Saturday, April 21, 2018

[Ichthyology • 2018] Revision of Gymnotus (Gymnotiformes: Gymnotidae) from the Upper Madeira Basin of Bolivia and Peru, with Descriptions of Two New Species; Gymnotus eyra & G. riberalta

Gymnotus eyra & G. riberalta 
Craig, Correa-Roldán, Ortega, Crampton & Albert, 2018

 DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4413.1.3 


Banded Knifefishes (Gymnotus, Gymnotidae) comprise the most species-rich genus of Neotropical electric fishes, with 41 species currently described from throughout the humid Neotropics, from Mexico to Argentina. Despite substantial alpha-taxonomic work in recent years, the diversity of Gymnotus in some regions remains poorly understood. Here we describe the Gymnotus fauna of the Upper Madeira basin of Bolivia and Peru from examination of more than 240 adult specimens. Species are delimited and described using body proportions (traditional morphometrics), fin-ray, squamation and laterosensory-pore counts (meristics), quantitative shape differences (geometric morphometrics), osteological traits, and color patterns. Comparisons of standardized linear measures as well as multivariate statistical methods validate the presence in the Upper Madeira basin of three previously described species, two with wide-spread geographic distributions throughout Greater Amazonia (G. carapo and G. coropinae), and one (G. chaviro) endemic to southwestern Amazonia. We also diagnose and describe two new species that are endemic to the Upper Madeira basin: G. eyra n. sp., morphologically most similar to G. mamiraua from lowland Amazonia, and G. riberalta n. sp., morphologically most similar to G. pantanal from the Paraguay-Paraná basin. The five Gymnotus species from the Upper Madeira basin are not monophyletic, each species being more closely related to a different species from another region; i.e. the Gymnotus species from the Upper Madeira represents a polyphyletic assemblage. These descriptions to 43 the number of valid Gymnotus species.

Keywords: Pisces, Alpha taxonomy, biodiversity assessment, neotropical, species delimitation

Jack M. Craig, Vanessa Correa-Roldán, Hernán Ortega, William G. R. Crampton and James S. Albert. 2018.  Revision of Gymnotus (Gymnotiformes: Gymnotidae) from the Upper Madeira Basin of Bolivia and Peru, with Descriptions of Two New Species.  Zootaxa. 4413(1); 111–132. 

[Ichthyology • 2018] Anchoviella hernanni • A New Species of Anchoviella (Clupeiformes: Engraulidae) from the western Amazon River in Peru, with Comments on Congeners in the Peruvian Amazon River

Anchoviella hernanni

Loeb, Varella & Menezes, 2018
   DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13601 

Anchoviella hernanni sp. nov. is described from the upper Amazon River basin, in tributaries of the Marañon, Ucayali and Madre de Dios river drainages that drain the Peruvian Andes. The new taxon can be distinguished from all congeners except Anchoviella jamesi, Anchoviella manamensis and Anchoviella perezi, by having 12–15 gill rakers in the lower branch of the first gill arch (v·16–35) and from those species by the distance between verticals through the posterior margin of the orbit to the posterior margin of the upper jaw 9·5–14·8% head length; LH (v. up to 6·0% LH). An updated identification key of all freshwater species of Anchoviella and morphological comparisons between all species of the genus occurring in Peru are provided.

Key words: Amazon basin; anchovies; manjuba; Neotropical fish fauna; systematics.

Fig. 1. Anchoviella hernanni sp. nov., holotype (MUSM 59521, 26·4 mm LS).

Anchoviella hernanni 

Etymology: Anchoviella hernanni is named in honour of Peruvian ichthyologist Hernan Ortega, in recognition of his contribution to knowledge about the diversity of fishes of Peru and his support for many researchers, either by making material available or by guiding students.

M. V. Loeb, H. R. Varella and N. A. Menezes. 2018. A New Species of Anchoviella (Clupeiformes: Engraulidae) from the western Amazon River in Peru, with Comments on Congeners in the Peruvian Amazon River. Journal of Fish Biology.  DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13601

Friday, April 20, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Pristimantis erythros • A New Species of Pristimantis (Anura, Craugastoridae) from the Cajas Massif, southern Ecuador

Pristimantis erythros  
Sánchez-Nivicela, Celi-Piedra, Posse-Sarmiento, Urgilés, Yánez-Muñoz & Cisneros-Heredia, 2018

A new species of Pristimantis is described from the highland paramos on the eastern slopes of the Cajas Massif, southern Andes of Ecuador, at 3400 m. This new species is characterized by having a distinctive reddish color, cutaneous macroglands in suprascapular region and surfaces of arm and legs, and by lacking dentigerous processes of vomers. The cutaneous macroglands are similar to those exhibited by several species of the Pristimantis orcesi group, and may suggest a close phylogenetic relationship. The new species could be a latitudinal substitution of Pristimantis orcesi in the southern Andes of Ecuador.

