Tuesday, February 20, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Hyloscirtus japreria • A New Species of Hyloscirtus (Anura, Hylidae) from the Colombian and Venezuelan Slopes of Sierra de Perijá, and the Phylogenetic Position of Hyloscirtus jahni

Hyloscirtus japreria 
Rojas-Runjaic, Infante-Rivero, Salerno & Meza-Joya, 2018


A new species of Hyloscirtus, belonging to the H. bogotensis species Group, is described from the Venezuelan and Colombian slopes of the Sierra de Perijá. The new species can be readily distinguished from its congeners by the combination of the following characters: mental gland present, disc-shaped and small; ulnar, outer, and inner tarsal folds present; calcar tubercle absent; whitish stripes on external border of upper eyelids and supratympanic folds, longitudinally on the mid-dorsum, on supracloacal fold, outer ulnar folds, inner and outer tarsal folds, and also on dorsal internal surface of shanks. We estimate phylogenetic relationships based on mtDNA (spanning fragments of 12S rRNA, tRNA-Val and 16S rRNA), of all Hyloscirtus species available in Genbank, as well as the new species described herein, H. callipeza, H. jahni, and H. platydactylus, all of which have not been previously sequenced. Our molecular data support the hypothesis of the new species as sister species of H. callipeza and indicates that H. jahni does not belong to the H. bogotensis species Group, but rather is sister species of all other Hyloscirtus (sensu Faivovich et al. 2005). Based on this last result we propose a new species group for H. jahni and the synonymy of Colomascirtus in Hyloscirtus. We also provide the first description of the advertisement call of H. callipeza. With the new species described herein, the number of Hyloscirtus species increases to 37.

Keywords: Amphibia, Advertisement call, Amphibia, Andes, Colomascirtus, Hylinae, Hyloscirtus bogotensis species Group, Hyloscirtus callipeza, integrative taxonomy, phylogeny

Fernando J.M. Rojas-Runjaic, Edwin E. Infante-Rivero, Patricia E. Salerno and Fabio Leonardo Meza-Joya. 2018. A New Species of Hyloscirtus (Anura, Hylidae) from the Colombian and Venezuelan Slopes of Sierra de Perijá, and the Phylogenetic Position of Hyloscirtus jahni (Rivero, 1961)Zootaxa. 4382(1);  121–146.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4382.1.4

[Ecology / Invasive Species • 2018] More Invaders Do Not Result in Heavier Impacts: The Effects of Non-native Bullfrogs on Native Anurans are Mitigated by High Densities of Non-native Crayfish

Liu, Wang, Ke, et al., 2018. 

1. With accelerating species introductions in an era of globalization, co-occurring alien species have become increasingly common. Understanding the combined ecological impacts of multiple invaders is not only crucial for wildlife managers attempting to ameliorate biodiversity loss, but also provides key insights into invasion success and species coexistence mechanisms in natural ecosystems. Compared with much attentions given to single-invader impacts, little is known about the impacts of multiple co-occurring invaders.
2. The American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus Rana catesbeiana) and the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) are two aquatic invasive species in many different areas of the globe. They coexist with native anurans in a variety of permanent lentic waters, which provide an ideal model system to explore the combined effects of multiple invaders from different trophic levels on native species.
3. Based on a global diet analysis covering 34 native and invasive bullfrog populations, and data from 10-year field surveys across 157 water bodies in the Zhoushan Archipelago, China, we observed a reduced impact of bullfrogs on native anurans at high crayfish densities when the two invaders co-occurred.
4. The global diet analysis showed that crayfish occurrence reduced the number of native anuran prey consumed by bullfrogs in both native and invasive populations. After accounting for pseudoreplication of different observations among water bodies, islands, and survey time, model averaging analyses based on GLMMs showed a negative relationship between bullfrog density and native anuran densities for field observations of invasive bullfrogs alone and co-invaded observations with low crayfish density. However, this negative relationship disappeared when the two invaders co-occurred with high crayfish density. Structural equation modelling (SEM) analyses further validated that the impacts of bullfrogs on native frogs were mitigated by the negative interactions between crayfish and bullfrogs.
5. Our results provide novel evidence of a density-dependent antagonistic effect of two sympatric invaders from different trophic levels on native species. This study highlights the importance of considering complex interactions among co-invaders and native species when prioritizing conservation and management actions and will facilitate the development of a more precise framework to predict invasion impacts.

