Thursday, December 14, 2017

[Ichthyology • 2017] Brachychalcinus reisi • A New Species of Brachychalcinus (Characiformes: Characidae) from the rio Xingu basin, Serra do Cachimbo, Brazil

Brachychalcinus reisi 
Garcia-Ayala, Ohara, Pastana & Benine, 2017


Brachychalcinus reisi, a new species of characid fish, is described from the rio Curuá, tributary of rio Iriri, rio Xingu basin, Serra do Cachimbo, Pará State, Brazil. The new species can be distinguished from its congeners by the presence of a series of longitudinal black wavy stripes on the entire body and by a lower number of longitudinal scale rows between dorsal-fin origin and lateral line (7–8 vs. 8–12). Additionally, the new species differs from B. copei, B. parnaibae, and B. retrospina by the lower number of branched dorsal-fin rays (9 vs.10). This is the first description of a new species of the subfamily since the revisionary study of Stethaprioninae, published almost 30 years ago.

Keywords: Pisces, Stethaprioninae, Neotropical region, freshwater fishes, taxonomy, Amazon

FIGURE 4. Brachychalcinus reisi, MZUSP 119456, paratype, 57.3 mm SL, Brazil, Pará, Altamira, rio Curuá, rio Xingu basin. 

Brachychalcinus reisi new species

Etymology. The specific name reisi is in honor of Roberto Esser dos Reis, for his great contributions to the knowledge of the Stethaprioninae and the Neotropical ichthyology as a whole. A genitive noun.  

  FIGURE 6. Type-locality of Brachychalcinus reisi, Brazil, Pará, Altamira, upper rio Curuá, rio Xingu basin.  

James R. Garcia-Ayala, Willian M. Ohara, Murilo N. L. Pastana and Ricardo C. Benine. 2017. A New Species of Brachychalcinus (Characiformes: Characidae) from the rio Xingu basin, Serra do Cachimbo, Brazil. Zootaxa. 4362(4); 564–574.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4362.4.5

[Diplopoda • 2017] Glyphiulus subbedosae & G. semicostulifer • Two New Species of the Millipede Genus Glyphiulus Gervais, 1847 (Spirostreptida, Cambalopsidae) from Laos

Glyphiulus subbedosae [a-b] & G. semicostulifer [c] 

 Likhitrakarn, Golovatch & Panha, 2017

in Likhitrakarn, Golovatch, Inkhavilay, Sutcharit, Srisonchai & Panha, 2017

Two new species of Glyphiulus are described and illustrated from northern Laos. The epigean Glyphiulus subbedosae Likhitrakarn, Golovatch & Panha, sp. n. is the second member of the granulatus-group to be found in that country and it seems to be especially similar to G. bedosae Golovatch, Geoffroy, Mauriès & VandenSpiegel, 2007. However, it differs from the latter species by a row of several strong setae near the median marginal ridge on the paraprocts, combined with the gnathochilarium being considerably less densely setose on the caudal face, and the anterior gonopods showing a pair of smaller, apical, but larger lateral teeth on the coxosternal plate. Glyphiulus semicostulifer Likhitrakarn, Golovatch & Panha, sp. n. is the fourth member of the javanicus-group to be discovered in Laos, taken from a cave. It seems to be particularly similar to G. costulifer Golovatch, Geoffroy, Mauriès & VandenSpiegel, 2007, but is distinguished by the more sparsely alveolate background fine structure of the metazonae, coupled with the gnathochilarium being considerably less densely setose on the caudal face, much stronger paramedian prongs and 4-segmented telopodites on ♂ coxae 1, the slightly longer and more slender apicoparamedian sternal projections on the anterior gonopods, and the much longer flagella of the posterior gonopods. An identification key to and a distribution map of Glyphiulus species in Laos are also presented.

Keywords: Cave, forest, Glyphiulus, key, Laos, map, millipede, new species

Figure 1. Habitus, live coloration.
 A, B Glyphiulus subbedosae sp. n., ♀ paratype from Kacham Waterfall, depicted not to scale
C, D Glyphiulus semicostulifer sp. n.
, ♀ paratype. Scale bars: 10 mm.

A, B Glyphiulus subbedosae sp. n., ♀ paratype from Kacham Waterfall, depicted not to scale 

Family Cambalidae Cook, 1895

Genus Glyphiulus Gervais, 1847

Glyphiulus subbedosae Likhitrakarn, Golovatch & Panha, sp. n.

