Sunday, December 31, 2017

[Mammalogy • 2017] Typhlomys chapensis • A Blind Climber: The First Evidence of Ultrasonic Echolocation in Arboreal Mammals

Typhlomys chapensis Osgood, 1932

Panyutina, Kuznetsov, Volodin, et al., 2017.

 The means of orientation is studied in the Vietnamese pygmy dormouse Typhlomys chapensis, a poorly known enigmatic semi-fossorial semi-arboreal rodent. Data on eye structure are presented, which prove that Typhlomys (translated as "the blind mouse") is incapable of object vision – the retina is folded and retains no more than 2 500 ganglion cells in the focal plane, and the optic nerve is subject to gliosis. Hence, Typhlomys has no other means for rapid long-range orientation among tree branches other than echolocation. Ultrasonic vocalization recordings at the frequency range of 50-100 kHz support this hypothesis. The vocalizations are represented by bouts of up to 7 more or less evenly-spaced and uniform frequency-modulated sweep-like pulses in rapid succession. Structurally, these sweeps are similar to frequency-modulated ultrasonic echolocation calls of some bat species, but they are too faint to be revealed with a common bat detector. When recording video simultaneously with the ultrasonic audio, a significantly greater pulse rate during locomotion compared to that of resting animals has been demonstrated. Our findings of locomotion-associated ultrasonic vocalization in a fast-climbing but weakly-sighted small mammal ecotype add support to the "echolocation-first theory" of pre-flight origin of echolocation in bats.

 Key words: ultrasonic echolocation, locomotor behaviour, arboreal locomotion, reduced eyes, Typhlomys, Rodentia

Figure 1 Vietnamese pygmy dormouse Typhlomys chapensis. Its reduced eyes are reflected in the generic name, which means “the blind mouse.”

Concluding remarks. The major limitations of our study were the small number of live individuals to experiment with and the poor quality of dead specimens for histology. This is due to the extreme rarity of the Vietnamese pygmy dormouse, or "blind mouse" in nature. That is why our conclusions, though rather convincing, are still preliminary. Additional research is required to describe in detail the acoustic patterns of ultrasonic pulses and bouts in Typhlomys and to compare them with the known acoustics of bats and with non-echolocation ultrasonic calls of other rodents. A remaining question is the mechanism of signal production – is it located in the larynx? and is the animal entirely incapable to communicate in the human-audible range indeed? It will be of interest to investigate the degree of eye degeneration and development of echolocation in a closely related and very similar species, the Chinese pygmy dormouse – Typhlomys cinereus.

Aleksandra A. Panyutina, Alexander N. Kuznetsov, Ilya A. Volodin, Alexey V. Abramov and Irina B. Soldatova. 2017. A Blind Climber: The First Evidence of Ultrasonic Echolocation in Arboreal Mammals. Integrative Zoology. 12(2); 172–184.  DOI: 10.1111/1749-4877.12249

 Video: Blind mouse navigates like a bat

An echolocating dormouse could reveal the origins of one of nature's coolest superpowers  @SmithsonianMag
Rare rodent is the first tree-climbing mammal known to echolocate like a bat | MNN

[Botany • 2017] Cypripedium × fred-mulleri • First Guatemalan Record of Natural Hybridisation between Neotropical Species of the Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Orchidaceae, Cypripedioideae)

Cypripedium × fred-mulleri  Szlach., Kolan. & Górniak

in Szlachetko, Kolanowska, Muller, Vannini, Rojek & Górniak​, 2017


The first natural hybrid in the section Irapeana of the orchid genus Cypripedium is described and illustrated based on Guatemalan material. A molecular evaluation of the discovery is provided. Specimens with intermediate flowers between C. irapeanum and C. dickinsonianum within ITS and Xdh sequences have the signal sequence of both these species. The analysis of plastid sequences indicated that the maternal line is C. irapeanum. Information about the ecology, embryology and conservation status of the novelty is given, together with a distribution map of its parental species, C. irapeanum and C. dickinsonianum. A discussion of the hybridization between Cypripedium species is presented. The potential hybrid zones between the representatives of Cypripedium section Irapeana which were estimated based on the results of ecological niche modeling analysis are located in the Maya Highlands (C. dickinsonianum and C. irapeanum) and the eastern part of Southern Sierra Madre (C. molle and C. irapeanum). Moreover, all three Cypripedium species could inhabit Cordillera Neovolcánica according to the obtained models; however, it should be noticed that this region is well-distanced from the edges of the known geographical range of C. molle.