  Xuan Liu, Supen Wang, Zunwei Ke, Chaoyuan Cheng, Yihua Wang, Fang Zhang, Feng Xu, Xianping Li, Xu Gao, Changnan Jin, Wei Zhu, Shaofei Yan and Yiming Li. 2018. More Invaders Do Not Result in Heavier Impacts: The Effects of Non-native Bullfrogs on Native Anurans are Mitigated by High Densities of Non-native Crayfish.  Journal of Animal Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12793   

[Entomology • 2018] Hyptiogaster arafura • A New Species of the Endemic Australian Genus Hyptiogaster Kieffer (Hymenoptera: Gasteruptiidae)

Hyptiogaster arafura 
Parslow & Jennings, 2018


Hyptiogaster arafura sp. nov. is described from Arafura Swamp, Northern Territory, Australia, as the eleventh species of Hyptiogaster Kieffer (Hymenoptera: Gasteruptiidae). A revised diagnosis of Hyptiogaster is given based on the new species.

Hyptiogaster arafura sp. nov. is described from Arafura Swamp, Northern Territory, Australia, as the eleventh species of Hyptiogaster. 

Ben A. Parslow and John T. Jennings. 2018. A New Species of the Endemic Australian Genus Hyptiogaster Kieffer (Hymenoptera: Gasteruptiidae). Zootaxa. 4379(1); 145–150. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4379.1.11

The 11th species of an endemic Australian wasp genus  phy.so/438251045 via @physorg_com

[Ichthyology • 2018] Resurrection of the Sixgill Shark Hexanchus vitulus Springer & Waller, 1969 (Hexanchiformes, Hexanchidae), with Comments on Its Distribution in the northwest Atlantic Ocean

Hexanchus vitulus Springer & Waller, 1969

in Daly-Engel, Baremore, Grubbs, et al., 2018. 

The sixgill sharks of the genus Hexanchus (Hexanchiformes, Hexanchidae) are large, rarely encountered deep-sea sharks, thought to comprise just two species: the bluntnose sixgill Hexanchus griseus (Bonaterre, 1788) and the bigeye sixgill Hexanchus nakamurai (Teng, 1962). Their distribution is putatively worldwide in tropical and temperate waters, but many verified records for these species are lacking, and misidentification is common. Taxonomic uncertainty has long surrounded H. nakamurai in particular, with debate as to whether individuals from the Atlantic constitute a separate species. Using 1,310 base pairs of two mitochondrial genes, COI and ND2, we confirm that bigeye sixgill sharks from the Atlantic Ocean (Belize, Gulf of Mexico, and Bahamas) diverge from those in the Pacific and Indian Oceans (Japan, La Reunion, and Madagascar) with 7.037% sequence divergence. This difference is similar to the genetic distance between both Atlantic and Indo-Pacific bigeye sixgill sharks and the bluntnose sixgill shark (7.965% and 8.200%, respectively), and between the entire genus Hexanchus and its sister genus Heptranchias (8.308%). Such variation far exceeds previous measures of species-level genetic divergence in elasmobranchs, even among slowly-evolving deep-water taxa. Given the high degree of morphological similarity within Hexanchus, and the fact that cryptic diversity is common even among frequently observed shark species, we conclude that these results support the resurrection of the name Hexanchus vitulus Springer and Waller, 1969 for bigeye sixgill sharks in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. We propose the common name “Atlantic sixgill shark” for H. vitulus, and provide new locality records from Belize, as well as comments on its overall distribution.

Keywords: Systematics, Mitochondrial DNA, Phylogenetics, Speciation, Elasmobranchs 

An adult Atlantic sixgill shark swims in the waters off Belize.
photo: Ivy Baremore/Maralliance

Toby S. Daly-Engel, Ivy E. Baremore, R. Dean Grubbs, Simon J. B. Gulak, Rachel T. Graham and Michael P. Enzenauer. 2018. Resurrection of the Sixgill Shark Hexanchus vitulus Springer & Waller, 1969 (Hexanchiformes, Hexanchidae), with comments on its distribution in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Marine Biodiversity.  DOI: 10.1007/s12526-018-0849-x

New species of shark discovered through genetic testing phy.so/438254250 via @physorg_com