Etymology: To emphasize the obvious similarities to G. bedosae Golovatch, Geoffroy, Mauriès & VandenSpiegel, 2007.

Diagnosis: This new species is particularly similar to G. bedosae, with which it shares the following diagnostic characters: the presence of a row of several strong setae near the median marginal ridge on the paraprocts, combined with the gnathochilarium being considerably less densely setose on the caudal face, and the anterior gonopods showing a pair of smaller apical. It differs from G. bedosae primarily by the larger lateral teeth on the coxosternal plate. See also Key below.

Remarks: The granulatus-group currently encompasses 34 described species. The above new one is only the second species in this group to be reported from Laos. Two populations have been found, each from near a forest at a waterfall, and both show the remarkable colour pattern as described above.

C, D Glyphiulus semicostulifer sp. n., ♀ paratype. Scale bars: 10 mm.

Glyphiulus semicostulifer Likhitrakarn, Golovatch & Panha, sp. n.

Etymology: To emphasize the obvious similarities to G. costulifer Golovatch, Geoffroy, Mauriès & VandenSpiegel, 2007.

Diagnosis: This new species is particularly similar to G. costulifer, with which it shares the following diagnostic characters: the unique carinotaxy formulae, coupled with anterior gonopod structural details. It differs from G. costulifer by the more sparsely alveolate background fine structure of the metazonae, coupled with the gnathochilarium being considerably less densely setose on the caudal face, the paramedian coxal prongs on ♂ legs 1 much stronger and their telopodites 4-segmented, the apicoparamedian sternal projections on the anterior gonopods slightly longer and more slender, and the flagella of the posterior gonopods much longer. See also Key below.

Remark: The javanicus-group is currently comprised of 23 species, including this new species, a fourth in this group to be reported from Laos.

Most Glyphiulus species in Laos come from caves or surrounding areas, except for G. subbedosae sp. n. found epigeically near waterfalls. Several of the cave species show troglomorphic traits such as an unpigmented tegument and ocellaria (if any), combined with elongated antennae and legs (Golovatch et al. 2011a). The above two new species, however, are pigmented and have short antennae and legs, while the epigean G. subbedosae sp. n. presents a distinct colour pattern. Such characters are rather evidence of the cave-dweller G. semicostulifer sp. n. being only a troglophile likely to occur also outside caves. Usually only a single cambalopsid species is found per cave. The single exception known so far concerns two Plusioglyphiulus species, P. bedosae Golovatch, Geoffroy, Mauriès & VandenSpiegel, 2009 and P. pallidior Golovatch, Geoffroy, Mauriès & VandenSpiegel, 2009, coexisting in the same cave in Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia, but both these species differ so strikingly in body size that this alone strongly suggests niche segregation (Golovatch et al. 2009).

The diplopods of Laos are still poorly known, with only a small fraction of their diversity being assessed. There is little doubt that, with further progress in the study of the millipede fauna of Laos, both epigean and cavernicolous, many more novelties are to be expected. As regards the Cambalopsidae alone, we seem to have only touched the tip of the iceberg (Golovatch et al. 2007a).

 Natdanai Likhitrakarn, Sergei I. Golovatch, Khamla Inkhavilay, Chirasak Sutcharit, Ruttapon Srisonchai and Somsak Panha. 2017. Two New Species of the Millipede Genus Glyphiulus Gervais, 1847 from Laos (Diplopoda, Spirostreptida, Cambalopsidae). ZooKeys. 722; 1-18.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.722.21192

[Botany • 2017] Nervilia kasiensis • A New Terrestrial Orchid Endemic to Vientiane Province, northern Laos | Studies in Asian Nervilia (Orchidaceae) VII

Nervilia kasiensis  S.W.Gale & Phaxaysombath

Gale & Phaxaysombath, 2017.

A new species belonging to the terrestrial orchid genus Nervilia is described from Kasi District, Vientiane Province, northern Laos. Referable to the widespread and species-rich N. adolphi/punctata alliance on account of its solitary flower, slender white and violet-marked labellum and glabrous, angular leaf, Nervilia kasiensis is morphologically most closely allied to N. muratana of southern China and northern Vietnam. As in that species, the flowering and leafing phases overlap, an unusual feature among members of the genus. The new species can be distinguished from N. muratana by its shorter inflorescence, its weakly spreading perianth with beige sepals, its narrower labellum with a central pubescent strip on the epichile, its arched column, and by its faintly tessellated leaf. A morphological description, line drawing and notes on the species’ ecology and conservation status are presented.

