Monday, December 11, 2017

[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

[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.  


[Crustacea • 2017] Oziotelphusa ravi • A New Species of Freshwater Crab of the Genus Oziotelphusa Müller, 1887 (Decapoda: Brachyura: Gecarcinucidae) from Tamil Nadu, southern India

Oziotelphusa ravi,
Raj, Kumar & Ng, 2017


A new species of gecarcinucid freshwater crab of the genus Oziotelphusa Müller, 1887, is described from stationary or slow-flowing bodies of water in Keeriparai near Nagercoil, in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. Oziotelphusa ravi, new species, is distinguished from its congeners by several distinct characters: the median tooth of the posterior margin of epistome forms a distinct bilobed tip in frontal view, the male pleonal somite 6 is narrowly trapezoidal and slightly wider than long with the lateral margins concave, the terminal segment of the male first gonopod is distinctly bent laterally (along the longitudinal axis) at an angle of about 45°, and the proximal part of the outer margin of the subterminal segment of the male first gonopod has a prominent deep concavity.

Keywords: Crustacea, Taxonomy, new freshwater crab, Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu, rice fields

Smrithy Raj, Appukuttannair Biju Kumar and Peter K. L. Ng. 2017.  A New Species of Freshwater Crab of the Genus Oziotelphusa Müller, 1887 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Gecarcinucidae) from Tamil Nadu, southern India.  Zootaxa. 4363(2); 225–236. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4363.2.3

[Paleontology • 2017] Vadasaurus herzogi • A New Rhynchocephalian (Reptilia: Lepidosauria) from the Late Jurassic of Solnhofen (Germany) and the Origin of the Marine Pleurosauridae

Vadasaurus herzogi
 Bever & Norell, 2017

DOI:  10.1098/rsos.170570  


A new rhynchocephalian is described based on a recently discovered and well-preserved specimen from the Late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian) marine limestones of Solnhofen, Bavaria. Phylogenetic analysis recovers the new taxon as the sister group to Pleurosauridae, a small radiation of rhynchocephalians representing the oldest marine invasion of crown-clade Lepidosauria. The relatively strong evidence for this taxonomically exclusive lineage, within a generally volatile rhynchocephalian tree, places the new taxon in a position to inform the early history of the pleurosaur transition to the sea. The early steps in this transition are distributed throughout the skeleton and appear to increase hydrodynamic efficiency for both swimming and aquatic feeding. This early history may also have included a global truncation of plesiomorphic ontogenetic trajectories that left a number of skeletal features with reduced levels of ossification/fusion. The exact degree to which Vadasaurus had adopted an aquatic ecology remains unclear, but the insight it provides into the origin of the enigmatic pleurosaurs exemplifies the potential of Rhynchocephalia for generating and informing broad-based questions regarding the interplay of development, morphology, ecology and macroevolutionary patterns.

KEYWORDSBavaria, marine reptile, secondarily aquatic, skeletal development, sphenodon, tiatethys

Figure 1. Holotype of Vadasaurus herzogi (AMNH FARB 32768) collected from the Late Jurassic marine limestones of Solnhofen, Bavaria. The skull, forelimbs, and first 18 presacral vertebrae and ribs are exposed in the dorsal or dorsolateral view. Posteriorly, the skeleton is rotated approximately 180°, making it visible largely in the ventral view. Left hindlimb is exposed in the dorsal view.
Anatomical abbreviations: As, astragalus; Ca, calcaneum; Cdv, caudal vertebra; Co, coracoid; Cr, cervical rib; Cv, cervical vertebra; D, dentary; Dv, dorsal vertebra; F, femur; Fb, fibula; Fr, frontal; Ga, gastralia; H, humerus; I, intermedium; Is, ischium; l, left; Mc, metacarpal; Mt, metatarsal; Mx, maxilla; Ph, phalanx; Pu, pubis; R, radius; r, right; S, scapula; Sc, sternal cartilage; Ss, suprascapular cartilage; Sv, sacral vertebra; T, tibia; U, ulna.