Keywords: Andes, glandular frog, paramo, Pristimantis erythros sp. n., taxonomy, Terrarana

Pristimantis erythros sp. n. 
Common name: English: Blood Rain Frog.
Spanish: Cutín de Sangre

Figure 4. Lateral, dorsal and ventral views of living specimens of Pristimantis erythros.
 Left: Male paratype (DHMECN 12102, SVL: 37.1 mm); right: Female holotype (DHMECN 12103, SVL: 39.1 mm).

Diagnosis: Pristimantis erythros differs from other species of the genus by the combination of the following characters: (1) Skin on head and dorsum granular, flanks and venter areolate with low warts; dorsolateral folds absent; discoidal fold weakly defined; (2) tympanic membrane and annulus present and visible, rounded, ca. 50% of eye diameter, upper half covered by parotoid macrogland; (3) snout short, rounded in dorsal and lateral views; (4) upper eyelid without tubercles, interorbital distance wider than width of upper eyelid (40%); cranial crests absent; (5) dentigerous process of vomers absent; (6) vocal slits and sacs present in males, nuptial pads absent; (7) Finger I shorter than II; discs laterally expanded with dilated pads and narrow fringes, (8) fingers with coarse lateral cutaneous fringes; (9) low ulnar warts in ventral view; radioulnar macroglands covering the upper surfaces of forearm; (10) heel and tarsus lacking tubercles; paracnemid macroglands on upper surfaces of legs, tarsi, and Toes IV and V; (11) inner metatarsal tubercle oval, not prominent, twice as large as outer metatarsal tubercle, outer metatarsal tubercle rounded and low, supernumerary tubercles low and indistinct; Toe V longer than III, disc of Toe III reaches distal border of penultimate subarticular tubercle on Toe IV, disc on Toe V reaches distal border of distal subarticular tubercle on Toe IV; (12) toes with conspicuous lateral fringes, extend to base of fingers, webbing absent; toe pads as large as or slight larger than those on fingers; (13) in life, dorsum uniformly burgundy, red to orange-red (reddish brown to burgundy in preserved) ; flanks, posterior surfaces of legs, groin, throat and venter crimson (dark reddish brown in preserved); iris dark brown with thin golden reticulations; ventral surfaces of hands and feet pinkish cream; (14) SVL in adult females 38.8–42.6 mm (x̄ = 40.3, n = 4), in adult males 36.8–37.1 mm (x̄ = 36.7, n = 2).

Etymology: The specific epithet erythros is derived from the Greek word for red, in allusion to the distinctive coloration of this species.

Figure 5. Comparison of Pristimantis erythros (top right) with Pristimantis orcesi (top left), Pristimantis pycnodermis (below left), and Pristimantis loujosti (below right).

Figure 6. Habitat of Pristimantis erythros in type locality.

Distribution, natural history, and extinction risk: Pristimantis erythros is only known from its type locality in the Cajas Massif. The area is covered by paramos dominated by grassland and shrubs, between 3450 and 3500 m (Fig. 6). Specimens were collected mainly in terrestrial bromeliads (Puya hamata) and grasses (Neurolepis villosa), near to small streams. Vocalizations were heard (but unrecorded) during daytime hours from 08h00 to 11h00 and from 17h00 to 19h00. Active individuals were observed from dusk until approximately 21h00, afterwards activity decreased. The new species was recorded in sympatry with Pristimantis aff. cryophilius, P. aff. orestes and P. aff. riveti.

The Paramos on the Cajas Massif (221000 h. approx.) appear well preserved. Part of its extension includes the Cajas National Park (28544 h). However, the continued changes on land cover and land use occurring in several areas over the massif on the buffer area of the national park and not protected nearest regions are leading to habitat loss (Hofstede et al. 2002). During a period of four (4) years (2014–2017), twenty six (26) localities in suitable regions (2500–3500 m) on the Cajas Massif were surveyed, no additional records of this new Pristimantis were added during these excursions mentioned above. It is probable that P. erythros inhabit only a single locality in an area of less than 1 km2. Finally, based on the small area of occupancy that might be restricted to the type locality which it is not under conservation in a protected area, we suggest that, it should be classified as Critically Endangered (CR) under the UICN criteria B1,B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv) (IUCN 2001).

 Juan C. Sánchez-Nivicela, Elvis Celi-Piedra, Valentina Posse-Sarmiento, Verónica L. Urgilés, Mario Yánez-Muñoz, Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia. 2018. A New Species of Pristimantis (Anura, Craugastoridae) from the Cajas Massif, southern Ecuador. ZooKeys. 751: 113-128.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.751.20541

Resúmen: Describimos una nueva especie de Pristimantis desde las laderas orientales del macizo El Cajas en los páramos andinos del sur de Ecuador a 3400 m.s.n.m. Esta nueva especie tiene un color rojizo distintivo y se caracteriza por tener macroglándulas cutáneas en varias regiones del cuerpo, de la siguiente manera: la región supraescapular, las superficies del antebrazo, parte superior del brazo, las manos y el borde de las piernas. Además, carece de procesos dentígeros en los vomerinos. Las macroglándulas cutáneas son similares a las presentes en el grupo de Pristimantis orcesi, y podrían representar una posición filogenética cercana. La nueva especie puede constituir una sustitución latitudinal de Pristimantis orcesi en los Andes sur de Ecuador.