Keywords: Hysteranthy; Laos; Orchidaceae; new species; species complex

Fig. 1  Nervilia kasiensis S.W.Gale & Phaxaysombath. 
a. Plants in leaf at the type locality in northwest Laos showing the faint silver-grey mottling on the adaxial surface; b. plant in flower showing the non-hysteranthous growth habit; c. close-up of inflorescence; d. lateral view of flower showing slightly saccate base of the lateral sepals; e. front view of flower showing the weakly spreading perianth. 

Nervilia kasiensis S.W.Gale & Phaxaysombath, sp. nov.  

Etymology. Named after Kasi District, northern Laos, in which this species was discovered.


 S.W. Gale and T. Phaxaysombath. 2017. Studies in Asian Nervilia (Orchidaceae) VII: Nervilia kasiensis, A New Lao Endemic.  Blumea - Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants.   62; 1–5. DOI:  10.3767/000651917X694732

[Arachnida • 2017] Daddy-long-leg Giants: Revision of the Spider Genus Artema Walckenaer, 1837 (Araneae, Pholcidae)

Artema nephilit 
Aharon, Huber & Gavish-Regev, 2017


This is the first revision of Artema Walckenaer, 1837, a genus consisting of large and phylogenetically interesting species. Even though Artema is not species-rich (now eight nominal species), it has suffered from poor descriptions and synonymies. Our main goal was to gather all available material and to clarify species limits. Four species are easily distinguished from other congeners: Artema atlanta Walckenaer, 1837, the type species; A. kochi Kulczyński, 1901 (revalidated); A. bunkpurugu Huber & Kwapong, 2013; and A. nephilit sp. nov. All other species are problematic for varying reasons: species limits are unclear between A. doriae Thorell, 1881 and A. transcaspica Spassky, 1934; A. magna Roewer, 1960 and A. ziaretana (Roewer, 1960) are problematic because they are based on female and juvenile types respectively and little new material is available. The material available to us suggests the existence of a few further species; however, they are not formally described, either because of small sample sizes (Artema sp. a and A. sp. b are represented by only one specimen each) or because of unclear species limits (between Artema sp. c, A. transcaspica and A. doriae).This study is the first serious step towards understanding the genus. Intensive collecting effort is needed in order to fully clarify species limits.

Keywords: key; Middle East; Pholcidae; taxonomy

Figs 3–8. Live specimens and habitats.
  3. Artema atlanta Walckenaer, 1837 from Thailand, Ratchaburi.
 45. A. nephilit sp. nov. from Israel. 6. Typical Artema web mass, in a cave in Petra, Jordan. 78. Caves populated by Artema nephilit sp. nov.: Oren Cave, Mount Karmel (7) and caves in the Eilat Mountains (8), Israel.

 Photos: B. A. Huber (3–4, 6–8), S. Aharon (5). 

Class Arachnida Cuvier, 1812
Order Araneae Clerck, 1757

Family Pholcidae C.L. Koch, 1851

Artema Walckenaer, 1837

Artema Walckenaer, 1837: 656; 
type species: Artema atlanta (by subsequent monotypy).

Coroia González-Sponga, 2005: 102; 
type species: Coroia magna González-Sponga, 2005; synonymized by Huber et al. 2014: 416.

Diagnosis: Artema is easily distinguished from other pholcids by its large body and strong legs (body length 5.5– 9.5 mm; leg span up to 15 cm; tibia 1 L/d: 34–42); also by distinctive pattern on globose and high abdomen (dark dots dorsally, arranged in stripes from dorsal to lateral, sometimes absent; Figs 3–5, 51– 53); by male pedipalp with its unique bulbal processes and short but massive procursus with proximal dorsal process (dp: Fig. 89) and weakly developed ventral pocket (vp: Fig. 89); by armature of male chelicerae (frontal row of cone-shaped hairs on each side, situated on elevated processes or ridges; Figs 23, 44); and by pair of low to high projections in front of large anterior epigynal plate (AEP: Fig. 15).