Figure 2. The skull of Vadasaurus herzogi (AMNH FARB 32768). Photographs in the dorsolateral (a) and lateral (b) views; labelled line drawing in the dorsolateral view (c); reconstructions of lateral and dorsal views (d).

Anatomical abbreviations: An, angular; Ar, articular; cp, cultriform process; Cv, cervical vertebra; D, dentary; dd, dentary dentition; Ecp, ectopterygoid; Ept, epipterygoid; exn, external naris; Fr, frontal; Hy, hyobranchial element; if, incisiform fang; Ju, jugal; mf, mandibular foramen; Mx, maxilla; Na, nasal; Pa, parietal; Pal, palatine; paf, parietal foramen; Pf, prefrontal; Pm, premaxilla; Po, postorbital; Pof, postfrontal; Pr, prootic; Pra, prearticular; Pt, pterygoid; Q, quadrate; Qj, quadratojugal; Sa, surangular; sof, suborbital fenestra; Sq, squamosal; Vo, vomer.

Systematic palaeontology

Lepidosauria Haekel, 1866 
Rhynchocephalia Günther, 1867 

Vadasaurus herzogi gen. et sp. no.

  Etymology: Generic name from the Latin vadare to go forth’, which is also the root of ‘to wade’—refers to the taxon's hypothesized phylogenetic position near the proximal end of a terrestrial-to-marine transformation series that produced the aquatic pleurosaurs—and saurus lizard’. The specific epithet honours the celebrated Bavarian film-maker Werner Herzog for his continuing exploration of the relationship between life and time.

Holotype: AMNH FARB 32768, a nearly complete and largely articulated skeleton (figures 1–3). Like most specimens preserved in lithographic limestone, it exhibits compressional effects that include the flattening and shearing of composite structures and the slight displacement of certain elements. Individual bones, however, are preserved largely in three dimensions.

Gabriel S. Bever and Mark A. Norell. 2017. A New Rhynchocephalian (Reptilia: Lepidosauria) from the Late Jurassic of Solnhofen (Germany) and the Origin of the Marine Pleurosauridae.  Royal Society Open Science. 4(11):170570  DOI:  10.1098/rsos.170570 

 The fossil was recovered from Kimmeridgian-aged (a subdivision of the Late Jurrasic) marine limestones in the Solnhofen municipality of Bavaria, Germany. They belong to an up until now unknown species dubbed Vadasaurus herzogi, and belongs to the Rhynchocephalia lizard order, a close relative of a small group of ancient reptiles called pleourosaurs (genus Pleurosaurus).
Fossilized ancient lizard shows how dinos evolved to live in the oceans @zmescience

Saturday, December 9, 2017

[Ichthyology • 2017] Redescription of the Bump-head Sunfish Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839), senior synonym of Mola ramsayi (Giglioli 1883), with Designation of A Neotype for Mola mola (Linnaeus 1758) (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae)

Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839)

Sawai, Yamanoue, Nyegaard & Sakai, 2017. 

The genus Mola of ocean sunfishes (family Molidae) is currently composed of three species: Mola mola (Linnaeus 1758), Mola ramsayi (Giglioli 1883), and Mola tecta Nyegaard et al. 2017. For a comprehensive revision of the genus, both literature survey and morphological investigations of Molidae were conducted. We found Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839) to be synonymous with M. ramsayi and we herein redescribe M. alexandrini based on the rediscovered dried holotype and 21 other fresh and preserved specimens. Mola alexandrini can be distinguished from other species of Mola by the following combination of characters in adults: head profile with bump; chin with bump; body scales rectangular; clavus rounded, supported by 14–24 (mode 17) clavus fin rays and 8–15 (12) ossicles on the rear margin. A neotype of M. mola is designated for comparison with M. alexandrini, as these two species have long been confused.