Palabras clave: Andes, rana glandular, páramo, Pristimantis erythros sp. n., taxonomía, Terrarana

[Ichthyology • 2018] Diversity and Community Structure of Rapids-dwelling Fishes of the Xingu River: Implications for Conservation Amid Large-scale Hydroelectric Development

Fig. 1. Examples of the habitat and fishes (C) characteristic of the Middle Xingu River.

Species shown are: a) 
Leporinus maculatus (Anostomidae), b) Baryancistrus xanthellus (Loricariidae), c) Ossubtus xinguense (Serrasalmidae), d) Crenicichla sp. (Cichlidae), e) Ancistrus ranunculus (Loricariidae), f) Cichla melaniae (Cichlidae), g) Tometes kranponhah (Serrasalmidae), h) Hypancistrus sp. (Loricariidae), i) Leporinus fasciatus (Anostomidae), j) Rhinodoras sp. (Doradidae) and k) Hypancistrus zebra (Loricariidae).

in Fitzgerald, Sabaj Perez, Sousa, et al. 2018. 

• 193 rapids-dwelling fish species were sampled prior to flow alteration.
• Fish community structure differed significantly between river segments.
• Rapids specialists and threatened species were concentrated in the Volta Grande.
• The Volta Grande rapids are now flooded and dewatered due to a hydropower facility.
• Maintaining rapids in the dewatered section will be critical for aquatic diversity.

A recent boom in hydroelectric development in the world's most diverse tropical river basins is currently threatening aquatic biodiversity on an unprecedented scale. Among the most controversial of these projects is the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Complex (BMHC) on the Xingu River, the Amazon's largest clear-water tributary. The design of the BMHC creates three distinctly altered segments: a flooded section upstream of the main dam, a middle section between the dam and the main powerhouse that will be dewatered, and a downstream section subject to flow alteration from powerhouse discharge. This region of the Xingu is notable for an extensive series of rapids known as the Volta Grande that hosts exceptional levels of endemic aquatic biodiversity; yet, patterns of temporal and spatial variation in community composition within this highly threatened habitat are not well documented. We surveyed fish assemblages within rapids in the three segments impacted by the BMHC prior to hydrologic alteration, and tested for differences in assemblage structure between segments and seasons. Fish species richness varied only slightly between segments, but there were significant differences in assemblage structure between segments and seasons. Most of the species thought to be highly dependent on rapids habitat, including several species listed as threatened in Brazil, were either restricted to or much more abundant within the upstream and middle segments. Our analysis identified the middle section of the Volta Grande as critically important for the conservation of this diverse, endemic fish fauna. Additional research is urgently needed to determine dam operations that may optimize energy production with an environmental flow regime that conserves the river's unique habitat and biodiversity.

Keywords: Anostomidae; Assemblage structure; Belo Monte; Brazil; Cichlidae; Hydrologic connectivity; Loricariidae; Rheophilic

Fig. 1. Examples of the habitat (A, B) and fishes (C) characteristic of the Middle Xingu River. Species shown are: a) Leporinus maculatus (Anostomidae), b) Baryancistrus xanthellus (Loricariidae), c) Ossubtus xinguense (Serrasalmidae), d) Crenicichla sp. (Cichlidae), e) Ancistrus ranunculus (Loricariidae), f) Cichla melaniae (Cichlidae), g) Tometes kranponhah (Serrasalmidae), h) Hypancistrus sp. (Loricariidae), i) Leporinus fasciatus (Anostomidae), j) Rhinodoras sp. (Doradidae) and k) Hypancistrus zebra (Loricariidae).

Daniel B. Fitzgerald, Mark H. Sabaj Perez, Leandro M. Sousa, Alany P. Gonçalves, Lucia Rapp Py-Daniel, Nathan K. Lujan, Jansen Zuanon, Kirk O. Winemiller and John G. Lundberg. 2018. Diversity and Community Structure of Rapids-dwelling Fishes of the Xingu River: Implications for Conservation Amid Large-scale Hydroelectric Development. Biological Conservation. 222; 104–112.  DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.04.002

[Herpetology • 2018] Leptolalax macrops • A New Species of the Genus Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from southern Vietnam