 Figure 10: Flowers of Cypripedium. Cypripedium dickinsonianum (A), C. irapeanum (B) and Cypripedium × fred-mulleri   (C). Photos by F Muller. 

Figure 9: Habit of  Cypripedium × fred-mulleri.  Photo by F Muller. 

Figure 9: Comparison of the habit of Cypripedium dickinsonianum (A), C. irapeanum (B)
Photos by F Muller. 

Taxonomic treatment
Due to the detection of gene flow between C. dickinsonianum and C. irapeanum and mixed morphological characters of the population discovered by Mr Muller in Guatemala we decided to describe it as the first, natural hybrid in the section Irapeana under the name Cypripedium × fred-mulleri.

Cypripedium × fred-mulleri Szlach., Kolan. & Górniak, hybr. nov.

Diagnosis: Cypripedium × fred-mulleri is characterized by having flowers 5.2–7 cm across, elliptic, acute dorsal sepal, oblong-elliptic, obtuse petals, deeply saccate, obovoid-globose lip and trullate, acute staminode. It differs from C. irapeanum in its smaller flowers, deeper color (closer to C. dickinsonianum), density of windows on the lip, and form of dorsal sepal and petal apex. From C. dickinsonianum it is distinguished, inter alia, by the shape of the staminode and lip as well as by the petal form.

Type: Guatemala, Alta Verapaz. South of Cobán. 30 May 2013. F. Muller s.n. (BIGU! 309 holotype). UGDA-DLSz! - drawing of type, photos.

 Etymology: Dedicated to the discoverer of this hybrid, Fred Muller.

Distribution: Known so far to be exclusively from the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz. Due to the vulnerability of populations of C. irapeanum, C. dickinsonianum and C. × fred-mulleri to illicit harvesting, the exact locality is not given. The known localities of C. irapeanum are distributed from Central Mexico to Guatemala and Honduras while the currently known range of C. dickinsonianum is discontinuous, extending from eastern Chiapas (México), through the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes and the Sierra de Chamá to the central Honduran uplands (although herbarium vouchers are currently lacking Dix & Dix, 2000). Figure 8.

Ecology: The hybrid population was found on a south-oriented limestone hillside at an altitude of about 1,500 m. The plants grow in an open, seasonally dry pine-oak forest with Brahea dulcis (Kunth) Mart. (Arecaceae) and species of Agave L. (Asparagaceae). Other terrestrial orchid species occurring in this area are: Cyrtopodium punctatum (L.) Lindl., Stenorrhynchos pubens (A. Rich. & Galeotti) Schltr. and Dichromanthus cinnabarinus (La Llave & Lex.) Garay. Moreover, two species of Bletia Ruiz & Pav. have been reported from this location. The hybrid plants begin blooming in mid-May, at the beginning of the rainy season. The flowers have been observed as late as at the end of July, which is the beginning of the flowering season for both C. irapeanum and C. dickinsonianum in nearby colonies. Field observations in 2013 suggested that the population might have benefited from a recent wild fire, as a significant increase in the number of flowering specimens had previously been recorded in the season following a fire at the locality.

Dariusz L. Szlachetko, Marta Kolanowska, Fred Muller, Jay Vannini, Joanna Rojek and Marcin Górniak​. 2017.   First Guatemalan Record of Natural Hybridisation between Neotropical Species of the Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Orchidaceae, Cypripedioideae). PeerJ. 5:e4162.  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.4162


[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

Friday, December 29, 2017

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

Goggia matzikamaensis
Heinicke, Turk & Bauer, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Botany • 2017] Taxonomic Revision of Rhodalsine (Caryophyllaceae): A Plant that Linnaeus Forgot

Rhodalsine geniculata  (Poir.) F. N. Williams

in Kool & Thulin. 2017.