Keywords: Morphology, Neotype, Ocean sunfish, Redescription, Synonymy 

Mola alexandrini  bump-head sunfish

photo: Hasama Underwater Park 

Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839)
(Japanese name: Ushi-manbo; New English name: Bump-head sunfish)  

Orthragoriscus alexandrini Ranzani 1839:...
Orthragoriscus ramsayi Giglioli 1883:...
Orthagoriscus mola: Williams 1893:...
Masturus lanceolatus (not of Liénard): Gudger 1937: ...

Mola mola (not of Linnaeus): ...
Mola ramsayi: Whitley 1931...
Mola ramsayi Atlantic group: Bass et al. 2005: ....

Mola mola group A: Yoshita et al. 2005: 171.
Mola sp. group A: Yoshita et al. 2009: ....
Mola sp. A: Sawai et al. 2009....

Distribution and ecological notes. Mola alexandrini is widely distributed in the world’s oceans except for the polar regions (Fig. 5a; ESM Table S1); collected from waters off Japan, Taiwan, Galápagos Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Oman, and Spain (Yamanoue et al. 2004, 2010; Bass et al. 2005; Sagara et al. 2005; Yoshita et al. 2005, 2009; Sawai et al. 2009, 2011, 2017a; Yamanoue and Sawai 2012; Thys et al. 2013, Ahuir-Baraja et al. 2017; Nyegaard et al. 2017). Mola alexandrini presumably prefers warmer water temperatures than inhabited by Mola mola; in waters off the Sanriku coast of Japan, sea surface temperatures during the occurrence of M. alexandrini (16.8–25.6°C, average 19.9°C) were on average higher than during the occurrence of M. mola (11.5–25.6°C, average 17.7°C) (Sawai et al. 2011).

Etsuro Sawai, Yusuke Yamanoue, Marianne Nyegaard and Yoichi Sakai. 2017. Redescription of the Bump-head Sunfish Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839), senior synonym of Mola ramsayi (Giglioli 1883), with Designation of A Neotype for Mola mola (Linnaeus 1758) (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae). Ichthyological Research.  DOI: 10.1007/s10228-017-0603-6

World’s heaviest bony fish identified and correctly named
Researchers clear up confusion between taxonomy of multiple species of ocean sunfishes

[Crustacea • 2017] Cherax acherontis • the First Cave Crayfish (Decapoda: Parastacidae) from the Southern Hemisphere (Papua Province, Indonesia)

Cherax acherontis 
Patoka, Bláha & Kouba, 2017


Cherax acherontis n. sp., is a crayfish endemic to the submerged river Yumugima in Hagepma/Jugurama cave in the New Guinea Highlands, Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Province, Indonesia. This species is the first cave crayfish from the Southern Hemisphere. The new species is most similar to Cherax monticola. Both species can be easily distinguished by certain morphological characteristics, which easily demonstrate Cacherontis n. sp. is a valid species.

Keywords: Crustacea, Yumugima crayfish, New Guinea, troglobiont, endemism, morphology

Jiří Patoka, Martin Bláha and Antonín Kouba. 2017. Cherax acherontis (Decapoda: Parastacidae), the First Cave Crayfish from the Southern Hemisphere (Papua Province, Indonesia). Zootaxa. 4363(1); 137–144.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4363.1.7

[PaleoMammalogy • 2017] Wakaleo schouteni • A New Oligo–Miocene Marsupial Lion from Australia and Revision of the Family Thylacoleonidae

Wakaleo schouteni Gillespie, Archer & Hand, 2017
challenging the thylacinid Nimbacinus dicksoni over a kangaroo carcass in the late Oligocene forest at Riversleigh  

illustration by Peter Schouten  DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2017.1391885 


Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov., a dog-sized marsupial lion (Thylacoleonidae), is described from late Oligocene to early Miocene sediments of the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, Queensland, Australia. Fossils of this new species include a near-complete cranium, dentaries and postcrania. This species is the second thylacoleonid known from late Oligocene sediments. The other, Priscileo pitikantensis Rauscher, 1987, from the Etadunna Formation of South Australia, is known from teeth, part of a palate and postcrania. Wakaleo schouteni exhibits cranial and dental morphology characteristic of species of Wakaleo but possesses a relatively plesiomorphic upper dental formula (i.e. three premolars and four molars) within Thylacoleonidae that was formerly regarded to be diagnostic for species of the genus Priscileo. The holotype and humerus of P. pitikantensis have been compared with the new Wakaleo material described here and found to demonstrate conspicuous similarities in morphology of the M2 and the humerus. In the absence of other generically diagnostic features, Priscileo is here regarded to be a junior synonym of Wakaleo. Smaller size and relatively minor morphological differences in the proximal humerus of W. pitikantensis comb. nov. distinguish it at the specific level from W. schouteni. Phylogenetic analysis of thylacoleonids recovers Wakaleo as a monophyletic clade. Both Wakaleo pitikantensis comb. nov. and W. schouteni are recovered as plesiomorphic sister taxa to other species of the genus. Wakaleo pitikantensis and W. schouteni extend the temporal range for this genus back into the late Oligocene. Body weight for W. schouteni, based on total skull length, is estimated to be ∼23 kg.

Keywords: marsupial lion, Thylacoleonidae, Oligocene–Miocene, taxonomy, Priscileo, Riversleigh

Systematic palaeontology

Class Marsupialia Illiger, 1811 

Order Diprotodontia Owen, 1866 
Suborder Vombatiformes Woodburne, 1984 

Family Thylacoleonidae Gill, 1872 

Genus Wakaleo Clemens & Plane, 1974 

Type species: Wakaleo oldfieldi Clemens & Plane, 1974 
Included species: Wakaleo vanderleueri Clemens & Plane, 1974; Wakaleo alcootaensis Archer & Rich, 1982; Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov.

  Reconstruction of Wakaleo schouteni challenging the thylacinid Nimbacinus dicksoni over a kangaroo carcass in the late Oligocene forest at Riversleigh.
(illustration by Peter Schouten).

Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov.

Derivation of name: Named in honour of Peter Schouten for his exceptional reconstructions of Australia's prehistoric animals, and in particular those from the Riversleigh WHA.

Craniodental and postcranial material of a new marsupial lion, Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov., is described from the Riversleigh WHA. Although this taxon has not reduced/lost the anterior upper premolars, previously regarded to be diagnostic for Wakaleo, it exhibits other Wakaleo apomorphies of the skull and molars. Comparison of the holotype of Priscileo pitikantensis Rauscher, 1987 from the Ngapakaldi LF with Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov. and other Wakaleo species reveals apomorphies of the M2 and similarities in humerus morphology that support its referral to Wakaleo. Priscileo pitikantensis is therefore regarded as a junior synonym of Wakaleo pitikantensis comb. nov. Wakaleo schouteni is distinguished from W. pitikantensis on the basis of its different proximal humerus morphology and larger size, being 10% larger in most dental measures. Markedly different sizes in a sample of humeri of W. schouteni suggest this species was sexually dimorphic. Retention of three upper premolars and four molars are symplesiomorphic features for Wakaleo and Priscileo but distinguish W. pitikantensis and W. schouteni from later species of this genus, all of which exhibit premolar and molar reduction. These two species are the most primitive members of the genus and indicate a pre-late Oligocene origin for the lineage.

Anna K. Gillespie, Michael Archer and Suzanne J. Hand. 2017. A New Oligo–Miocene Marsupial Lion from Australia and Revision of the Family Thylacoleonidae. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2017.1391885


Fossils of ancient marsupial lion discovered in north-west Queensland via @

Thursday, December 7, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Ophiodes enso • A New and Microendemic Species of Ophiodes Wagler, 1828 (Sauria: Diploglossinae) from the Lagoa dos Patos Estuary, Southern Brazil

Ophiodes enso 
Entiauspe-Neto, Quintela, Regnet, Teixeira, Silveira & Loebmann, 2017