Artema atlanta Walckenaer, 1837

Artema doriae Thorell, 1881

Etymology: Even though the species was named for a man (Marchese Giacomo Doria, 1840–1913), the ICZN (1999: article 31.1) clearly states that the correct patronym has to be doriae, not doriai. The latter is thus an unjustified emendation.

Artema transcaspica Spassky, 1934

Artema magna Roewer, 1960

Artema kochi Kulczyński, 1901 (revalidated) 

Artema nephilit sp. nov.
Artema mauriciana” (misidentification) – Bodenheimer 1937: 238 (“Palestina”)
Artema mauricia” (misidentification) – Dalmas 1920: 59 (Bodrum, Turkey). 

Diagnosis: Males can be distinguished from all known congeners by their bulbal processes: process c (Fig. 40) projecting prolaterally, processes d and e absent (Fig. 39) (A. magna: process c robust, strongly curved prolaterally, process d distinct rounded projection on ventral side of bulb – see Figs 159–160; A. doriae and A. transcaspica: process d small, pointed towards ventrodistally) and by unique median projection on each male cheliceral process (Figs 43–44, 67) (only A. magna with similar median projection but no modified hairs connect to main ridge as in A. nephilit sp. nov. – see Figs 163–164). Females with semicircular epigynum (Figs 45–50); differing from A. atlanta by straight posterior epigynal margin; from A. magna by epigynal plate length to width ratio; from A. bunkpurugu by much less prominent anterior epigynal projections (AEP in Fig. 48) (cf. Huber & Kwapong 2013: figs 49, 53–54). 

Etymology: The species epithet is derived from the feminine singular noun of the biblical name “Nephilim”, the giants who were seen by the twelve people sent by Moses to scout the Land of Canaan. It refers to the large size of the spider. Noun in apposition.

Shlomi Aharon, Bernhard A. Huber and Efrat Gavish-Regev. 2017. Daddy-long-leg Giants: Revision of the Spider Genus Artema Walckenaer, 1837 (Araneae, Pholcidae). European Journal of Taxonomy. 376: 1–57. DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2017.376


[Ichthyology • 2017] Neopomacentrus aktites • A New Species of Damselfish (Pisces: Pomacentridae) from Western Australia

Neopomacentrus aktites
Allen, Moore & Allen, 2017


A new species of damselfish, Neopomacentrus aktites n. sp., is described on the basis of 50 specimens, 17.8–54.1 mm SL, collected from Western Australia. The new species was formerly confused with Neopomacentrus filamentosus, an Indo-Malayan species that appears morphologically indistinguishable and has a mostly similar color pattern. However, the new species lacks several markings characteristic of N. filamentosus, i.e. a large black spot on the pectoral-fin axil, a large dark marking at the lateral-line origin, and yellow or gold color on the upper edge of the rear opercle. The two species differ by 7.55% (K2P) in the sequence of the mtDNA-barcode marker COI. The new species is only 2.19% divergent from an undescribed damselfish species from eastern Australia and southern New Guinea, but differs from that species by having dark margins on the proximal half of the caudal fin and lacking a bright yellow caudal fin, caudal peduncle, and posterior parts of the dorsal and anal fins.

Key words: taxonomy, systematics, ichthyology, coral-reef fishes, Indo-Pacific Ocean, DNA barcoding. 

Neopomacentrus aktites  n. sp.
Figure 2.  
aquarium photograph of freshly collected adult, approx. 45 mm SL, Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia.
Figure 3.  underwater photograph of juvenile, approx. 25 mm SL, Cassini Island, Kimberley District, Western Australia.

photos: G. R. Allen

Neopomacentrus aktites, n. sp. 
Western Australian Demoiselle

Diagnosis. Dorsal-fin elements XIII,10–12 (usually 11); anal-fin elements II,10–12 (usually 11); pectoralfin rays 17–19 (rarely 19); tubed lateral-line scales 16–19 (usually 17–18); total gill rakers on first arch 21–23 (usually 21–22); body depth 2.2–2.4 in SL; ventral margin of suborbital exposed (i.e. not hidden by scales); middle fin rays of dorsal and anal fins filamentous; dorsal and ventral margins of caudal fin filamentous; mainly dark brown in life except pale posteriormost parts of dorsal and anal fins and pale central portion of caudal fin; dark margins of caudal fin restricted to proximal half of fin; small dark spot at upper pectoral-fin base, but not extending into axil of fin.

