwana to Laurasia occurred much earlier than previously thought.

Keywords: Pleurodira, Bothremydidae, new taxa, dispersal, Laurasia

Adán Pérez-García. 2017. A New Turtle Taxon (Podocnemidoidea, Bothremydidae) reveals the Oldest Known Dispersal Event of the crown Pleurodira from Gondwana to Laurasia. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 15(9); 709-731. DOI:  10.1080/14772019.2016.1228549
El increíble viaje de la primera tortuga africana que llegó a Europa via @agencia_sinc

[Botany • 2017] Spathoglottis jetsuniae • A New and Striking Spathoglottis (Orchidaceae: Collabiinae), honoring Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan

Spathoglottis jetsuniae N.Gyeltshen, K.Tobgyel & Dalström

Gyeltshen, Tobgyel & Daltröm, 2017


A new, attractive and morphologically unique species of Spathoglottis is described, illustrated and compared with the most similar species. The new species is currently only known from two localities in southeastern Bhutan and differs distinctly from its closest relative, Spathoglottis hardingiana, by the glabrous pedicels, forward-curved acuminate apices of the petals, a yellow hypochile of the lip, two pairs of unequal callus “horns” and swellings, and a spirally coiled epichile of the lip, versus a densely pubescent inflorescence and pedicels, a pale purple hypochile, a single pair of erect and clavate, or“bubble-shaped”, callus swellings, and a projecting and narrowly triangular epichile of the lip for S. hardingiana. 

Keywords: Orchidaceae, Collabiinae, new species, Spathoglottis, Bhutan

Figure 5. The striking flowers of Spathoglottis jetsuniae.

 Photo by Nima Gyeltshen

Spathoglottis jetsuniae N.Gyeltshen, K.Tobgyel & Dalström, sp. nov.

Diagnosis. Spathoglottis jetsuniae is similar to S. hardingiana C.S.P.Parish & Rchb.f. (Fig.7), but differs by having sub-glabrous inflorescence, axis and pedicels, petals with abruptly acuminate apices curved forward, a yellow lip with a pair of spreading fleshy callus lobes and an additional, parallel pair of digitate, or “sausage-shaped”, callus structures above, and a narrow and coiled-up, strap-like mid-lobe. In contrast, S. hardingiana has distinctly pubescent inflorescence, axis, ovaries and pedicels, acute petals, a pale mauve lip with a single pair of thick and clavate, or bulbous, erect callus structures, and a porrect and narrowly triangular mid-lobe (Parish & Reichenbach 1875; Curtis’s Botanical Magazine 1904).

Distribution: Spathoglottis jetsuniae is so far only known from two localities in southeastern Bhutan. 

Eponomy: Spathoglottis jetsuniae is named in loving and respectful honor of Her Majesty the Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck of Bhutan, who has a dedicated and sincere interest in the protection of the environment and the wild flora and fauna of Bhutan.

Figure 7: Spathoglottis hardingiana from the Curtis’ Botanical Magazine, plate 7964 (1904).

Nima Gyeltshen, Kezang Tobgyel and Stig Daltröm. 2017. A New and Striking Spathoglottis (Orchidaceae: Collabiinae), honoring Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan.  LANKESTERIANA. 17(3); 395–393.  


[Ichthyology • 2017] Exostoma gaoligongense • A New Species of Sisorid Catfish of the Genus Exostoma from the Salween drainage, Yunnan, China

 Exostoma gaoligongense
Chen, Poly, Catania & Jiang, 2017

A new species of the sisorid catfish genus Exostoma Blyth, 1860 was collected from two hill-stream tributaries of the Nujiang (Salween River) drainage in Gaoligong Mountain, south-western Yunnan Province, China from 2003 to 2006 and from two tributaries of the Salween River in Cangyuan County, Lingcang Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China (in 2007) and in Yongde County, Lingcang Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China (in 2015). Exostoma gaoligongense sp. nov. is the 10th species of the genus and is most similar to E. vinciguerrae in morphology but can be distinguished by pelvic fin reaching anus vs. not reaching; maxillary barbels just reaching or slightly surpassing pectoral-fin origin vs. surpassing pectoral-fin origin or even reaching posterior end of gill membrane; abdominal vertebrae 23-25 vs. 25-27; length of dorsal fin/dorsal to adipose distance 90.3%-287.0% vs. 59.2-85.7. A key to Exostoma spp. is provided.

