Sunday, December 29, 2013

[Conservation / Ecology • 2013] Wildlife Conservation in Protected Areas in Thailand: Lessons from Chiew Larn, Khao Sok and Khlong Saeng

Figure 1. Rain forest covered islands in Chiew Larn reservoir (A–D) were originally inhabited by 12 species of small mammals. As a result of forest fragmentation, the area effect, and the invasion of a rat species not found in undisturbed forest, all native species went extinct locally in less than 25 years.

Chiew Larn Reservoir in southern Thailand was created in the forested interior of Khao Sok National Park and Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary in 1987. A study of small mammals isolated on the islands in the reservoir showed the near complete local extinction of the fauna in the 25 years after forest fragmentation. Wildlife conservation management and protected area policy implications of this study of fragmented forests are discussed as they will affect the next 50 years of Thai protected area management. 

Keywords: area effect, conservation, environmental policy, extinction, genetic erosion, habitat fragmentation, invasive species, mammals, protected areas, sustainability

DAVID S. WOODRUFF. 2013. Wildlife Conservation in Protected Areas in Thailand: Lessons from Chiew Larn, Khao Sok and Khlong Saeng. Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 59(2): 91–107 

Luke Gibson, Antony J. Lynam, Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Fangliang He, David P. Bickford, David S. Woodruff, Sara Bumrungsri & William F. Laurance. 2013. Near-Complete Extinction of Native Small Mammal Fauna 25 Years After Forest Fragmentation. Science. 341 (6153): 1508-1510.  DOI:
Ecological Armageddon

A.J. Lynam and I. Billick. 1999. Differential responses of small mammals to fragmentation in a Thailand tropical forest. Biological Conservation. 91 (2–3): 191–200.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

[Ichthyology • 2013] Systematics and Biodiversity of Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras (Chondrichthyes) of Taiwan

Special Volume Zootaxa 3752

Systematics and Biodiversity of Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras 
(Chondrichthyes) of Taiwan 

Zootaxa 3752: 1–386 (24 Dec. 2013)

Table of Contents

Saturday, December 21, 2013

[Mammalogy • 2013] Caenolestes sangay • A New Species of Shrew-Opossum (Paucituberculata: Caenolestidae) from the eastern slopes of the Andes in Ecuador, with A Phylogeny of Extant caenolestids

Caenolestes sangaySangay Shrew-Opossum

The 4 known species of northern shrew-opossums, Caenolestes (Paucituberculata: Caenolestidae), are restricted to the northern Andes of South America. Five specimens of a new species of Caenolestes were collected in Sangay National Park on the eastern slopes of the Andes in Ecuador. Review of museum specimens revealed 6 additional specimens of this species, here named Caenolestes sangay. All specimens were collected in cloud forest habitats from 2,050 to 3,500 m above sea level along a recently constructed highway. The new species appears to be uncommon. Inadequate sampling on the eastern slopes of the Andes limits our understanding of the distributional limits of the new species, but it occurs in a region of high endemism. New roads and land conversion threaten mature habitats near the type locality. The new species is medium sized with a narrow antorbital vacuity. It is distinguished from congeners by its large major palatine foramen and a diastema between I4 and C, among other characters. A phylogeny of Caenolestidae based on molecular and morphological characters shows a sister-group relationship between Lestoros and Rhyncholestes and indicates that the new species is likely closest to C. caniventer.

Keywords: Andes, Caenolestes, cloud forest, cytochrome b, Eastern Versant, Ecuador, new species, phylogeny, Sangay National Park

Reed Ojala-Barbour, C. Miguel Pinto, Jorge Brito M., Luis Albuja V., Thomas E. Lee, Jr. and Bruce D. Patterson. 2013. A New Species of Shrew-Opossum (Paucituberculata: Caenolestidae) with A Phylogeny of Extant caenolestids. Journal of Mammalogy. 94 (5): 967–982. 

A New Species of Shrew-Opossum Located in the Eastern Andes Mountains
An article featured in the Journal of Mammalogy reports on a new species of the marsupial, Caenolestes sangay, which was discovered in the Sangay National Park.

Descubren nueva especie de ratón marsupial en Sangay

[Mammalogy • 1996] Caenolestes condorensis • A New Species of northern Shrew Opossum (Paucituberculata: Caenolestidae) from the Cordillera del Condor, Ecuador

 Caenolestes condorensis
Andean caenolestid or Andean Shrew Opossum

: a species of shrew opossum (family Caenolestidae). 
It is known from one location at an altitude of 2000 m in the Cordillera del Cóndor in Ecuador.

Albuja, V. L. and Patterson, B. D. 1996. A New Species of northern Shrew Opossum (Paucituberculata: Caenolestidae) from the Cordillera del Condor, Ecuador. Journal of Mammalogy. 77(1): 41-53.