Etymology. The species is named aktites (Greek: shore dweller) with reference to its relatively shallow-water habitat. The specific epithet is treated as a noun in apposition. 

Distribution and habitat. The new species is currently known only from Western Australia, ranging from Shark Bay northward to the Kimberley coast in the far northern portion of the state. The species is generally associated with rocky substrates with ample crevices and coral formations, which are utilized for shelter. Capture depths range from about 1–10 m, but there is considerable tidal fluctuation (10+ m), especially along the Kimberley coast. They frequently occur in large aggregations, which feed well above the bottom on zooplankton

Gerald R. Allen, Glenn I. Moore and Mark G. Allen. 2017. Neopomacentrus aktites, A New Species of Damselfish (Pisces: Pomacentridae) from Western Australia. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. 29, 1–10.

[Botany • 2017] Polystichum zhijinense • A New Cave Species of Polystichum (subg. Haplopolystichum; Dryopteridaceae) from Guizhou, China

 Polystichum zhijinense

Duan, Kropf & Zhang, 2017.  DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.331.1.11  


A new fern species, Polystichum zhijinense, a member of P. subg. Haplopolystichum (Dryopteridaceae), is described and illustrated from Guizhou Province in Southwest China. Polystichum zhijinense is somehow similar to P. fengshanense in having pinnae oblong and entire or shallowly repand (not aristate-spinulose on the margin), but differs in the shape of the pinna apex, the morphology of microscales, and the sorus distribution. Polystichum zhijinense was found at a cave entrance and is currently known from one population only and thus is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) following IUCN Red List criteria.

Keywords: Guizhou, IUCN Red List, karst cave, Polystichum zhijinense, Pteridophytes

Yi-Fan Duan, Matthias Kropf and Li-Bing Zhang. 2017. Polystichum zhijinense (subg. Haplopolystichum; Dryopteridaceae), A New Cave Species of Polystichum from Guizhou, China. Phytotaxa. 331(1); 124–130. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.331.1.11

[Ichthyology • 2017] Pseudoliparis swirei • A Newly-Discovered Hadal Snailfish (Scorpaeniformes: Liparidae) from the Mariana Trench

Pseudoliparis swirei
Gerringer, Linley, Jamieson, Goetze & Drazen, 2017


Pseudoliparis swirei sp. nov. is described from 37 individuals collected in the Mariana Trench at depths 6898–7966 m. The collection of this new species is the deepest benthic capture of a vertebrate with corroborated depth data. Here, we describe P. swirei sp. nov. and discuss aspects of its morphology, biology, distribution, and phylogenetic relationships to other hadal liparids based on analysis of three mitochondrial genes. Pseudoliparis swirei sp. nov. is almost certainly endemic to the Mariana Trench, as other hadal liparids appear isolated to a single trench/ trench system in the Kermadec, Macquarie, South Sandwich, South Orkney, Peru-Chile, Kurile-Kamchatka and Japan trenches. The discovery of another hadal liparid species, apparently abundant at depths where other fish species are few and only found in low numbers, provides further evidence for the dominance of this family among the hadal fish fauna.

Keywords: Pisces, snailfish, Notoliparis, description, taxonomy, phylogenetics

[upper] FIGURE 2. A) In situ photograph of Pseudoliparis swirei sp. nov. at 6,198 m. B) a group at 7,485 m. C) Deck photograph of SIO 16-82/HADES 200049. D) Radiograph of SIO 16-86/HADES 200141. Image by Sandra Raredon. Scale indicator 5 cm.
[lower] FIGURE 3. Lateral view of Pseudoliparis swirei sp. nov.. Combined representation of holotype, paratypes, and freshly captured images of paratype USNM 438985/HADES 200133, juvenile, 151 mm. Drawings by Thomas D. Linley.