Leptolalax macrops 
Duong, Do, Ngo, Nguyen & Poyarkov, 2018


 We describe a new species of megophryid frog from Phu Yen Province in southern Vietnam. Leptolalax macrops sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following morphological attributes: (1) body size medium (SVL 28.0–29.3 mm in three adult males, 30.3 mm in single adult female); (2) supra-axillary glands present, creamy white; ventrolateral glands indistinct; (3) tympanum externally distinct; (4) dorsal skin roughly granular with larger tubercles, dermal ridges on dorsum absent; (5) rudimentary webbing present between fingers I–II and II–III; rudimentary webbing between all toes; fingers and toes without dermal fringes; (6) in life ventral surface greyish-violet with white speckling; (7) supratympanic fold distinct, dark brown in life; (8) iris bicolored, typically golden in upper half, fading to golden green in lower half; (9) tibia short (TbL/SVL 0.44–0.45 in males); and (10) eyes large and protuberant (ED/SVL 0.15–0.16 in males). From all congeners for which comparable sequences are available, the new species differs markedly in the 16S rRNA mitochondrial gene sequence (P-distance>5.7%). The new species is currently known only from montane evergreen tropical forests of Song Hinh District, Phu Yen Province, and M’Drak District of Dak Lak Province at elevations of 470–630 m a.s.l. We suggest the new species should be considered as Data Deficient following the IUCN’s Red List categories. We also report a previously unknown Leptolalax mtDNA lineage from an evergreen tropical forest in the Hoa Thinh District of Phu Yen Province, which may also represent an undescribed species.

Keywords: Leptolalax macrops sp. nov.; Phu Yen Province; Dak Lak Province; Southern coastal region of Vietnam

Figure 5: Male paratype of Leptolalax macrops sp. nov. (IEBR A.2017.9) in life (Photo taken in situ. Photo by Dang Trong Do)

Leptolalax macrops sp. nov.
 Chresonymy: Leptolalax sp. [molecular lineage 7] — Rowley et al., 2015a: 10, 12.

Etymology: Specific epithet “macrops” is a noun in the nominative case, derived from Greek “macros” for “large” and “ops” for “eye”, in reference to its comparatively large eye size. 

Recommended vernacular names: We recommend “Big-eyed Litter Frog” as the common English name of the new species and the common name in Vietnamese as “Cóc mày mắt to”

Figure 5: Male paratype of Leptolalax macrops sp. nov. (IEBR A.2017.9) in life.
Figure 6: Typical habitat (A) and microhabitat (B) of Leptolalax macrops sp. nov. in type locality: Suoi Khi Stream, Hon Den Mt., Ea Ly and Ea Trol commune border, Song Hinh District, Phu Yen Province, Vietnam
 (Photos by Dang Trong Do)

Tang Van Duong, Dang Trong Do, Chung Dac Ngo, Truong Quang Nguyen and Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Jr. 2018. A New Species of the Genus Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from southern Vietnam. ZOOLOGICAL RESEARCH. 38(3); 1-16. DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.009

[Cnidaria • 2018] Tempuractis rinkai • First Detailed Record of Symbiosis Between a Sea Anemone (Anthozoa: Actiniaria: Edwardsiidae) and Homoscleromorph Sponge

Tempuractis rinkai  Izumi, Ise & Yanagi, 2018

in Izumi, Ise, Yanagi, Shibata & Ueshima, 2018.  
 DOI:  10.2108/zs170042 

A new species in a new genus of sea anemone, Tempuractis rinkai gen. et sp. nov., was discovered at several localities along the temperate rocky shores of Japan. The new species is approximately 4 mm in length and has been assigned to family Edwardsiidae, because it has eight macrocnemes, lacks sphincter and basal muscles, and possesses rounded aboral end. The sea anemone, however, also has a peculiar body shape unlike that of any other known taxa. This new species resembles some genera, especially Drillactis and Nematostella, in smooth column surface without nemathybomes or tenaculi, but is distinguishable from them by several morphological features: the presence of holotrichs and absence of nematosomes. Furthermore, this edwardsiid species exhibits a peculiar symbiotic ecology with sponges. Therefore, a new genus, Tempuractis, is proposed for this species. In the field, T. rinkai sp. nov. was always found living inside homosclerophorid sponge of the genus Oscarella, which suggests a possible obligate symbiosis between Porifera and Actiniaria. The benefit of this symbiosis is discussed on the basis of observations of live specimens, both in the aquarium and field. This is the first report of symbiosis between a sea anemone and a homoscleromorph sponge.

KEYWORDSJapan; edwardsiid; intertidal; marine invertebrates; overhang; species description; symbiotic relationship; taxonomy; transmission electron microscopy (TEM)

External view of Tempuractis rinkai gen. et sp. nov. and its host sponge Oscarella sp. collected from Misaki, Kanagawa,
including a holotype (NSMT-Co 1573) and four paratypes (CMNH-ZG 08969 to 08972).

Order ACTINIARIA Hertwig, 1882 
Family Edwardsiidae Andres, 1881 

Tempuractis gen. nov. 
Izumi, Ise and Yanagi
(Japanese name: tempura-isoginchaku-zoku)

Etymology. Tempura is a deep-fried, batter-coated nugget of seafood and/or vegetables in Japanese cuisine. This word comprises the first half of the Japanese name of the type species of this genus, as the shape of the actiniarian when embedded in a sponge tissue resembles shrimp tempura. The siffix -actis is commonly used in actiniarian genus names, meaning radiation of sunshine in Greek. The new genus name is feminine in gender.