[Entomology • 2018] Revision of the Genus Callipia Guenée, 1858 (Lepidoptera, Geometridae), with the Description of 15 New Taxa

Callipia rosetta Thierry-Mieg, 1904
C. walterfriedlii  Brehm, 2018
C. augustae Brehm, 2018

   DOI:  10.5852/ejt.2018.404 


The vividly coloured Neotropical genus Callipia Guenée (1858) (Lepidoptera Linnaeus, 1758, Geometridae (Leach, 1815), Larentiinae (Leach, 1815), Stamnodini Forbes, 1948) is revised and separated into four species groups, according to a provisional phylogeny based on Cytochrome Oxidase I (COI) gene data and morphology. 

Fourteen new species are described using COI data and morphology:
a) in the balteata group: C. fiedleri sp. nov., C. jakobi sp. nov., C. lamasi sp. nov.;
b) in the vicinaria group: C. hausmanni sp. nov., C. walterfriedlii sp. nov.;
c) in the parrhasiata group: C. augustae sp. nov., C. jonai sp. nov., C. karsholti sp. nov., C. levequei sp. nov., C. milleri sp. nov., C. sihvoneni sp. nov., C. wojtusiaki sp. nov. and
d) in the constantinaria group: C. hiltae sp. nov., C. rougeriei sp. nov.
 One new subspecies is described: C. wojtusiaki septentrionalis subsp. nov. 

Two species are revived from synonymy: C. intermedia Dognin, 1914 stat. rev. and C. occulta Warren, 1904 stat. rev. 

The taxon hamaria Sperry, 1951 is transferred from being a junior synonym of C. constantinaria Oberthür, 1881 to being a junior synonym of C. occulta stat. rev. The taxon admirabilis Warren, 1904 is confirmed as being a junior synonym of C. paradisea Thierry-Mieg, 1904. The taxon languescens Warren, 1904 is confirmed as being a junior synonym of C. rosetta, Thierry-Mieg, 1904 and the taxon confluens Warren, 1905 is confirmed as being a junior synonym of C. balteata Warren, 1905. 

The status of the remaining species is not changed: C. aurata Warren, 1904, C. brenemanae Sperry, 1951, C. parrhasiata Guenée, 1858, C. flagrans Warren, 1904, C. fulvida Warren, 1907 and C. vicinaria Dognin. 

All here recognised 26 species are illustrated and the available molecular genetic information of 25 species, including Barcode Index Numbers (BINs) for most of the taxa is provided. The almost threefold increase from 10 to 26 valid species shows that species richness of tropical moths is strongly underestimated even in relatively conspicuous taxa. Callipia occurs from medium to high elevations in wet parts of the tropical and subtropical Andes from Colombia to northern Argentina. The early stages and host plants are still unknown.

Keywords: Callipia; taxonomy; Andes; insect; Neotropics

Figs 131–138. Living specimens and habitats. 131. Callipia rosetta Thierry-Mieg, 1904, ♂, Ecuador, Loja province, Podocarpus National Park, Cajanuma, 2897 m, 26 Mar. 2011. The specimen was attracted to light and benumbed. 132. Elfin forests are a habitat of C. rosetta Thierry-Mieg, 1904 and C. walterfriedlii sp. nov., Ecuador, Loja province, Podocarpus National Park, Cajanuma, 3000 m, 30 Jan. 2013. 133. C. walterfriedlii sp. nov., ♀, Ecuador, Loja province, Podocarpus National Park, Cerro Toledo, 2938 m, 27. Feb. 2013. The specimen was attracted to light and benumbed. 134. Habitat (elfin forest) of C. walterfriedlii sp. nov. at Cerro Toledo. 

Figs 131–138. Living specimens and habitats. 135. Callipia augustae sp. nov., ♂, Peru, Cusco province, Wayqecha station, 2900 m, 26 Aug. 2016. The specimen was collected at night, trapped, photographed and released the next morning. 136. Habitat of C. augustae sp. nov. and Callipia sp. near Wayqecha station. 137. C. augustae sp. nov., ♂, Peru, Cusco province, road Wayqecha–Pillcopata, 2284 m, 23 Aug. 2016. The specimen was attracted to UV light and tried to take up fluid (see proboscis). 138. Callipia sp. at Wayqecha station, 4 Sep. 2016. This specimen was attracted to UV light, but escaped into the vegetation when disturbed.