Pseudoliparis swirei Gerringer & Linley sp. nov. 
Mariana snailfish: Linley et al. 2016 (page 105, Figure 4a)
Mariana snailfish: Linley et al. 2017 (page 42, Figure 6.43)
Mariana snailfish/Mariana liparid: Gerringer et al. 2017a (page 111)
Mariana liparid/Liparidae sp. nov: Gerringer et al. 2017b (page 137)

Diagnosis. Andriashev and Pitruk (1993) define the genus Pseudoliparis as having a well-developed disk and one pair of nostrils and lacking pseudobranchia and pleural ribs, with four radials in the pectoral girdle, which has neither notches nor fenestrae. In this genus, the hypural plate is divided by a distal slit (Andriashev and Pitruk, 1993). Like the other in this genus, Pseudoliparis swirei sp. nov. (Figures 2, 3) displays these characters, including a moderately well-developed disk, although this is easily damaged in collection. Pseudoliparis swirei sp. nov. can be distinguished from the two other known Pseudoliparis species with the following characters. Pseudoliparis swirei sp. nov. differs from P. belyaevi in the presence of a distinct lower pectoral-fin lobe, similar to that seen in P. amblystomopsis (Andriashev, 1955). Pseudoliparis swirei has more dorsal-fin rays 55 (51–58) than P. amblystomopsis 49 (49–52), more anal-fin rays 48 (43–49) compared to 43 (42–45), and more vertebrae 61 (56– 62), compared to 55–57, although these ranges somewhat overlap. Head length is shorter in P. swirei sp. nov. (17.0–21.7 %SL) than Pamblystomopsis (21.6–24.0 %SL). Comparisons were made according to ranges presented by Andriashev & Pitruk (1993). Pseudoliparis belyaevi is known only from the Japan Trench, P. amblystomopsis from the Japan and Kurile-Kamchatka trenches, P. swirei only from the Mariana Trench.

FIGURE 2. A) In situ photograph of Pseudoliparis swirei sp. nov. at 6,198 m. B) a group at 7,485 m. C) Deck photograph of SIO 16-82/HADES 200049. D) Radiograph of SIO 16-86/HADES 200141.

Image by Sandra Raredon. Scale indicator 5 cm.

Distribution. Known only from the Mariana Trench at capture depths from 6,898–7,966 m, individuals likely this species were recognized in video at depths 6,198–8,098 m (Linley et al. 2016; Jamieson & Linley, unpublished data).

 Etymology. The Mariana Trench famously houses the ocean’s deepest point, at Challenger Deep, named for the HMS Challenger expedition which discovered the trench in 1875. Their deepest sounding of 8,184 m, then the greatest known ocean depth, was christened Swire Deep after Herbert Swire, the ship’s First Navigating Sublieutenant (Corfield 2003). We name this fish in his honor, in acknowledgment and gratitude of the crew members that have supported oceanographic research throughout history. 

A CT scan of the Mariana snailfish. The green shape, a small crustacean, is seen in the snailfish’s stomach.Adam Summers/University of Washington

Mackenzie E. Gerringer, Thomas D. Linley, Alan J. Jamieson, Erica Goetze and Jeffrey C. Drazen. 2017.  Pseudoliparis swirei sp. nov.: A Newly-Discovered Hadal Snailfish (Scorpaeniformes: Liparidae) from the Mariana Trench. Zootaxa.  4358(1); 161–177. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4358.1.7

There's a deeper fish in the sea
What You Need to Know About Bali's Rumbling Volcano via @NatGeo

Thomas D. Linley, Mackenzie E. Gerringer, Paul H. Yancey, Jeffrey C. Drazen, Chloe L. Weinstock and Alan J .Jamieson. 2016.  Fishes of the hadal zone including new species, in situ observations and depth records of Liparidae. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers.  114; 99-110.  DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2016.05.003


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

Oziotelphusa ravi,
Raj, Kumar & Ng, 2017


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

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

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

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

Algorachelus peregrinus
Pérez-García. 2017 

Illustration by José Antonio Peñas

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

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

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

[Botany • 2017] Dinizia jueirana-facao • The Majestic Canopy-Emergent Genus Dinizia (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae), Including A New Species Endemic to the Brazilian State of Espírito Santo

Dinizia jueirana-facao  G. P. Lewis & G. S. Siqueira

in Lewis, Siqueira, Banks & Bruneau, 2017.

Since its description, almost 100 years ago, the genus Dinizia has been treated as monospecific, comprising the single canopy-emergent species Dinizia excelsa Ducke which grows in non-flooded Amazonian forests of Guyana, Suriname and seven states of northern and central-western Brazil. Dinizia jueirana-facao G. P. Lewis & G. S. Siqueira, which grows in a restricted area of semi-deciduous Atlantic rain forest in Espírito Santo state, Brazil, is described as a new species in the genus. The new species is also a canopy-emergent of impressive stature. We provide descriptions for both species, a key to species identification, a distribution map and the new species is illustrated. Fossil leaves, inflorescences and fruit provide evidence for a Dinizia-like ancestor occurring in south-eastern North America during the Eocene. In contrast to D. excelsa where pollen is dispersed in tetrads, the pollen of D. jueirana-facao is shed in monads. D. jueirana-facao is considered critically endangered following IUCN conservation criteria, whereas D. excelsa is assessed to be of least concern. A lectotype is designated for D. excelsa.