Tempuractis rinkai sp. nov. 
Izumi, Ise and Yanagi, 2018
(New Japanese name: tempura-isoginchaku)

Etymology. The species epithet is dedicated to marine biological stations around Japan. The first specimens of this species were collected from a rocky shore in front of the Misaki Marine Biological Station (the University of Tokyo). This station is called “Misaki rinkai jikkenjo” in Japanese (“rinkai” means seaside and “jikkennjo” means research facility). Other specimens were collected during a subsequent faunistic survey in collaboration with other marine biological stations: Sugashima Marine Biological Laboratory (Nagoya University) and Sado Marine Biological Station (Niigata University).

図1.今回の記載に用いられたテンプライソギンチャクTempuractis rinkai gen. et sp. nov.(三崎新井浜海岸産)。 a:ノリカイメン科の1種Oscarella sp.(中央のベージュ色のかたまり。全体で1個体)の中に群生している本種。生時は、触手のみをカイメンから出している。 b:テンプライソギンチャク1個体が、カイメンの鞘状構造の中に棲息している。刺激を与えないように観察すると、図の矢印が示す通り徐々に触手を出す

Takato Izumi, Yuji Ise, Kensuke Yanagi, Daisuke Shibata and Rei Ueshima. 2018. First Detailed Record of Symbiosis Between a Sea Anemone and Homoscleromorph Sponge, With a Description of Tempuractis rinkai gen. et sp. nov. (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Actiniaria: Edwardsiidae). Zoological Science. 35(2); 188-198. DOI:  10.2108/zs170042

カイメンと共生する新属新種のイソギンチャク - 東京大学 大学院理学系研究科・理学部


[Plankton • 2018] Syracosphaera azureaplaneta sp. nov. and Revision of Syracosphaera corolla Lecal, 1966

Syracosphaera azureaplaneta
 Young, Bown, Cros, Hagino & Jordan, 2018

Here we show that the extant coccolithophore Syracosphaera corolla Lecal, 1966 comprises two consistently different non-intergrading morphotypes characterised respectively by exothecal coccoliths with wide and narrow central-areas. These are interpreted as separate species and so a new species is described, Syracosphaera azureaplaneta, and a revised description is given for S. corolla.

Keywords Coccolithophores, Syracosphaera, extent

Syracosphaera azureaplaneta sp. nov.

Synonymy: Syracosphaera corolla (Lecal, 1966); Okada & McIntyre, 1977, pl. 6, figs 1-2; Nishida, 1979, pl.6, fig. 4; Winter & Siesser, 1994, fig. 107; Young et al., 2003, pl. 19, figs 14-15; Malinverno et al., 2008, fig. 76.
Umbellosphaera corolla (Lecal, 1966) Gaarder in Heimdal & Gaarder, 1981, pl. 6, figs 53, 57.
Gaarderia corolla (Lecal, 1966) Kleijne, 1993, pl.6, fig. 3-5; Cros & Fortuño, 2002 fig. 29 A. 

Derivation of name: From Latin azureusblue (adjective, feminine form azurea), and planetaplanet (noun, feminine). Named for the BBC documentary series Blue Planet in recognition of its work and that of its presenter, Sir David Attenborough, in promoting understanding of the marine realm. 

Distribution. Sazureaplaneta has a very broad distribution occurring from the tropics to the sub-arctic and in all the major oceans.

Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Lluisa Cros, Kyoko Hagino and Richard W. Jordan. 2018. Syracosphaera azureaplaneta sp. nov. and Revision of Syracosphaera corolla Lecal, 1966. J. Nannoplankton Res. 38(1),  

New ocean plankton species named after BBC's Blue Planet series via @uclnews

[Arachnida • 2018] A Review of the Wasp Mimicking Spider Genus Coenoptychus Simon, 1885 (Araneae: Corinnidae: Castianeirinae)

Coenoptychus pulcher Simon, 1885

in Paul, Sankaran, Sebastian & Joseph, 2018.


The monotypic velvet ant-mimicking spider genus Coenoptychus Simon, 1885 is revised. The paper provides the first detailed morphological and genitalic description, with the first description and illustrations of the male of the type species, Coenoptychus pulcher Simon, 1885, and a redescription of its female. Two new combinations are proposed: Coenoptychus mutillicus (Haddad, 2004) comb. nov. and Coenoptychus tropicalis (Haddad, 2004) comb. nov.; both species were previously included in Graptartia Simon, 1896. The distribution records of the genus are updated.