Gunnar Brehm. 2018. Revision of the Genus Callipia Guenée, 1858 (Lepidoptera, Geometridae), with the Description of 15 New Taxa. European Journal of Taxonomy. 404; 1–54.   DOI:  10.5852/ejt.2018.404

[Crustacea • 2018] Australocarcinus insperatus • A New Species of Trogloplacine Crab of the Genus Australocarcinus Davie, 1988 (Brachyura, Chasmocarcinidae) from A Freshwater Stream in Mahé, Seychelles

Australocarcinus insperatus 
Ng & Daniels, 2018 

A new species of freshwater chasmocarcinid crab, Australocarcinus insperatus sp. n., is described from the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. This is the first record of the genus and the subfamily Trogloplacinae Guinot, 1986, from the Indian Ocean, with all other members previously recorded from Australia, New Britain, New Caledonia, and Palau in the Pacific Ocean. The disjunct distribution of Australocarcinus is unexpected considering all trogoplacines are believed to practice direct development, lacking free-swimming larval stages. The new species is morphologically most similar to A. riparius Davie, 1988, from Queensland, Australia, but can be distinguished from its three congeners on the basis of the structures of its carapace, ambulatory legs and male first gonopod.

Keywords: Chasmocarcinidae, freshwater, Indian Ocean, new species, Trogloplacinae, taxonomy

Figure 1. Australocarcinus insperatus sp. n., holotype male (10.7 × 8.6 mm) (ZRC 2017.1072), Seychelles. A overall dorsal habitus B dorsal view of carapace (right side denuded) C right third maxilliped (denuded) D anterior thoracic sternum and pleon E posterior thoracic sternum and pleon F frontal view of cephalothorax G posterior margin of epistome. 

Australocarcinus insperatus sp. n., holotype male (10.7 × 8.6 mm) (ZRC 2017.1072), Seychelles.
Figure 1.  A overall dorsal habitus B dorsal view of carapace (right side denuded) C right third maxilliped (denuded) D anterior thoracic sternum and pleon E posterior thoracic sternum and pleon F frontal view of cephalothorax G posterior margin of epistome.
Figure 2.  A outer surfaces of chelae B right first ambulatory leg showing setose posterior margin on propodus and dactylus C left fourth ambulatory leg D posterior thoracic sternum showing supplementary plate

Figure 2. Australocarcinus insperatus sp. n. A–D holotype male (10.7 × 8.6 mm) (ZRC 2017.1072), Seychelles E–G paratype female (9.5 × 7.8 mm) (ZRC 2017.1073), Seychelles. A outer surfaces of chelae B right first ambulatory leg showing setose posterior margin on propodus and dactylus C left fourth ambulatory leg D posterior thoracic sternum showing supplementary plate E female overall dorsal habitus F female posterior thoracic sternum and pleon G female sterno-pleonal cavity showing vulvae.

Family Chasmocarcinidae Serène, 1964
Subfamily Trogloplacinae Guinot, 1986
Genus Australocarcinus Davie, 1988
Type species: Australocarcinus riparius Davie, 1988, by original designation.

Australocarcinus insperatus sp. n.

Material examined: Holotype: male (10.7 × 8.6 mm) (ZRC 2017.1072), in shallow stream, ca. 800 m from sea, about 2 km south-southeast of international airport, Mahé, Seychelles, coll. SR Daniels, May 2010. Paratypes: 1 male (8.5 × 7.2 mm), 1 female (9.5 × 7.8 mm) (ZRC 2017.1073), same data as holotype.