Keywords: Glyptosterninae; Sisoridae; Nujiang; Gaoligong Mountain; Yunnan

Figure 1: Holotype of Exostoma gaoligongense sp. nov. (KIZ 200310738); lateral (top), dorsal (middle), and ventral (bottom) views (photos by Xiao-Yong Chen)

Exostoma gaoligongense sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific name is an adjective that refers to the Gaoligong Mountain in which the type locality is located, and the suffix agrees in gender with the generic name Exostoma (gender neuter).

Notes on biology: This species was collected from shallow water ( < 1 m deep) in a fast flowing stream with clear water. Water temperature was 18.8 ℃, water pH 6.95, conductivity 45.6 μS/cm. The bottom substrate was boulders, cobbles, gravel, and sand with many diatoms that made the rocks slippery. This species was obtained from fast water and small waterfalls. The new species of Exostoma seems to have much lower tolerance to either low dissolved oxygen or to stress from electrofishing than Pseudexostoma brachysoma Chu, 1979, which occurs in the same habitat. After shocking sampling on 7 October 2003, all the Exostoma were dead, whereas all the individuals of P. brachysoma survived until the next morning.

Xiao-Yong Chen, William J. Poly, David Catania and Wan-Sheng Jiang. 2017. A New Species of Sisorid Catfish of the Genus Exostoma from the Salween drainage, Yunnan, China. Zoological Research. 38(5);  291-299.
A Chinese biologist’s 14-year quest to prove his new catfish species via @SCMP_News

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

[PaleoOrnithology • 2017] Maaqwi cascadensis • A Large, Marine Diving Bird (Avialae: Ornithurae) from the Upper Cretaceous of British Columbia, Canada

Maaqwi cascadensis
McLachlan, Kaiser & Longrich, 2017


Mesozoic bird fossils from the Pacific Coast of North America are rare, but small numbers are known from the Late Cretaceous aged sediments of Hornby Island, British Columbia. Most are unassociated fragments that offer little information, but additional preparation of a large coracoid has revealed more details of its structure, as well as three associated wing bones. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that Maaqwi cascadensis, gen. et sp. nov. represents a derived crown or near-crown member of Ornithurae, and specifically suggests affinities with Vegaviidae. M. cascadensis is characterized by large size, and regressions based on dimensions of the coracoid suggest a large bird, with an estimated body mass of approximately 1.5 kilograms. The bones are robust, with thick walls, suggesting that M. cascadensis was a bird adapted for diving, similar to modern loons and grebes. The wings are short, while the coracoid is unusually short and broad, similar to modern loons. Along with the Ichthyornithes and Hesperornithes, M. cascadensis and Vegaviidae appear to represent a third clade of bird that evolved to exploit marine habitats in the Late Cretaceous, one specialized for foot-propelled diving and rapid cruising flight over water.

Fig 2. Photographs and schematic illustrations of Maaqwi cascadensis holotype RBCM.EH2008.011.01120 depicting wing bone orientation. (A, B) dorsal face of right coracoid and partial humerus. 

 acrocoracoid, partial humerus, ulna and radius. Shading denotes preserved cortical bone (white), exposed trabecular bone (light grey), and matrix (dark grey). c = coracoid. h = humerus. u = ulna. r = radius. Scale bar = 1 cm. 