Key Words: Fabaceae, fossils, Neotropics, pollen, taxonomy 

Fig. 3 Dinizia jueirana-facao.
A flowering branch and part of a bipinnate leaf; B leaflets at the base of a single pinna; C hermaphrodite flower; D functionally male flower opened to show stamen filaments and suppressed gynoecium development; E calyx opened out, outer surface; F longitudinal section of hermaphrodite flower to show gynoecium; G petal, outer surface; H stamen; J anther; K fruit; L part of a single valve of dehisced fruit with seeds attached; M seed.

A – J from Folli 4889 (K), K – M from Folli 4484 (K). drawn by Margaret Tebbs.

Dinizia jueirana-facao G. P. Lewis & G. S. Siqueira sp. nov. 
Type: Brazil, Espírito Santo, Linhares, Reserva Natural Vale, 30 July 2004 (fl.), D. A. Folli 4889 (holotype CVRD!; isotypes HUEFS!, K!).

Recognition. Dinizia jueirana-facao differs from its sister species D. excelsa in having leaflets in (9 –) 15 – 23 (– 24) pairs per pinna (vs 7 – 14 pairs), the leaflets completely glabrous (vs puberulent to glabrescent on their lower surface), its individual racemes 28 – 35 × 3 – 4.5 cm (vs 10 – 18 × 1 – 2 cm), buds ellipsoid to obovoid (vs globose), flowers 8.5 – 10 mm long (vs 4 – 5 mm long), its floral bracts spathulate and caducous (vs lanceolate and often persistent), its fruit woody and dehiscent along both sutures (vs indehiscent), seeds 25 – 30 × 16 – 19 mm (vs (10 –) 14 – 15 × 6 – 7 mm); and pollen in monads (vs tetrads).

Distribution. Dinizia jueirana-facao is currently known only from two locations, one (19°08'52.0"S, 40°05'16.4"W) in the Reserva Natural Vale in Linhares, northern Espirito Santo state, Brazil, and the second (19°05'12.1"S, 40°10'41.2"W) just outside the reserve in the surroundings of the small hamlet of Santa Luzia Sooretama. Map 1.

Habitat. An emergent tree in semi-deciduous forest and mata ciliar in the Reserva Natural Vale, an area of 22,000 hectares of pristine Atlantic Forest. This is the largest protected area of semi-deciduous forest in eastern Brazil. Also known from mata de tabuleiro, in the surroundings of Sooretama, just outside the Vale Reserve. Growing at elevations of 40 – 150 m above sea level.

Etymology. The species name is taken directly from the local name, “jueirana-facão”, for the tree in Espirito Santo. In the Reserva Natural Vale, the large legume tree Parkia pendula (Willd.) Benth ex Walp. is known as jueirana-vermelha and the new Dinizia species, which has a very similar bark which breaks off in large woody plates, but much larger fruits, is locally differentiated by replacing vermelha (Portuguese for red) with facão (Portuguese for large knife or machete), because the woody fruits of D. jueirana-facao have the appearance of a machete sheath or scabbard. According to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants (McNeill et al. 2012) an epithet can be a word in apposition (Art. 23.1) and taken from any source whatsoever (Art. 23.2), but the Code does not give clear guidance on diacritical signs, just ruling (Art. 60.6) that “the [diacritical] signs are to be suppressed with the necessary transcription of the letters so modified” but without elaborating on what “necessary transcription” means beyond the cited examples, which do not include ã. We thus transcribe the ã as a in the specific epithet here chosen for the new species.

Jueirana is thought to be derived from the Tupi word yuá-rana. Yuá (or Juá) is a Tupi common name for several different plant species, especially those in the Solanaceae with round, spiny fruits (Andrade 2006; Sampaio 1987). Rana in Tupi means similar to, so yuá-rana or jueirana means false juá (or similar to juá), although there is little resemblance between the new legume species and any Solanaceae. A number of place names in Brazil are derived from jueirana or an orthographic variant of this.