The mainly Mediterranean genus Rhodalsine (Caryophyllaceae) is revised and a single species, R. geniculata, is recognized, distributed from the Canary Islands in the west to Somalia in the east. The history of the taxon, which was known already during the 17th century but entirely overlooked by Linnaeus, is outlined. Variation and taxonomy are discussed and illustrations and a distribution map are provided. Many names are placed in synonymy and most of the names are typified, including six lectotypes designated here.

Keywords: Caryophyllaceae, Mediterranean region, Minuartia, nomenclature, Rhodalsine, Sperguleae, taxonomy, typification

Fig. 1. Flowers of Rhodalsine geniculata from Spain, Lagunas de La Mata, Torrevieja, April 2012

 photograph by Marta Rubio-Texeira.

Rhodalsine J. Gay in Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot., sér. 3, 4: 25. 1845 
= Alsine sect. Rhodalsine (J. Gay) Boiss., Fl. Orient. 1: 671. 1867 
= Minuartia subg. Rhodalsine (J. Gay) Graebn. in Ascherson & Graebner, Syn. Mitteleur. Fl. 5(1): 774. 1918. 

— Type: Rhodalsine procumbens (Vahl) J. Gay, nom. illeg. superfl. (=Arenaria procumbens Vahl).

Description — Herbs perennial or sometimes annual, with indumentum of glandular hairs. Leaves opposite, without stipules, but leaves of each pair with shortly connate bases. Flowers in lax cymes. Sepals 5, connate at base into a short hypanthium. Petals 5, pink or white, inserted at apex of hypanthium, shortly clawed at base. Stamens 10, in 2 whorls, those of outer whorl inserted at base of petals, those of inner whorl antisepalous, inserted on a low, ring-shaped rim surrounding base of ovary; pollen trizonocolpate. Ovary shortly stipitate, subglobose, thin-walled; styles 3, filiform. Capsule opening by 3 valves. Seeds many, orbicular-reniform, wingless; radicle of embryo accumbent. Chromosome base number x = 9.

Distribution — A genus of a single variable species distributed in the Canary Islands, around the Mediterranean and in the Horn of Africa region.

Rhodalsine geniculata (Poir.) F. N. Williams in Bull. Herb. Boissier 6:7.1898
 ≡ Arenaria geniculata Poir., Voy. Barbarie 2: 166. 1789 
Alsine geniculata (Poir.) Strobl in Oesterr. Bot. Z. 35: 212. 1885 
Minuartia geniculata (Poir.) Thell. in Mém. Soc. Sci. Nat. Cherbourg 38: 232. 1912 
Cherleria geniculata (Poir.) Samp., Lista Herb. Portug.: 82. 1913. 

— Holotype: without locality, [Poiret] s.n. (P-LA! [P00287174]).

Distribution and ecology — Rhodalsine geniculata is known from Portugal, Spain (including the Canary Islands, Melilla and the Balearic Islands), Gibraltar, Italy (including Sardinia, Sicily, Pantellaria and Linosa), Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Somalia (Fig. 3). It occurs in sandy, stony or rocky places from near sea level up to 2050 m. In most of its range it is found at elevations below 600–700 m and it is often confined to habitats on or close to sea shores. However, in Morocco the species is also found at elevations up to about 1500 m in the Atlas Mountains, whereas in Somalia the known altitudinal range is 1350–2050 m.

Anneleen Kool and Mats Thulin. 2017. A Plant that Linnaeus Forgot: Taxonomic Revision of Rhodalsine (Caryophyllaceae). Willdenowia. 47(3);  317–323.  DOI: 10.3372/wi.47.47313

[Arachnida • 2017] Desis bobmarleyi • A New Spider (Araneae, Desidae) from Coral Reefs in Australia’s Sunshine State and its Relative from Sāmoa

Desis bobmarleyi  
Baehr, Raven & Harms, 2017 

Spiders of the genus Desis Walckenaer, 1837 (Araneae: Desidae) are water-adapted spiders and live in the intertidal zone on reefs, marine debris and under rocks. Here, we describe a new intertidal species from tropical Queensland and name it after Bob Marley, whose song “High Tide or Low Tide” inspired us as it lives in a “high tide low tide” habitat. We also re-describe a close morphological relative, Desis vorax L. Koch, 1872 from Sāmoa. This species was described some 150 years ago from the Godeffroy Collection which holds the oldest major collection of Australasian and Pacific spiders, now mainly hosted in the Centre of Natural History in Hamburg (CeNak). A third species, Desis hartmeyeri Simon, 1909, was described from juvenile specimens only and is considered a nomen dubium.