Keywords: Araneae, mimicry, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, redescription, taxonomy, transfer, wasp mimicking

Jimmy Paul, Pradeep M. Sankaran, Pothalil A. Sebastian and Mathew M Joseph. 2018. A Review of the Wasp Mimicking Spider Genus Coenoptychus Simon, 1885 (Araneae: Corinnidae: Castianeirinae).  Zootaxa. 4413(1); 163–172. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4413.1.6

[Entomology • 2018] Colobopsis explodens sp. n., Model Species for Studies On “Exploding Ants” (Hymenoptera, Formicidae), with Biological Notes and First Illustrations of Males of the Colobopsis cylindrica group

 Colobopsis explodens  Laciny & Zettel, 2018

in Laciny, Zettel, Kopchinskiy, Pretzer, Pal, et al., 2018. 
photos: Alexey Kopchinskiy

A taxonomic description of all castes of Colobopsis explodens Laciny & Zettel, sp. n. from Borneo, Thailand, and Malaysia is provided, which serves as a model species for biological studies on “exploding ants” in Southeast Asia. The new species is a member of the Colobopsis cylindrica (COCY) group and falls into a species complex that has been repeatedly summarized under the name Colobopsis saundersi (Emery, 1889) (formerly Camponotus saundersi). The COCY species group is known under its vernacular name “exploding ants” for a unique behaviour: during territorial combat, workers of some species sacrifice themselves by rupturing their gaster and releasing sticky and irritant contents of their hypertrophied mandibular gland reservoirs to kill or repel rivals. This study includes first illustrations and morphometric characterizations of males of the COCY group: Colobopsis explodens Laciny & Zettel, sp. n. and Colobopsis badia (Smith, 1857). Characters of male genitalia and external morphology are compared with other selected taxa of Camponotini. Preliminary notes on the biology of C. explodens Laciny & Zettel, sp. n. are provided. To fix the species identity of the closely related C. badia, a lectotype from Singapore is designated. The following taxonomic changes within the C. saundersi complex are proposed: Colobopsis solenobia (Menozzi, 1926), syn. n. and Colobopsis trieterica (Menozzi, 1926), syn. n. are synonymized with Colobopsis corallina Roger, 1863, a common endemic species of the Philippines. Colobopsis saginata Stitz, 1925, stat. n., hitherto a subspecies of C. badia, is raised to species level.

Keywords: autothysis, behavioural ecology, Camponotini, Colobopsis, Formicidae, integrative taxonomy, male morphology, molecular biology, morphometry, new species, new status, new synonymy, phylogeny, Southeast Asia, taxonomy

 Minor worker of Colobopsis explodens with posterior body raised in a defensive pose.
photo: Alexey Kopchinskiy  

Exploding behavior of Colobopsis explodens in experimental setting with a weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina.
photo: Alexey Kopchinskiy 

Major worker of Colobopsis explodens with characteristically enlarged head.
photo: Heinz Wiesbauer

Colobopsis explodens Laciny & Zettel, sp. n.

Camponotus (Colobopsis) sp. Yellow Goo: Davidson et al. 2007: 470.
Camponotus (Colobopsis) sp. YG: Cook 2008. Davidson et al. 2012: 488.
Colobopsis sp. YG: Davidson et al. 2016: 518. Laciny et al. 2017: 95.

Etymology: Present participle of Latin explodere, referring to the “exploding”-like autothysis behaviour.


 Alice Laciny, Herbert Zettel, Alexey Kopchinskiy, Carina Pretzer, Anna Pal, Kamariah Abu Salim, Mohammad Javad Rahimi, Michaela Hoenigsberger, Linda Lim, Weeyawat Jaitrong and Irina S. Druzhinina. 2018. Colobopsis explodens sp. n., Model Species for Studies On “Exploding Ants” (Hymenoptera, Formicidae), with Biological Notes and First Illustrations of Males of the Colobopsis cylindrica group.  ZooKeys. 751: 1-40.  DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.751.22661

New ant species from Borneo explodes to defend its colony via @Pensoft @EurekAlert @physorg_com
'Exploding Ant' Rips Itself Apart To Protect Its Own via @NatGeo

[Entomology • 2018] Bucculatrix brunnella sp. n. (Lepidoptera, Bucculatricidae) from Sicily and Sardinia

Bucculatrix brunnella Tokár & Laštůvka, 2018

[upper] male, holotype, Francavilla di Sicilia,, wingspan 7.5 mm. 
[lower] female, paratype, Mount Etna, Nicolosi,, wingspan 6.5 mm.

Bucculatrix brunnella sp. n. is described from Sicily and Sardinia. The male of the new species is characterized by the almost monochrome ochreous brown forewing. It may resemble the monochrome form of B. cristatella (Zeller, 1839), but the colour of the forewing of the latter species is pale ochreous grey. The female of the new species is slightly smaller, paler and with more conspicuous pattern on the forewing than those of the male. B. brunnella sp. n. differs markedly in the male genitalia from other known Bucculatrix species. The immature stages are unknown. The male and female adults, and genitalia of both sexes, are figured and a distribution map is provided.