Diagnosis: Carapace subquadrate, front weakly bilobed, with shallow median concavity (Fig. 1A, B); dorsal surface gently convex (Fig. 1F); dorsal surfaces and margins covered with short uneven tomentum (Fig. 1A, B); anterolateral margins arcuate, with four low teeth: first widest with gently sinuous margin, second lobiform, third wide, fourth (at junction of antero- and posterolateral margins) dentate, directed laterally, protruding beyond margin (Fig. 1B). Posterolateral margin converging towards gently convex posterior carapace margin (Fig. 1B). Epistome compressed, posterior margin with distinct triangular median lobe with median fissure, lateral margins gently sinuous (Fig. 1G). Eye peduncle completely filling orbit, relatively short, mobile; cornea distinct, pigmented (Fig. 1B, F). Third maxillipeds leaving gap when closed; merus quadrate, anteroexternal angle auriculiform; ischium quadrate, slightly longer than merus with very shallow median sulcus (Fig. 1C, D). Chelipeds subequal, relatively stouter in males (Figs 1A, 2E); cutting margins of both chelae with distinct teeth in both sexes, base of fingers with tuft of stiff setae; proximal part of dactylus of right chela with large, triangular tooth directed towards palm (Fig. 2A); ventral surface of cheliped merus with tubercles. Ambulatory legs moderately short; meri unarmed but setose to varying degrees; P2 carpus, propodus and dactylus with very long coarse setae which obscures margins (Figs 1A, 2B); P3–P5 propodus and dactylus setose but setae shorter than on P5 (Fig. 2C); P5 dactylus straight (Fig. 2C). Thoracic sternites 1, 2 fused, broadly triangular, short; separated from sternite 3 by sinuous groove; sternites 3, 4 fused, relatively broad (Fig. 1D). Male pleon with lateral margins of somite 6 and fused somites 3‒5 gently sinuous; telson slightly longer than broad (Fig. 1D, E). Sterno-pleonal cavity of male deep, press-button for pleonal holding small, short tubercle posterior to thoracic sternal suture 4/5 near edge of sterno-pleonal cavity. Male thoracic sternite 8 short, rectangular; supplementary plate narrow, wider along outer part (Figs 1E, 2D). G1 stout; basal part truncate; distal part cylindrical, with rounded tip, covered with short spinules (Fig. 3A–D). G2 prominently longer than G1, basal segment curved; distal segment slightly longer than basal segment, apex cup-like (Fig. 3E, F). Somites of female pleon with slightly convex lateral margins; telson wider than long (Fig. 2F). Sterno-pleonal cavity of female moderately deep, with large vulvae distinctly separated from each other, covering most of thoracic sternite 5, ovate, with low raised lip on outer margin, opening slit-like (Fig. 2G).

Etymology: From the Latin “insperatus” for “unforeseen”, alluding to the unexpected discovery of a species of Australocarcinus in the western Indian Ocean.

 Peter K. L. Ng and Savel R. Daniels. 2018. A New Species of Trogloplacine Crab of the Genus Australocarcinus Davie, 1988 from A Freshwater Stream in Mahé, Seychelles (Crustacea, Brachyura, Chasmocarcinidae).  ZooKeys. 738; 27-35.   DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.738.23708

Monday, February 19, 2018

[Paleontology • 2018] A Nestling-sized Skeleton of Edmontosaurus (Ornithischia, Hadrosauridae) from the Hell Creek Formation of northeastern Montana, U.S.A., with An Analysis of Ontogenetic Limb Allometry

Edmontosaurus annectens (Marsh, 1892)

in Wosik, Goodwin & Evans, 2018
   DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2017.1398168    

The Hell Creek Formation preserves one of the most intensely studied late Cretaceous terrestrial fossil units. Over 22 dinosaur genera are currently recognized from this unit, but the record of juvenile individuals is surprisingly limited. Here, we document a nestling hadrosaur that represents the first occurrence of an articulated nestling dinosaur skeleton from the latest Cretaceous (late Maastrichtian) of North America. The specimen (UCMP 128181) preserves a partial scapula, nearly complete rib cage, vertebral series from the shoulder to mid-tail, a large portion of the pelvic girdle, and both hind limbs through a combination of bone and/or natural impressions in the concretion. It is assignable to the genus Edmontosaurus based on the shape of the prepubic process, or blade, of the pubis. The specimen represents the earliest ontogenetic growth stage of Edmontosaurus cf. annectens and possesses a femur length of 148 mm. It greatly contributes as a new end member to a sample of associated Edmontosaurus skeletons that is well suited for allometrically testing the hypothesized ontogenetic gait shift in hadrosaurs from bipedal juveniles to quadrupedal adults using individual limb proportions. Although UCMP 128181 does not preserve forelimbs, regressions based on associated Edmontosaurus skeletons (N = 25) reveal overall isometry of the forelimb relative to the hind limb, and within each limb. These data indicate that Edmontosaurus nestlings were anatomically capable of fully quadrupedal locomotion and provide no compelling evidence to support an ontogenetic gait shift in hadrosaurids.