“None but ourselves can free our minds.” Bob Marley, Redemption Song (1980).

Key Words: Taxonomy, systematics, new species, Bob Marley, intertidal, spiders, Australia, Pacific

Figure 1. Life image of Desis bobmarleyi sp. n. female allotype
 (Photo: R. Raven). 

Desis bobmarleyi male holotype
 (photo: R. Raven)

Family DESIDAE Pocock, 1895
Subfamily Desinae Pocock, 1895

Desis Walckenaer, 1837

Desis bobmarleyi sp. n.

Etymology: The specific name is a patronym in honour of Bob Marley, an internationally renowned Jamaican Reggae singer and songwriter.

Common name: We propose Bob Marley’s Intertidal Spider as a common name.

Diagnosis: Males of Desis bobmarleyi sp. n. resemble D. kenyonae, D. marina and D. vorax in having a broad, semicircular conductor with a retrolateral conductor plate, a hood-shaped DTA and a spine-like MTA but can be separated from these by having a broadly triangular conductor plate (CP), a stout conductor tip and an indented hood–shaped tip of the retrodistal apophysis (DTA) (Figs 3E, 7A, B). Females of Desis bobmarleyi sp. n. share the long convoluted copulatory ducts but have them arranged spherical not longitudinal (Fig. 7D).

Distribution: Known from intertidal zones of the Great Barrier Reef at the north-eastern coast of Queensland: Australia’s “Sunshine State”. The exact distribution range along the coastline of Australia is still unknown.

Figure 2. Locality and life images of Desis bobmarleyi sp. n.:
A, beach near Port Douglas high tide; B, same low tide; C, Desis bobmarleyi sp. n. on coral at low tide (photo: Paul Hoye); D, Desis bobmarleyi male holotype (photo: R. Raven).

 Barbara C. Baehr, Robert Raven and Danilo Harms. 2017. “High Tide or Low Tide”: Desis bobmarleyi sp. n., A New Spider from Coral Reefs in Australia’s Sunshine State and its Relative from Sāmoa (Araneae, Desidae, Desis). Evolutionary Systematics. 1; 111-120.  DOI: 10.3897/evolsyst.1.15735
New species of marine spider emerges at low tide to remind scientists of Bob Marley via @physorg_com


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

Spathoglottis jetsuniae N.Gyeltshen, K.Tobgyel & Dalström

Gyeltshen, Tobgyel & Daltröm, 2017


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

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

Figure 5. The striking flowers of Spathoglottis jetsuniae.

 Photo by Nima Gyeltshen

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

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

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

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

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

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


[Ichthyology • 2017] A Revision of the Grunter Genus Syncomistes (Teleostei, Terapontidae) with Descriptions of Seven New Species from the Kimberley region, northwestern Australia

Syncomistes versicolor 

Shelley, Delaval & Le Feuvre, 2017


The systematics of the genus Syncomistes Vari, 1978 endemic to freshwater habitats of remote northwestern Australia, is reviewed in light of recent collections in the region and a fine scale molecular study of the group that identified new taxa. Based primarily on external morphology, seven taxa are described as new: Syncomistes bonapartensis sp. nov., S. carcharus sp. nov., S. dilliensis sp. nov., S. holsworthi sp. nov., S. moranensis sp. nov., S. wunambal sp. nov. and S. versicolor sp. nov. The species complexes Syncomistes butleri Vari, 1978 and S. trigonicus Vari, 1978 are resolved and redescribed, and S. kimberleyensis Vari, 1978 and S. rastellus Vari & Hutchins, 1978 are redescribed based on juvenile and adult specimens. Finally, a neotype is provided for S. trigonicus sensu stricto in place of the destroyed holotype. Meristic and morphometric data are collected and analysed for the entire genus. Syncomistes have a broad range of meristic and morphometric character differences between species, and juveniles and adults, as well as variations in colour. The head, particularly feeding structures such as the jaw and dentition, were found to be the most important morphological features in discriminating between taxa. Some characters undergo distinct ontogenetic shifts in form, which are discussed. Of note, four of the new species, and seven from the entire genus, are narrow-range endemics, each found in single river systems, and are thus of conservation concern.