Systematic paleontology

Avialae Gauthier 1986
Ornithothoraces Chiappe and Calvo 1994
Ornithuromorpha Chiappe and Walker 2002

Ornithurae Haeckel 1866 sensu Chiappe
Vegaviidae Agnolín et al. 2017

Maaqwi cascadensis gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: The generic name, Maaqwi, is derived from “ma’aqwi”, the Coast Salish word meaning “water bird”. The specific name, cascadensis, reflects provenance in the Cascadia region of western North America.

Holotype: RBCM.EH2008.011.01120 consists of a concretionary mudstone nodule containing a right coracoid, as previously described by Dyke et al. [18]. However, at the time of initial description, the specimen had not been prepared and only the dorsal face of the coracoid was visible [18, Fig 2A]. The acrocoracoid appeared to be missing and only the broken ends of the three associated long bones were visible. Subsequent mechanical preparation of the coracoid revealed that its head was everted ventrally and had been buried within the matrix. Further preparation revealed central portions of three wing elements; a humerus, ulna and radius (Fig 2). The specimen is housed within the RBCM.

Locality: RBCM.EH2008.011.01120 was recovered from a coastal outcrop of the upper Campanian Northumberland Formation exposed on the northwestern shore of Hornby Island, British Columbia.

Diagnosis: Coracoid compact, polygonal in profile, with the omal portion approximately one third of the medial length. Coracoid shaft a stout, flat bar. Coracoid and humerus robust, highly pachyostotic.

Maaqwi cascadensis appears to represent a lineage of Cretaceous marine birds distinct from either Ichthyornithes or Hesperornithiformes. Instead, it appears to be closely allied with—or perhaps part of—crown Aves. The wings are reduced, inconsistent with soaring, and instead suggest a bird specialized for fast cruising flight over water. The thickness of the walls of the bones suggest that it was a diver but the wings are not modified for underwater propulsion. Instead, it was most likely a foot-propelled diver, although it may have made occasional use of its wings for steering underwater. Phylogenetic analysis suggests affinities with Vegavis iaai, which has recently been reinterpreted as a foot-propelled diver, taking its place along side other advanced ornithurines specialized for foot-propelled diving within the Vegaviidae including Australornis lovei, Neogaeornis wetzeli, and Polarornis gregrorii. Clearly, additional fossil material is needed to better understand the affinities and ecology of these Late Cretaceous–early Paleogene marine birds.

Sandy M. S. McLachlan, Gary W. Kaiser and Nicholas R. Longrich. 2017.   Maaqwi cascadensis: A Large, Marine Diving Bird (Avialae: Ornithurae) from the Upper Cretaceous of British Columbia, Canada. PLoS ONE. 12(12); e0189473.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0189473

[Herpetology • 2017] Goggia incognita & G. matzikamaensis • Molecular Phylogeny reveals Strong Biogeographic Signal and Two New Species in A Cape Biodiversity Hotspot Endemic Mini-Radiation, the Pygmy Geckos (Gekkonidae: Goggia)

Goggia matzikamaensis
Heinicke, Turk & Bauer, 2017


The gekkonid genus Goggia includes eight described species of mostly small-bodied rock dwelling gecko endemic to the southwestern portion of southern Africa, in South Africa and extreme southern Namibia. Previous studies focused on Goggia have employed external morphology and allozyme electrophoresis, but no sequence-based molecular phylogeny of the group has been produced. We have generated a molecular phylogeny of Goggia including all named species and multiple individuals within each species, using sequences of the mitochondrial gene ND2 and nuclear genes RAG1 and PDC. The phylogeny depicts a basal divergence between eastern and western species of small-bodied Goggia, with additional divergences also showing structure strongly correlated with geography. Goggia lineata and G. rupicola are shown to be non-monophyletic, and examination of external morphology supports the distinctiveness of these lineages. We describe two new species to accommodate the southern lineages of “G. lineata” and “G. rupicola”: Goggia incognita sp. nov. and Goggia matzikamaensis sp. nov. Both new species are separated from their northern relatives by geographic barriers: the Knersvlakte plain for G. incognita sp. nov. and G. lineata, and the high Kamiesberg mountains for G. matzikamaensis sp. nov. and G. rupicola. The possible roles of geography, ecology, and climate in promoting diversification within Goggia are discussed.