Figure 1. Bucculatrix brunnella sp. n., male, holotype, Francavilla di Sicilia,, wingspan 7.5 mm. 

Figure 2. Bucculatrix brunnella sp. n., female, paratype, Mount Etna, Nicolosi,, wingspan 6.5 mm.

Bucculatrix brunnella sp. n. 

The male of Bucculatrix brunnella sp. n. is externally characterized by the almost monochrome ochreous to brown forewing with only an inconspicuous scattered pattern. It can resemble a monochrome form of B. cristatella (Zeller, 1839), but the colour of forewing of the latter species is pale ochreous grey.
In the male genitalia the new species significantly differs from any known species, in particular in the shape of the valva and socii lobes.
In the female genitalia the new species closely resembles those of B. mehadiensis Rebel, 1903 but both species differ significantly externally. The forewing of B. mehadiensis is creamy white with a striking blackish pattern, whilst the forewing ground colour of B. brunnella is ochreous to brown and a darker brown pattern is inconspicuous.

Biology: The early stages of the new species are unknown. Most of the adults were collected in light-traps between 8th and 23rd June and one specimen was taken on 21st September. The species probably has (at least) two generations a year.

Distribution and habitat: (Fig. 6). Bucculatrix brunnella sp. n. is known from the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. In Sicily it was found in the north and north-eastern parts, mainly near Mount Etna. In Sardinia, it is so far only known from the Gennargentu Mountains. The species was collected from about 300 to 1100 m altitude.

Etymology: The specific name brunnella is derived from the forewing colour of the new species.

 Zdenko Tokár and Aleš Laštůvka. 2018. Bucculatrix brunnella sp. n. (Lepidoptera, Bucculatricidae) from Sicily and Sardinia. Nota Lepidopterologica. 41(1); 113-117. DOI: 10.3897/nl.41.22840

[Botany • 2018] Three New Species of Begonia (section Baryandra, Begoniaceae) from Luzon Island, the Philippines; Begonia droseroides, B. gabaldonensis & B. madulidii

Begonia droseroides  C.I Peng, Rubite & C.W. Lin
 B. gabaldonensis, and B. madulidii Rubite, C.I Peng & C.W. Lin 

in Rubite, Peng, Chung, et al., 2018.


Luzon is the largest island of the Philippines, and because of its isolation from other landmasses it has developed a unique diversity of flora and fauna. Included in this rich biodiversity of flora are members of genus Begonia of the family Begoniaceae. In a joint expedition to the island, botanists from Taiwan and the Philippines found three unknown Begonia species and compared them with potentially allied species. The three species are clearly members of Begonia section Baryandra. Studies of literature, herbarium specimens, and living plants support the recognition of the three new speciesBegonia droseroidesB. gabaldonensis, and B. madulidii. This brings the total of Begonia species in section Baryandra to sixty-eight, of which 85.3% are endemic to the Philippines.

Keywords: sect. Baryandra, endemic, Luzon, Eudicots


 Rosario R. Rubite, Ching-I Peng, Kuo-Fang Chung, Che-Wei Lin, Luisito T. Evangelista, Danilo N. Tandang, John Rey C. Callado and Mark Hughes. 2018. Three New Species of Begonia (section Baryandra, Begoniaceae) from Luzon Island, the Philippines. Phytotaxa. 347(3); 201-212. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.347.3.1

Thursday, April 19, 2018

[PaleoMammalogy • 2018] Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai • A New Large Squalodelphinid (Cetacea, Odontoceti) from Peru Sheds Light on the Early Miocene Platanistoid Disparity and Ecology

Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai  
Bianucci, Bosio, Malinverno, de Muizon, Villa, Urbina & Lambert, 2018

   DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172302 

The South Asian river dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is the only extant survivor of the large clade Platanistoidea, having a well-diversified fossil record from the Late Oligocene to the Middle Miocene. Based on a partial skeleton collected from the Chilcatay Formation (Chilcatay Fm; southern coast of Peru), we report here a new squalodelphinid genus and species, Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai. A volcanic ash layer, sampled near the fossil, yielded the 40Ar/39Ar age of 18.78 ± 0.08 Ma (Burdigalian, Early Miocene). The phylogenetic analysis places Macrosqualodelphis as the earliest branching squalodelphinid. Combined with several cranial and dental features, the large body size (estimated body length of 3.5 m) of this odontocete suggests that it consumed larger prey than the other members of its family. Together with Huaridelphis raimondii and Notocetus vanbenedeni, both also found in the Chilcatay Fm, this new squalodelphinid further demonstrates the peculiar local diversity of the family along the southeastern Pacific coast, possibly related to their partition into different dietary niches. At a wider geographical scale, the morphological and ecological diversity of squalodelphinids confirms the major role played by platanistoids during the Early Miocene radiation of crown odontocetes.