Keywords: Pisces, Cryptic species, sympatric, range-restricted, freshwater, biodiversity, taxonomy, systematics, neotype

• Syncomistes butleri Vari, 1978  
• Syncomistes kimberleyensis Vari, 1978  
• Syncomistes rastellus Vari & Hutchins, 1978 
• Syncomistes trigonicus Vari, 1978  

• Syncomistes bonapartensis, new species
English vernacular name: Lake Bonaparte Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name bonapartensis refers to the distribution of the species that is confined to drainages that once flowed into the paleolake, Lake Bonaparte.

• Syncomistes carcharus, new species
English vernacular name: Sharp-toothed Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name carcharus is Latin for sharp teeth, and refers to the robustpointed teeth of the species, relative to other Syncomistes.

• Syncomistes dilliensis, new species
English vernacular name: Dillie Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name dilliensis refers to the type locality, Dillie Gorge, on the Charnley River, Western Australia.

• Syncomistes holsworthi, new species
 English vernacular name: Holsworth’s Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name holsworthi honors Bill Holsworth whose foundation financed the expedition on which this species was found, as well as providing ongoing support for doctoral research into the ecology, management and natural history of Australian wildlife.

• Syncomistes moranensis, new species
English vernacular name: Moran Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name moranensis refers to the type locality, the Moran River, which is also the only known location of the species.

• Syncomistes versicolor, new species
English vernacular name: The Many-coloured Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name versicolor is Latin for many-coloured and refers to the distinct changes in the colour of the species at different stages in its ontogeny.

• Syncomistes wunambal, new species
 English vernacular name: Wunambal Grunter.

Etymology: Named wunambal, to be treated as a noun in apposition, for the Wunambal tribe and language group from the Mitchell River area, in which the fish is found.

James J. Shelley, Aurélien Delaval and Matthew C. Le Feuvre. 2017. A Revision of the Grunter Genus Syncomistes (Teleostei, Terapontidae) with Descriptions of Seven New Species from the Kimberley region, northwestern Australia. Zootaxa. 4367(1); 1–103.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4367.1.1

We discovered 20 new fish in northern Australia – now we need to protect them  @ConversationEDU

[Entomology • 2017] Thyridosmylus fuscomarginatus & T. longiprocessus • Two New Species of Thyridosmylus Krüger, 1913 (Neuroptera, Osmylidae) from Madagascar

Thyridosmylus longiprocessus Xu, Wang & Winterton, 2017

in Xu, Winterton, Wang, Liu, 2017. 

The lance lacewing genus Thyridosmylus Krüger (Osmylidae: Spilosmylinae) is found in Madagascar and Southeast Asia. Two new Malagasy species are described herein, Thyridosmylus fuscomarginatus Xu, Wang & Winterton, sp. n., and Thyridosmylus longiprocessus Xu, Wang & Winterton, sp. n. A key to differentiate the Malagasy species of Thyridosmylus is provided.

Keywords: lacewing, Malagasy species, Osmylidae

Figure 1. Wings of Thyridosmylus fuscomarginatus Xu, Wang & Winterton, sp. n.
Abbreviations: ng, nygmata; pt, pterostigma; og, outer gradates. Scale bar: 0.5 mm. 

Thyridosmylus fuscomarginatus Xu, Wang & Winterton, sp. n.

Diagnosis: Pronotum light yellow with three longitudinal dark brown stripes; posterior margin of forewing with brown markings, branches of vein A1 marked with a dark brown spot, area around outer gradate cross-veins fenestrate with pale venation; sternite 8 in female reduced, extending anteriorly to form a forward process in lateral view; spermatheca complex with 11–12 sacs, basal sac large.