Keywords: Reptilia, allopatry, Cape Fold Belt, fynbos, Karoo, Namaqualand, taxonomy

Goggia incognita sp. nov. 
Diplodactylus lineatus (part) Gray, 1845
Phyllodactylus lineatus (part) Smith, 1849
Phyllodactylus lineatus lineatus (part) Hewitt, 1937 
Goggia lineata (part) Bauer, Good, and Branch, 1997

Etymology. The specific epithet is from the Latin word incognitus, meaning “not known”. The English phrase “going incognito” refers to remaining hidden or disguised. The name is chosen to reflect the 150+ year time period in which this species has remained hidden within what were considered nominotypical populations of Goggia lineata. It additionally reflects the natural history of the species, as members of the species are typically inconspicuous and hidden under cover objects by day. The name is used as an adjective.

One of the newly described Dwarf Leaf-toed Geckos - Goggia matzikamaensis from near Kliprand in the Western Cape, South Africa.

Goggia matzikamaensis sp. nov. 
Phyllodactylus rupicolus (part) Branch, Bauer, and Good, 1995 
Goggia rupicola (part) Bauer, Good, and Branch, 1997

Etymology. The specific epithet means “from Matzikama”, and refers to the type locality, which is within Matzikama Local Municipality, the northernmost municipality in Western Cape Province. The epithet is used as an adjective.

Matthew P. Heinicke, Dilara Turk and Aaron M. Bauer. 2017. Molecular Phylogeny reveals Strong Biogeographic Signal and Two New Species in A Cape Biodiversity Hotspot Endemic Mini-Radiation, the Pygmy Geckos (Gekkonidae: Goggia).  Zootaxa. 4312(3); 449–470.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4312.3.3

[Herpetology • 2017] Arthroleptis troglodytes Poynton, 1963 • The Rediscovery of A Lost Frog

 Arthroleptis troglodytes  Poynton, 1963
Becker & Hopkins, 2017 

The cave squeaker Arthroleptis troglodytes Poynton, 1963 was first collected in 1961/62, and not observed again for 54 years despite several attempts to locate it. We rediscovered this species near the type locality in the Chimanimani mountain range in eastern Zimbabwe. We describe for the first time the call and colour in life, and highlight several morphological and habitat features not previously recorded for this species.

Keywords: amphibian, Arthroleptis, high altitude, Possibly Extinct, taxonomy, Zimbabwe

Adult male Arthroleptis troglodytes.

Francois S. Becker and Robert W. Hopkins. 2017. The Rediscovery of A Lost Frog: Arthroleptis troglodytes Poynton, 1963.  African Zoology. 52(3); 183-187. DOI:  10.1080/15627020.2017.1370982

After 54 years in hiding, 'extinct' frog rediscovered in Zimbabwe
Rare 'cave squeaker' frog seen in Zimbabwe for first time in 55 years

[Herpetology • 2017] Microkayla huayna • A New Species of Microkayla (Anura: Craugastoridae: Holoadeninae) from Department La Paz, Bolivia

Microkayla huayna
De la Riva, Cortez & Burrowes, 2017


We describe a new species of direct-developing frog of the genus Microkayla from the Cordillera Real of the Bolivian Andes, in the Department of La Paz. The new species, Microkayla huayna sp. nov., is closely related to M. teqta and can be distinguished from other species of the genus by its brown dorsal skin and the presence of a large dark brown vocal sac in males. This is the second species of Microkayla known from the Zongo Valley, and the ninth in the Cordillera Real, contributing to a total of 22 described species in Bolivia. Given its small distribution range, we recommend to considering it as Vulnerable according to IUCN criteria.