UCMP-128181, Edmontosaurus cf. annectens

Mateusz Wosik, Mark B. Goodwin and David C. Evans. 2018. A Nestling-sized Skeleton of Edmontosaurus (Ornithischia, Hadrosauridae) from the Hell Creek Formation of northeastern Montana, U.S.A., with An Analysis of Ontogenetic Limb Allometry.   Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.  DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2017.1398168   

First baby #dinosaur skeleton from the Hell Creek Formation
Published in @SVP_vertpaleo with Mark Goodwin and @DavidEvans_ROM
Cover art by @SaurianGame. Funded by @ucmpberkeley Welles Fund.


[Botany • 2018] Lecanorchis sarawakensis • A New Mycoheterotrophic Species (Orchidaceae, Vanilloideae) from Sarawak, Borneo

Lecanorchis sarawakensis Suetsugu & Naiki

in  Suetsugu, Ling, Naiki, et al., 2018.

Lecanorchis Blume (1856: 188) comprises about 30 species of mycoheterotrophic orchids (Seidenfaden 1978, Hashimoto 1990, Szlachetko & Mytnik 2000, Govaerts et al. 2017) characterized by having numerous, long, thick, horizontal roots produced from a short rhizome, presence of a calyculus (i.e. a cup-like structure located between the base of the perianth and apex of the ovary) and an elongate column with a pair of small wings on each side of the anther (Seidenfaden 1978, Hashimoto 1990). The genus is distributed across a wide area including China, Korea, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, New Guinea, Pacific islands, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam (Seidenfaden 1978, Hashimoto 1990, Pearce & Cribb 1999, Szlachetko & Mytnik 2000, Averyanov 2011, 2013).

Lecanorchis sarawakensis in the type locality.
A. Habit. B. Flower, side view. C. Flower, front view.

Lecanorchis sarawakensis Suetsugu & Naiki, sp. nov.

Kenji Suetsugu, Ling Chea Yiing, Akiyo , Shuichiro Tagane, Yayoi Takeuchi, Hironori Toyama and Tetsukazu Yahara. 2018. Lecanorchis sarawakensis (Orchidaceae, Vanilloideae), A New Mycoheterotrophic Species from Sarawak, Borneo. Phytotaxa. 388(1); 135–139. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.338.1.13

[Crustacea • 2018] The Freshwater Shrimp Family Euryrhynchidae Holthuis, 1950 (Decapoda: Caridea) Revisited, with A Taxonomic Revision of the Genus Euryrhynchus

 Euryrhynchus amazoniensis  Tiefenbacher, 1978

in Pachelle & Tavares. 2018. 


The present revision is based on the largest sample of Euryrhynchidae Holthuis, 1950 studied to date, with special reference to Euryrhynchus Miers, 1878. The revision confirms the validity of the 8 currently recognized species of Euryrhynchidae and describes 2 new species related to Euryrhynchus amazoniensis Tiefenbacher, 1978: E. taruman sp. nov. and E. tuyuka sp. nov. The species Euryrhynchus amazoniensis, E. burchelli Calman, 1907, E. pemoni Pereira, 1985 and E. wrzesniowskii Miers, 1878 are redescribed and illustrated based on specimens from the type series and additional material. Additional diagnostic characters are proposed to differentiate the species of Euryrhynchus, previously separated only by the armature of the second pereopod carpus and merus.

Keywords: Crustacea, Amazon, South America, West Africa, Gondwana, new species

Paulo P. G. Pachelle and Marcos Tavares. 2018. The Freshwater Shrimp Family Euryrhynchidae Holthuis, 1950 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Caridea) Revisited, with A Taxonomic Revision of the Genus Euryrhynchus Miers, 1878.  Zootaxa. 4380(1); 1-110.   DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4380.1.1

[PaleoIchthyology • 2017] Tugenchromis pickfordi • A Stem-group Cichlid of the ‘East African Radiation’ from the upper Miocene of central Kenya