Etymology: The specific name “fuscomarginatus”, a compound from Latin fusco- (fuscus) and marginatus- (margin), in reference to the colour and pattern of markings on the outer and posterior margin of forewings.

Distribution: Madagascar (Antsiranana, Mahajanga)

Remarks: The forewings markings of Thyridosmylus fuscomarginatus sp. n. are characteristic, clearly differed from other Thyridosmylus species by the dark posteromarginal stripe.

Figure 3. Wings of Thyridosmylus longiprocessus Xu, Wang & Winterton, sp. n. Scale bar: 0.5 mm.

Thyridosmylus longiprocessus Xu, Wang & Winterton, sp. n.

Diagnosis: Frons brown with two dark brown markings; forewing hyaline, basal half with two brown stripes; male genitalia with ectoproct bearing a long dorsal rod-like process; distal part of gonarcus with abundant pilosity; basal part of mediuncus laterally with heart-shaped structures in dorsal view; spermatheca complex, with 13 sacs, basal one small and oval.

Etymology: Thve specific name “longiprocessus”, a compound from Latin longi- (long) and processus (process), which refers to the long dorsal process of ectoproct in male.

Distribution: Madagascar (Fianarantsoa).

Remarks: The male genitalia are not well sclerotized probably because it was teneral when it was collected. The sternite 8 in T. longiprocessus sp. n. is reduced into a sclerite without processes and the spermatheca is complex, consisting of 13 sacs, of which, the basal one is small and oval. Moreover, the dorsal process of ectoproct in male is quite long, clearly distinguished from other Thyridosmylus species, in which it is inconspicuous when it is observed in lateral view.

 Han Xu, Shaun L. Winterton, Yongjie Wang, Zhiqi Liu. 2017. Two New Species of Thyridosmylus Krüger, 1913 from Madagascar (Neuroptera, Osmylidae). ZooKeys. 724; 43-52.  DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.724.21057

[Ichthyology • 2017] Chrysiptera burtjonesi • A New Species of Damselfish (Chrysiptera: Pomacentridae) from Coral Reefs of the Solomon Islands

Chrysiptera burtjonesi 
 Allen, Erdmann & Cahyani, 2017 

Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. 28


A sixth member of the Chrysiptera oxycephala group of Pomacentridae, Chrysiptera burtjonesi n. sp., is described on the basis of 24 specimens, 20.5–48.2 mm SL, collected at the Solomon Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It differs from other members of the group, including C. ellenae (Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua Province in Indonesia), C. maurinae (Cenderawasih Bay, West Papua Province), C. oxycephala (central Indonesia, Philippines, and Palau), C. papuensis (northeastern Papua New Guinea), and C. sinclairi (Bismarck Archipelago and islands off northeastern Papua New Guinea), on the basis of its distinctive color pattern and a 6.9% divergence in the sequence of the mitochondrial control region from its closest relative (C. maurineae). Adults are primarily grayish brown to greenish except bright yellow on the ventralmost head and body, including the adjacent pelvic and anal fins. Juveniles are mostly neon blue to dark blue with bright yellow pelvic and anal fins. In addition, it is the only species besides C. sinclairi that usually lacks embedded scales on the preorbital and suborbital bones.

Figure 2. Chrysiptera burtjonesi, Solomon Islands, underwater photographs:
A) juvenile, approx. 12 mm SL, B) juvenile, approx. 20 mm SL, C) subadult, approx. 35 mm SL, D) adult, approx. 45 mm SL (G.R. Allen).

Chrysiptera burtjonesi, n. sp. 
Burt’s Damselfish

Diagnosis. A species of the pomacentrid genus Chrysiptera with the following combination of characters: dorsal-fin rays XIII,11 (rarely 10 or 12); anal-fin rays II,12 (rarely 13); pectoral-fin rays 15 (14–16); gill rakers on first branchial arch 9–11+20–22, total gill rakers 29–32; tubed lateral-line scales 13–16 (usually 14–15); preorbital+suborbital scales usually absent, occasionally 1–3 embedded scales present; color of adult overall grayish brown to greenish (sometimes with neon blue/green transverse streak on each scale) with translucent to pale greenish fins, except bright yellow ventrally on head, body, and adjacent anal and pelvic fins, a broad yellow band from base of first few dorsal-fin spines to outer edge of last dorsal-fin spine; juvenile neon blue on head, most of body (above diagonal line from pelvic-fin base to base of uppermost caudal-fin ray), and dorsal fin, remainder of body and adjacent fins bright yellow.