Keywords: Amphibia, Andes, Microkayla huayna, Terrarana, vocalizations

 Ignacio J. De la Riva, Claudia Cortez and Patricia A. Burrowes. 2017. A New Species of Microkayla (Anura: Craugastoridae: Holoadeninae) from Department La Paz, Bolivia. Zootaxa. 4363(3); 350–360.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4363.3.2

[Botany • 2017] Pinus vallartensis • A New Species (Pinaceae) from western Jalisco, Mexico

Pinus vallartensis Pérez de la Rosa & Gernandt

 Pérez de la Rosa & Gernandt. 2017
Illustration by G. Rodríguez  DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.331.2.7 


We propose and describe Pinus vallartensis Pérez de la Rosa & Gernandt as a new species from western Jalisco, Mexico. The pine occurs near the southern limit of the Sierra Occidental at the intersection of the municipalities of Puerto Vallarta, Cabo Corrientes, and Talpa de Allende. Pinus oocarpa occurs within the margins of this forest to the south and P. jaliscana to the west. The more distantly related pine, P. maximinoi, also occurs in the area. Pinus vallartensis is like P. jaliscana and P. oocarpa in possessing leaf resin canals in a septal condition and serotinous seed cones on slender peduncles. It is distinguished mainly by its small seed cones and lax foliage. This discovery highlights the exceptional diversity of pines in Mexico and the state of Jalisco.

Keywords: Gymnosperms, pine, Oocarpa Group, septal, ovoid cones

FIGURE 1. Pinus vallartensis sp. nov., A, seed cone, B, leaves, C, branch with leaves and pollen cones D, lateral view of cone scale, E, abaxial view of cone scale, F, adaxial view of cone scale, G, seeds with articulate wings.

 (Illustration by Gretchen Rodríguez, from J. A. Pérez de la Rosa & D. Gernandt 2134 in MEXU).

Pinus vallartensis Pérez de la Rosa & Gernandt, sp. nov. 

Type:—MEXICO. Jalisco: municipio de Puerto Vallarta, 100 m al sur de “Las Juntas” (arroyos Palo María y Chupalodo), elevation 423 m, 17 September 2016, J.A. Pérez de la Rosa & D. Gernandt 2134 (holotype: IBUG!; isotype MEXU!).

Diagnosis:— Similar to Pinus oocarpa and P. jaliscana, differing in its lax leaves and smaller seed cones that range in length from (2.2–)2.5–3(–4.0) cm.

Distribution:— To date, no hard pine (subgenus Pinus) with a more restricted population has been found in the state of Jalisco. The species is almost exclusive to the southern part of the municipality of Puerto Vallarta (Fig. 2). The populations are reached by ascending paths, and have a north-south and east-west exposure. At its southern limit the species enters the municipalities of Cabo Corrientes and Talpa de Allende, ... at elevations of 380–1347 m a.s.l.

Etymology:— The name of this pine is in honor of the municipality of Puerto Vallarta, where the main part of the population of this species is found. It seems to be the only pine that occurs in this municipality.

FIGURE 3. Photographs of three pines from the Oocarpa group with septal resin canals,
A, Pinus jaliscana seed cone (J.A. Pérez de la Rosa 1841), B, Pinus oocarpa seed cone (D.S. Gernandt 560), C, Pinus vallartensis seed cone (J.A. Pérez de la Rosa s.n.), D, Pinus jaliscana seed (J.A. Pérez de la Rosa 1841), E, Pinus oocarpa seed (D.S. Gernandt 560), F, Pinus vallartensis seed (J.A. Pérez de la Rosa s.n.). Bar = 1 cm. (Photos by D.S. Gernandt).

Jorge Pérez de la Rosa and David S. Gernandt. 2017. Pinus vallartensis (Pinaceae), A New Species from western Jalisco, Mexico. Phytotaxa.  331(2); 233–242.  DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.331.2.7