Tugenchromis pickfordi
 Altner, Schliewen, Penk & Reichenbacher, 2017

The highly diverse tropical freshwater fish family Cichlidae is sparsely represented in the fossil record. Here we describe the new cichlid †Tugenchromis pickfordi, gen. et sp. nov., from the Upper Miocene (9–10 Ma) of central Kenya. The new taxon possesses a unique combination of characters, including six lateral line foramina on the lacrimal, three lateral line segments, cycloid scales, and a low number of vertebrae (29), dorsal fin spines (13), and dorsal soft rays (9). Its lacrimal morphology and tripartite lateral line suggest an affinity with the present-day Lake Tanganyika tribes Ectodini and Limnochromini, and thus with members of the ‘East African Radiation’ among the African cichlids. To further elucidate the relationships of †T. pickfordi, we used a comprehensive comparative data set comprising meristic data from all present-day tribes of the ‘East African Radiation.’ Principal coordinates analyses support links between the fossil and Ectodini + Limnochromini, and additionally with modern Haplochromini. We conclude that †T. pickfordi could be an extinct lineage within the ‘most ancient Tanganyika tribes,’ or a stem lineage of the ‘ancient Tanganyika mouthbrooders.’ A direct relationship to the Haplochromini is unlikely because its members do not exhibit the derived characteristics of the lacrimal as seen in †T. pickfordi. Because Lake Tanganyika is located in the western branch of the East African Rift System, †T. pickfordi from the eastern branch supports the ‘melting-pot Tanganyika hypothesis,’ which posits that the cichlids of modern Lake Tanganyika are derived from riverine lineages that had already diversified prior to the lake formation.

FIGURE 2. †Tugenchromis pickfordi, gen. et sp. nov. A1–A2, holotype in part (OCO-5-35) and counterpart (OCO-5-22); A3, right lateral view of the specimen (shading refers to ribs from the left side of the specimen);

Abbreviations: cl, cleithrum; cor, coracoid; ep, epural; hs, hemal spine; hyp, hypural plate; lac, lacrimal; nlc, neurocranial lateral line canal; ns, neural spine; o, otolith; op, operculum; ph, parhypural; pha, pharyngeal teeth; ppc, postcleithrum; ptt, posttemporal; pu, preural centrum; rad, radials; sca, scapula; scl, supracleithrum; sop, suboperculum; us, urostyle; un1, uroneural 1; = , tubular lateral line scale; °, pitted lateral line scale. 

CICHLIDAE Bonaparte, 1835


Generic Diagnosis: Lateral line on the trunk divided into three segments, two of which are posterior lateral lines. One posterior segment positioned ventrally, the other dorsally to the anterior lateral line segment. This is a condition not seen in any other cichlid genus.

Etymology: Tugen’ refers to the ‘Tugen Hills’ (named after the local people, i.e., the ‘Tugen,’ a subgroup of the Kalenjin ethnic group), in which the type locality of the new fossil taxon is located. The Greek word ‘Chromis’ (χρόμις) is a name used by the Ancient Greek and was applied to various fish. It is a common second element in cichlid genus names. Tugenchromis is masculine.

Type Species: Tugenchromis pickfordi, sp. nov.


Holotype: OCO-5-22/35, partially complete skeleton in part and counterpart (Fig. 2A1–A3), approximately 60 mm total length, 33.5 mm body length.

Etymology: Species named in honor of the paleontologist Martin Pickford in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the geology and paleontology of East Africa.

Locality, Horizon, and Age: Outcrop Waril in Central Kenya; Ngorora Formation, Member E; late Miocene (9–10 Ma) (see Rasmussen et al., 2017).

Based on lacrimal morphology and meristic data derived from all present-day cichlids of the ‘East African Radiation,’ we propose that the newly discovered cichlid fossil from the upper Miocene of Central Kenya either represents a stem lineage of the ‘ancient Tanganyika mouthbrooders’ or an extinct lineage within the ‘most ancient Tanganyika tribes.’ This result implies that the use of a comprehensive set of comparative material derived from extant cichlids may make it possible to phylogenetically place other fossil cichlids with greater confidence in future studies.

Apart from a lower Miocene cichlid from Uganda (‘cf. Pelmatochromis spp.’), none of the previously described fossil cichlid taxa from Africa, Arabia, and Europe possess distinctive similarities to †T. pickfordi. This indicates that the Ngorora fish Lagerstätte in Central Kenya may provide an unrivalled window into the evolutionary history of African cichlids, particularly into the origin of the ‘East African Radiation,’ i.e., the megadiversity of the present-day cichlids in Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi, and Lake Victoria.