  DOI: 10.1670/17-007 

Ophiodes Wagler, 1828, is a poorly known legless lizard genus, widely distributed across South America east of the Andes, and composed of five described species and other additional taxa that have not been formally described but are widely referred to in recent publications. After reviewing major herpetological collections in Rio Grande do Sul and conducting fieldwork for more than 2 decades in the Lagoa dos Patos Estuary, we came across a new species of Ophiodes, herein described. The new species is diagnosed from its congeners based on the combination of a dorsum with three wide, dark brown longitudinal stripes and two pairs of conspicuous light yellow stripes, one pair paravertebral and another dorsolateral; dark vertebral line absent; background coloration of sides light gray with four to five pale and narrow longitudinal stripes; ventral region uniformly light gray; hind limb extending to the posterior vent scale margin; small eyes, smaller than half of snout–ocular distance; supralabials with well-defined, although small, supralabial blotches, restricted to their outer margins. We also provide comments on its distribution range and propose that a “Critically Endangered” CR B1b (i,ii,iii) extinction risk classification should be officially assessed and given.

FIG. 1. Holotype of Ophiodes enso sp. n. (CHFURG 3589) exhibiting coloration in life.

Ophiodes enso sp. nov.
Ophiodes vertebralis — Lema, 1994:65; Quintela et al., 2006:61.
 Ophiodes sp. — Quintela and Loebmann, 2009:40; Quintela et al., 2011:59. 

Etymology.— The species name refers to the Japanese-Buddhism Enso (円相) symbol, a hand-drawn circle made in a single or double brushstroke that closely resembles the silhouette of a Ophiodes specimen (Fig. 2). Also noteworthy is that type series of O. enso sp. n. was discovered during the El Niño Southern Oscillation event of 2015 (popularly known as ENSO, which is marked by heavy rainfall), and that event culminated in the movement of the aforementioned type series into the Lagoa dos Patos shores. This is also the first species to be discovered as a result of the ENSO phenomenon.

Distribution and Natural History.— The new species is known only from three localities at the Lagoa dos Patos estuary; ...., all located at the Holocene sandbanks of the Coastal Plains of Rio Grande do Sul in the Pampa biome (Fig. 5). A description of the vegetation and composition of the Lagoa dos Patos estuary is provided by Verrastro et al. (2003).

Omar Machado Entiauspe-Neto, Fernando Marques Quintela, Ruth Anastasia Regnet, Victor Hugo Teixeira, Franck Silveira and Daniel Loebmann. 2017. A New and Microendemic Species of Ophiodes Wagler, 1828 (Sauria: Diploglossinae) from the Lagoa dos Patos Estuary, Southern Brazil. Journal of Herpetology. 51(4); 515-522.  DOI: 10.1670/17-007

Resumo: Ophiodes Wagler, 1828, é um gênero de lagartos ápodos pouco conhecido, amplamente distribuído na América do Sul à leste dos Andes. O gênero é composto de cinco espécies e outros taxons ainda não formalmente reconhecidos, embora referenciados em publicações recentes. Após revisar coleções herpetológicas no Rio Grande do Sul e conduzir trabalho de campo por mais de duas décadas no Estuário da Lagoa dos Patos encontramos uma nova espécie de Ophiodes, aqui descrita. A nova espécie é diferenciada de seus congêneres com base na combinação de um dorso com três largas listras longitudinais marrom escuras e duas listras conspícuas amarelo-claras, um par composto de uma paravertebral e outra dorsolateral; linha vertebral escura ausente; coloração de fundo nos lados cinza claro, com quatro à cinco listras longitudinais e estreitas; região ventral cinza claro uniforme; membro posterior estendendo-se até a margem posterior da escama cloacal; olhos pequenos, menores que metade da distância entre focinho e olho; supralabiais com manchas bem definidas e pequenas, restritas à suas margens exteriores. Também apresentamos comentários sobre sua distribuição, e propomos que o seu status de conservação seja definido oficialmente como “Criticamente em Perigo” CR B1b (i,ii,iii).