KEYWORDS: Odontoceti, Squalodelphinidae, Early Miocene, Peru, phylogeny, palaeoecology

Systematic palaeontology
Cetacea Brisson, 1762
Neoceti Fordyce and Muizon, 2001

Odontoceti Flower, 1867
Platanistoidea Gray, 1863
Squalodelphinidae Dal Piaz, 1917

Type genus. Squalodelphis Dal Piaz, 1917

Other genera included. Huaridelphis, Medocinia, Notocetus, Phocageneus.

Macrosqualodelphis, gen. nov.

Etymology. From ‘Macro’, large, and ‘Squalodelphis’ the type genus of the family. Gender masculine.

Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai, sp. nov.

Holotype and only referred specimen. MUSM 2545 consists of a skull lacking the anterior portion of the rostrum, the ear bones, both mandibles and the hyoid bones. The ventralmost portion of the rostrum and of the basicranium is worn along a plane slightly anterodorsally sloping with respect to the horizontal plane of the skull (erupted portion of maxillary teeth, basioccipital crests, ventral part of exoccipitals and postglenoid processes of squamosals missing). MUSM 2545 also preserves three detached anterior teeth; the atlas, two thoracic, two lumbar and eight caudal vertebrae; the left humerus, radius and incomplete ulna; one phalanx and one metacarpal; and two small fragments of ribs.

Type locality. About 3 km south of the fossiliferous Cerro Colorado locality, Western Ica Valley, Ica Region, southern Peru. 710 m above sea level. The holotype was discovered and collected by one of the authors (M.U.).

Etymology. From ‘Uku Pacha’ (Uku = withininsidePacha = Earth), the Inca lower world, located below the Earth's surface, in reference to the discovery of the specimen buried in sediment.

Figure 16. Skeletal remains and inferred body outline of the squalodelphinids from the early Burdigalian of the Chilcatay Fm (Pisco Basin, Peru) and skeletal and body outline of the extant P. gangetica. Body lengths based on the Pyenson & Sponberg [2011] equation for the fossils and on Jefferson et al. [2008] for the extant P. gangetica.

Cranium of the holotype (MUSM 2545) of Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai, from the early Burdigalian of the Chilcatay Fm (Pisco Basin, Peru).

Figure 3. (a) Dorsal view; (b) corresponding explanatory line drawing;   Linear hatching indicates major breaks and cross-hatching areas covered by the sediment.
Figure 4. (a) Ventral view; (b) corresponding explanatory line drawing;  Linear hatching indicates major breaks, cross-hatching areas covered by the sediment and dark shading worn surface.
Figure 5. (a) Right lateral view; (b) corresponding explanatory line drawing; (c) left lateral view. Cross-hatching indicates supporting frame.

Macrosqualodelphis ukupachai is a new species of the extinct platanistoid family Squalodelphinidae based on a well-preserved partial skeleton collected from the Early Miocene (ca 19–18 Ma) fossiliferous beds of the Chilcatay Fm outcropping in the Western Ica Valley (southern coast of Peru). The age of this skeleton is further constrained via 40Ar/39Ar dating of a local volcanic ash layer to 18.78 ± 0.08 Ma (early Burdigalian).

Our phylogenetic analysis supports the referral of M. ukupachai to the monophyletic family Squalodelphinidae, of which it constitutes the earliest diverging lineage.

The main distinctive character of M. ukupachai is its large size: its estimated TBL is approximately 3.5 m, significantly larger than all other known squalodelphinids, including N. vanbenedeni (2.5 m) and H. raimondii (2.0 m), both also found in the Chilcatay Fm. Combined with cranial and dental features (robust rostrum less tapered than in other squalodelphinids, large temporal fossa, prominent nuchal and temporal crests, and more robust teeth), the large body size of M. ukupachai suggests that this squalodelphinid was able to prey upon larger prey items. Consequently, M. ukupachai would have been positioned higher along the local trophic chain than the roughly contemporaneous N. vanbenedeni and H. raimondii. Therefore, it is suggested that the squalodelphinid diversity, both locally and worldwide, could be related to their partition into different dietary niches, as is observed in the extant delphinids.

This new record further illustrates the first, Early Miocene, broad radiation of crown odontocetes in marine environments, with a major contribution of homodont platanistoids. This Early Miocene morphological and ecological diversification of platanistoids (including squalodelphinids) was followed by the radiation of delphinidans (porpoises, true dolphins and relatives) during the Middle–Late Miocene. The only extant survivor of the platanistoid ‘golden age’ is the endangered South Asian river dolphin P. gangetica, confined in freshwater ecosystems of the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra river basins.

Giovanni Bianucci, Giulia Bosio, Elisa Malinverno, Christian de Muizon, Igor M. Villa, Mario Urbina and Olivier Lambert. 2018. A New Large Squalodelphinid (Cetacea, Odontoceti) from Peru Sheds Light on the Early Miocene Platanistoid Disparity and Ecology. Royal Society Open Science. 5(4)  DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172302