Furthermore, the new fossil provides additional support for the presence of an ancient east-west connection (e.g., proto-Malagarasi River) between the Central Kenya Rift and Lake Tanganyika, which is consistent with previous assumptions regarding the hydrological networks across East and Central Africa during the Miocene.

Melanie Altner, Ulrich K. Schliewen, Stefanie B. R. Penk and Bettina Reichenbacher. 2017 . †Tugenchromis pickfordi, gen. et sp. nov., from the upper Miocene—A Stem-group Cichlid of the ‘East African Radiation’. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 37(2); e1297819. DOI:  10.1080/02724634.2017.1297819

Sunday, February 18, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Hyperolius stictus • A New Reed Frog (Hyperoliidae: Hyperolius) from coastal northeastern Mozambique

Hyperolius stictus 
Conradie, Verburgt, Portik, Ohler, Bwong & Lawson, 2018


A new species of African reed frog (genus Hyperolius Rapp, 1842) is described from the Coastal Forests of the Eastern Africa Biodiversity Hotspot in northeastern Mozambique. It is currently only known from less than ten localities associated with the Mozambican coastal pans system, but may also occur in the southeastern corner of Tanzania. Phylogenetic reconstructions using the mitochondrial 16S marker revealed that it is the sister taxon of Hyperolius mitchelli (>5.6% 16S mtDNA sequence divergence) and forms part of a larger H. mitchelli complex with H. mitchelli and H. rubrovermiculatus. The new species is distinguished from other closely related Hyperolius species by genetic divergence, morphology, vocalisation, and dorsal colouration.

Keywords: Amphibia, Amphibian, endemic, coastal pans

 Werner Conradie, Luke Verburgt, Daniel M. Portik, Annemarie Ohler, Beryl A. Bwong and Lucinda P. Lawson. 2018. A New Reed Frog (Hyperoliidae: Hyperolius) from coastal northeastern Mozambique. Zootaxa. 4379(2); 177–198.   DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4379.2.2

[Paleontology • 2018] The Nemegt Basin — One of the Best Field Laboratories for Interpreting Late Cretaceous Terrestrial Ecosystems

A herd of Saurolophus angustirostris moves along a river bank after a storm in the Cretaceous Nemegt Basin. The feet of the large herbivores sink into the soft sediment crushing the skull of a Tarbosaurus bataar that was lying in the mud.

 Illustration based on specimen MPC-D107/05 collected at the Nemegt locality (Nemegt Formation) and discovered by J.Ed. Horton. Artwork by Davide Bonadonna.

Fanti, Bell, Currie & Tsogtbaatar, 2018. 
  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 494

• The Nemegt Basin is perhaps the most important fossil-bearing region of Mongolia.
• The unique fossils of Mongolia have sparked an explosion of illegal fossil poaching in the country.
• We introduce multidisciplinary methodologies to understand the Cretaceous Nemegt ecosystem.
• We discuss biotic response to local and large-scale Nemegt paleocological dynamics.

 Keywords: Mongolia, Late Cretaceous, Paleoecology, Stratigraphy, Vertebrate paleontology

Fig. 1: A herd of Saurolophus angustirostris moves along a river bank after a storm in the Cretaceous Nemegt Basin. The feet of the large herbivores sink into the soft sediment crushing the skull of a Tarbosaurus bataar that was lying in the mud. Illustration based on specimen MPC-D107/05 collected at the Nemegt locality (Nemegt Formation) and discovered by J.Ed. Horton.
Artwork by Davide Bonadonna. 

  Federico Fanti, Phil R. Bell, Philip J. Currie and Khishigjav Tsogtbaatar. 2018. The Nemegt Basin — One of the Best Field Laboratories for Interpreting Late Cretaceous Terrestrial Ecosystems [Dedicated to Ryszard Gradziński, Ivan Antonovĭc Efremov, and Demchig Badamgarav whose pioneer work unraveled the unique Late Cretaceous Nemegt ecosystems.]. [in Federico Fanti, Phil Bell, Philip Currie and Khishigjav Tsogtbaatar (eds.). 2018. The Late Cretaceous Nemegt Ecosystem: Diversity, Ecology, and Geological Signature.Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 494; 1-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.07.014