[Herpetology • 2017] Liolaemus tirantii & L. calliston • New Species of Liolaemus (Squamata, Liolaemini) of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade from northwestern Patagonia, Neuquén Province, Argentina

Liolaemus tirantii 
Avila, Perez, Minoli, Medina, Sites & Morando, 2017


Two new species of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade are described. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. and Liolaemus calliston sp. nov. differ from other members of their clade by a combination of coloration characters, morphometric and molecular traits. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. is known from three localities separated only a few kilometers from each other and Liolaemus calliston sp. nov. is known only from the type locality. Both species inhabit a region strongly impacted by oil and gas extraction but their conservation status is unknown.

Keywords: Reptilia, Argentina, Liolaemidae, Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov., Liolaemus calliston sp. nov., Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade, Northwestern Patagonia

Luciano Javier Avila, Cristian Hernán Fulvio Perez, Ignacio Minoli, Cintia Debora Medina, Jack W. Jr. Sites and Mariana Morando. 2017. New Species of Liolaemus (Reptilia, Squamata, Liolaemini) of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade from northwestern Patagonia, Neuquén Province, Argentina. Zootaxa. 4362(4); 535–563. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4362.4.4

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Cyrtodactylus gialaiensis • A New Species of the Cyrtodactylus irregularis complex (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Gia Lai Province, Central Highlands of Vietnam

 Cyrtodactylus gialaiensis
Luu, Dung, Nguyen, Le & Ziegler, 2017


We describe a new species of the genus Cyrtodactylus from Gia Lai Province, Central Highlands of Vietnam based on morphological and molecular differences. Cyrtodactylus gialaiensis sp. nov. is differentiated from other congeners by a unique combination of the following characters: Size small, maximum known SVL reaching 62.8 mm; dorsal pattern consisting of six or seven dark transverse bands between limb insertions; intersupranasals two or three; dorsal tubercles at midbody in 16–21 irregular rows, strongly developed on flanks; lateral folds poorly defined with interspersed tubercles; ventral scales between ventrolateral folds 38–45; precloacal pores nine or 10 in males, eight pitted scales in the adult female, in a continuous row; femoral pores absent; enlarged femoral scales present; postcloacal tubercles two or three; dorsal tubercles present to half of tail; subcaudal scales not enlarged. In molecular analyses, the new species is weakly supported as a member of the Cyrtodactylus irregularis species group with a minimum pairwise genetic distance of 13.7% from others within the group.

Keywords: Reptilia, Cyrtodactylus gialaiensis sp. nov., morphology, phylogeny, taxonomy

Vinh Quang Luu, Tran Van Dung, Truong Quang Nguyen, Minh Duc Le and Thomas Ziegler. 2017. A New Species of the Cyrtodactylus irregularis complex (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Gia Lai Province, Central Highlands of Vietnam. Zootaxa. 4362(3); 385–404.  OI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4362.3.4

[Paleontology • 2017] Ostromia crassipes [gen. nov.] • Re-evaluation of the Haarlem Archaeopteryx and the Radiation of Maniraptoran Theropod Dinosaurs

Ostromia crassipes (Meyer, 1857)

 “Haarlem specimen”, holotype of Ostromia crassipes (Meyer, 1857).
Counterslab, Teylers Museum TM 6929 (left) and main slab, TM 6928 (right).

Foth & Rauhut, 2017.  DOI:  10.1186/s12862-017-1076-y

Archaeopteryx is an iconic fossil that has long been pivotal for our understanding of the origin of birds. Remains of this important taxon have only been found in the Late Jurassic lithographic limestones of Bavaria, Germany. Twelve skeletal specimens are reported so far. Archaeopteryx was long the only pre-Cretaceous paravian theropod known, but recent discoveries from the Tiaojishan Formation, China, yielded a remarkable diversity of this clade, including the possibly oldest and most basal known clade of avialan, here named Anchiornithidae. However, Archaeopteryx remains the only Jurassic paravian theropod based on diagnostic material reported outside China.