Figure 3. Chrysiptera burtjonesi, underwater photograph, approx. 40 mm SL, Russell Group, Solomon Islands.
Figure 2. Chrysiptera burtjonesi, Solomon Islands, underwater photographs: A) juvenile, approx. 12 mm SL, B) juvenile, approx. 20 mm SL.
photos: G.R. Allen

Etymology. This species is named in honor of photographer and underwater guide par excellence Burt Jones of Sequim, Washington, USA. Burt and his partner Maurine Shimlock were pioneers for the promotion of dive tourism at the Solomon Islands and, more recently, have been instrumental in the tremendous popularity of the West Papuan region by means of their excellent underwater guidebook to the area and creation of the highly informative Bird’s Head Seascape website (

Distribution. The new species is known only from the Solomon Islands. It was collected or observed by the authors at the following islands and reefs: Isabel, Choiseul, Makira, Malaita and nearby Alite Reef, Shortland Islands, New Georgia Group, Russell Group, and the Florida Group.

Gerald R. Allen, Mark V. Erdmann and N.K. Dita Cahyani. 2017. A New Species of Damselfish (Chrysiptera: Pomacentridae) from Coral Reefs of the Solomon Islands.   Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. 28; 10–21.


[Crustacea • 2017] Acanthodromia margarita & Pariphiculus stellatus • Notes On Two Crabs (Brachyura, Dynomenidae and Iphiculidae) Collected from Red Coral Beds in northern Taiwan

Pariphiculus stellatus  Ng & Jeng, 2017

Two brachyuran species of the families Dynonemidae and Iphiculidae are reported from red coral beds in northern Taiwan. The dynonemid Acanthodromia margarita (Alcock, 1899) has hitherto been reported from the Andaman Sea, Japan, and Philippines and the species is here recorded for the first time from Taiwan. A new species of iphiculid, Pariphiculus stellatus sp. n., is also described. The new Pariphiculus, which also occurs in the Philippines, is superficially similar to P. agariciferus Ihle, 1918, a species known from Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, South China Sea, Taiwan, and Vanuatu, but can be distinguished by distinct carapace, pleonal and male first gonopod features.

Keywords: Brachyuran crab, Dromioidea, East China Sea, Leucosioidea, new Pariphiculus species, taxonomy

Figure 1. Colour in life.
A, B Acanthodromia margarita (Alcock, 1899), female (17.8 × 18.3 mm) (ASIZ 75484), Taiwan C Acanthodromia margarita (Alcock, 1899), female (17.7 × 19.2 mm) (ZRC 2008.1420), Philippines
Pariphiculus agariciferus, Ihle, 1918, male (11.9 × 12.1 mm) (ZRC 2009.471), Vanuatu E, F Pariphiculus stellatus sp. n., holotype male (27.7 × 24.5 mm) (ASIZ 75485), Taiwan. A, C, D, E overall dorsal view; B, F ventral view.

Family Dynomenidae Ortmann, 1892
Genus Acanthodromia A. Milne-Edwards, 1880
Acanthodromia margarita (Alcock, 1899)

Family Iphiculidae Alcock, 1896
Genus Pariphiculus Alcock, 1896

Pariphiculus stellatus sp. n.

Etymology: The species is named after the prominent asteriform or “star-like” mushroom-shaped tubercles and granules on the carapace and chelipeds.

 Peter K. L. Ng and M.-S. Jeng. 2017. Notes On Two Crabs (Crustacea, Brachyura, Dynomenidae and Iphiculidae) Collected from Red Coral Beds in northern Taiwan, including A New Species of Pariphiculus Alcock, 1896ZooKeys. 694; 135-156. DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.694.14871

New species of crab with unusual outgrowths has its name written in the stars via @physorg_com