Notes. Dinizia jueirana-facao, as currently known, is a narrowly restricted species endemic to a small area of Atlantic forest in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo. Although a tree of shorter stature, and lacking buttresses, many of its vegetative and reproductive morphological characteristics are greater in number and/or size than those seen in its widespread Amazonian sister species, D. excelsa. D. jueirana-facao has leaflets in (9 –) 15 – 23 (– 24) pairs per pinna (7 – 14 pairs per pinna in D. excelsa), the leaflets glabrous (vs puberulent to glabrescent on their lower surface), its individual racemes 28 – 35 × 3 – 4.5 cm (vs 10 – 18 × 1 – 2 cm) in open flower, its flower buds ellipsoid to obovoid (vs globose), its flowers 8.5 – 10 mm long (vs 4 – 5 mm long), its floral bracts spathulate and caducous (vs lanceolate and often persistent), its fruit woody and dehiscent along both sutures (vs indehiscent), its seeds 25 – 30 × 16 – 19 mm (vs (10 –) 14 – 15 × 6 – 7 mm), and its pollen in monads (vs tetrads). D. jueirana-facao is critically endangered and presently known from less than 25 trees in two small areas, of which only one locality is inside a protected reserve. The type collection of the new species is from one of the largest trees growing inside the reserve.

G. P. Lewis, G. S. Siqueira, H. Banks and A. Bruneau. 2017. The Majestic Canopy-Emergent Genus Dinizia (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae), Including A New Species Endemic to the Brazilian State of Espírito Santo. Kew Bulletin. 72:48.  DOI: 10.1007/s12225-017-9720-7

Probably the world's heaviest living organism described in 2017?
New tree species in Brazil probably the world's heaviest living organism via @physorg_com

[Entomology • 2017] Taxonomic Revision of the Species of Colletes Latreille, 1802 (Hymenoptera: Colletidae: Colletinae) found in Chile

Colletes arthuri
Ferrari. 2017


A taxonomic revision of Colletes Latreille species with known geographic distribution in Chile is presented. In addition to the traditional morphological approach to taxonomy, DNA barcoding was employed to facilitate sexual association and cryptic species recognition. I provide diagnoses, synonymies, geographic and floral records, and a fully-illustrated key for 31 recognized species, 23 of them previously described: C. alocochila Moure, C. atacamensis Janvier, C. atripes Smith, C. bicolor Smith, C. chusmiza Rojas & Toro, C. cognatus Spinola, C. cyanescens (Haliday), C. cyaniventris Spinola n. stat., C. flaminii Moure, C. fulvipes Spinola, C. gilvus Vachal, C. guanta Rojas & Toro, C. longiceps Friese, C. lucens Vachal, C. mastochila Moure, C. murinus Friese, C. musculus Friese, C. nigritulus Friese, C. patagonicus Schrottky, C. quelu Rojas & Toro, C. rutilans Vachal, C. sulcatus Vachal, and C. vicugnensis Rojas & Toro. In addition, eight new species are described: Colletes arthuri n. sp.Ccoquimbensis n. sp.Cflavipilosus n. sp.C. kuhlmanni n. sp., Cnigropilosus n. sp., Csimulatus n. sp., Ctoroi n. sp., and Cventricarinatus n. sp. Lectotypes for the following species are designated: Andrena cyanescensColletes bicolorC. campoi Herbst, C. chubutensis Cockerell, CgilvusClucens, CpatagonicusCrufosignatus Cockerell, and C. viridans Vachal. Colletes seminitidus Spinola and C. viridans are both proposed as junior synonyms of C. cyanescens, and C. araucariae Friese is considered a junior synonym of C. sulcatusColletes cyaniventris n. stat. is resurrected from synonymy.

Keywords: Apoidea, bee, Colletini, key, Neotropics, review, systematics

Rafael R. Ferrari. 2017.  Taxonomic Revision of the Species of Colletes Latreille, 1802 (Hymenoptera: Colletidae: Colletinae) found in Chile. Zootaxa. 4364(1); 1–137. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4364.1.1

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

Maaqwi cascadensis
McLachlan, Kaiser & Longrich, 2017


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

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

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

Systematic paleontology

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

Ornithurae Haeckel 1866 sensu Chiappe
Vegaviidae Agnolín et al. 2017

Maaqwi cascadensis gen. et sp. nov.

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

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

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

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

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

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