Re-examination of the incomplete Haarlem Archaeopteryx specimen did not find any diagnostic features of this genus. In contrast, the specimen markedly differs in proportions from other Archaeopteryx specimens and shares two distinct characters with anchiornithids. Phylogenetic analysis confirms it as the first anchiornithid recorded outside the Tiaojushan Formation of China, for which the new generic name Ostromia is proposed here.

In combination with a biogeographic analysis of coelurosaurian theropods and palaeogeographic and stratigraphic data, our results indicate an explosive radiation of maniraptoran coelurosaurs probably in isolation in eastern Asia in the late Middle Jurassic and a rapid, at least Laurasian dispersal of the different subclades in the Late Jurassic. Small body size and, possibly, a multiple origin of flight capabilities enhanced dispersal capabilities of paravian theropods and might thus have been crucial for their evolutionary success.

Keywords: Maniraptora, Anchiornithidae, Late Jurassic, Biogeography, Radiation

Fig. 1 Overview of the “Haarlem specimen”, holotype of Ostromia crassipes (Meyer, 1857). Counterslab, Teylers Museum TM 6929 (left) and main slab, TM 6928 (right). 

Systematic Palaeontology

Theropoda Marsh, 1881  
Maniraptora Gauthier, 1986 

Anchiornithidae tax. Nov.
Type genus. Anchiornis 
Xu, Zhao, Norell, Sullivan, Hone, Erickson, Wang, Han, and Gao, 2009  

Definition. Anchiornithidae is a stem-based taxon defined as all maniraptoran theropods that are more closely related to Anchiornis huxleyi than to Passer domesticus, Archaeopteryx lithographica, Dromaeosaurus albertensis, Troodon formosus, or Oviraptor philoceratops.

Ostromia gen. nov.

Ostromia crassipes von Meyer, 1857  
Holotype. Teylers Museum TM 6928, 6929, part and counterpart of a fragmentary skeleton.

Locality and horizon. Jachenhausen locality, near Riedenburg, Bavaria, Germany. Early Tithonian laminated limestones of the Painten Formation.

Etymology. The generic name honours the late John Ostrom, who identified the Haarlem specimen as a theropod.

A re-evaluation of one of the twelve skeletal specimens referred to the ‘Urvogel’ Archaeopteryx, the Haarlem specimen, revealed that this specimen represents a separate taxon, Ostromia crassipes. Phylogenetic analysis identifies Ostromia as the first representative of the basal avialian clade Anchiornithidae outside eastern Asia. In combination with a biogeographic analysis, a rapid radiation of maniraptoran theropods in eastern Asia with a subsequent dispersal of many lineages in the Late Jurassic is indicated; dispersal of maniraptorans was facilitated by small body size of basal members of all clades and, possibly, several independent acquisitions of flight capabilities. In the fragmenting world of Pangean break-up during the Late Jurassic and Cretaceous, increased dispersal potential might have been a key factor to explain the success of maniraptoran, and especially avialian theropods, with dispersal events being followed by endemic radiations of different clades.

Christian Foth and Oliver W. M. Rauhut. 2017. Re-evaluation of the Haarlem Archaeopteryx and the Radiation of Maniraptoran Theropod Dinosaurs. BMC Evolutionary Biology.   17:236. DOI:  10.1186/s12862-017-1076-y


Groot nieuws! De beroemde #Archaeopteryx van Teylers Museum blijkt nog ouder dan gedacht en wereldwijd uniek te zijn. Het is een fossiel van een nieuw ontdekte dinosaurussoort met veren, die de naam Ostromia heeft gekregen. #breakingnews  @TEYLERS

Paleontologists at LMU correct a case of misinterpretation: The first fossil “Archaeopteryx” to be discovered is actually a predatory dinosaur belonging to the anchiornithid family, which was previously known only from finds made in China: … @LMU_Muenchen