Friday, December 20, 2013

[Paleontology • 2013] Acheroraptor temertyorum • A New dromaeosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) with Asian Affinities from the latest Cretaceous of North America

Acheroraptor temertyorum, the new Hell Creek dromaeosaurid. Closely related to the Asian genus Velociraptor, this theropod approached Deinonychus in size and lived alongside Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops. "I worked closely with Dr. David Evans to restore the life appearance of the animal," here shown pissing off a Tyrannosaurus for beating it to the carcass of a Triceratops, and also snacking on a scavenging mammal.

Evans, Larson and Currie (2013) DOI: 10.1007/s00114-013-1107-5

Dromaeosaurids from the Maastrichtian of North America have a poor fossil record and are known largely from isolated teeth, which have typically been referred to taxa based on more complete material from earlier Campanian strata. An almost complete maxilla with well-preserved dentition and an associated dentary from the Hell Creek Formation of Montana are used to establish a new dromaeosaurid taxon in the latest Maastrichtian, immediately prior to the end-Cretaceous extinction event. Acheroraptor temertyorum gen. et sp. nov. is differentiated from other dromaeosaurids on the basis of a hypertrophied postantral wall that projects posteriorly into the antorbital fenestra, a maxillary fenestra positioned low in the antorbital fossa and directly posterior to the promaxillary fenestra, and distinctive dentition with marked apicobasal ridges. The new material allows a dromaeosaurid from the Maastrichtian of North America to be placed within a phylogenetic framework for the first time. Phylogenetic analysis suggests Acheroraptor is a velociraptorine that is more closely related to Asian dromaeosaurids, including Tsaagan and Velociraptor, than it is to Dromaeosaurus, Saurornitholestes, or any other taxon from North America. As part of the Lancian Tyrannosaurus–Triceratops fauna, A. temertyorum is the latest occurring dromaeosaurid. Its relationships and occurrence suggest a complex historical biogeographic scenario that involved multiple, bi-directional faunal interchanges between Asia and North America during the Late Cretaceous.

Keywords: Dromaeosauridae, Theropoda, Cretaceous, Biogeography


Evans, D. C., D. Larson, and P. J. Currie. 2013. A New dromaeosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) with Asian Affinities from the latest Cretaceous of North America. Naturwissenschaften. 100 (11): 1041-1049. doi: 

[Herpetology • 2014] Rigorous Approaches to Species Delimitation have Significant Implications for African crocodilian Systematics and Conservation | Seven Distinct African Crocodile Species Mecistops, Not Just Three

Profile of a Central African Mecistops, a newly recognized cryptic species of slender-snouted crocodile, from Akaka, Loango National Park, Gabon
|  Photo: Zaid Fadul
 paper by Matthew H. Shirley et al. 2014, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2483

A slender-snouted crocodile in Gabon
|  Photo: Matt Shirley


Accurate species delimitation is a central assumption of biology that, in groups such as the Crocodylia, is often hindered by highly conserved morphology and frequent introgression. In Africa, crocodilian systematics has been hampered by complex regional biogeography and confounded taxonomic history. We used rigorous molecular and morphological species delimitation methods to test the hypothesis that the slender-snouted crocodile (Mecistops cataphractus) is composed of multiple species corresponding to the Congolian and Guinean biogeographic zones. Speciation probability was assessed by using 11 mitochondrial and nuclear genes, and cranial morphology for over 100 specimens, representing the full geographical extent of the species distribution. Molecular Bayesian and phylogenetic species delimitation showed unanimous support for two Mecistops species isolated to the Upper Guinean and Congo (including Lower Guinean) biomes that were supported by 13 cranial characters capable of unambiguously diagnosing each species. Fossil-calibrated phylogenetic reconstruction estimated that the species split ± 6.5–7.5 Ma, which is congruent with intraspecies divergence within the sympatric crocodile genus Osteolaemus and the formation of the Cameroon Volcanic Line. Our results underscore the necessity of comprehensive phylogeographic analyses within currently recognized taxa to detect cryptic species within the Crocodylia. We recommend that the community of crocodilian researchers reconsider the conceptualization of crocodilian species especially in the light of the conservation ramifications for this economically and ecologically important group.

Keywords: Mecistops, Osteolaemus, African biogeography, speciation, probability phylogeography 

Seven Distinct African Crocodile Species, Not Just Three, Biologists Show
— African crocodiles, long thought of as just three known species, are among the most iconic creatures on that continent. But recent University of Florida research now finds that there are at least seven distinct African crocodile species.

 Matthew H. Shirley, Kent A. Vliet, Amanda N. Carr and James D. Austin. 2014. Rigorous Approaches to Species Delimitation have Significant Implications for African crocodilian Systematics and Conservation. Proc. R. Soc. B. 281(1776) 20132483.  doi:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

[Botany • 2013] New species of Microchirita (Gesneriaceae) from Thailand | เนตรม่วง Microchirita purpurea, บุหงาการะเกตุ M. karaketii, สุดดีดาว M. suddeei, ข้าวตอกโยนก M. albiflora, มาลัยฟ้อนเล็บ M. woodii

 Five new species of Microchirita are described: Microchirita purpurea D.J.Middleton & Triboun, Microchirita karaketii D.J.Middleton & Triboun, Microchirita suddeei D.J.Middleton & Triboun, Microchirita albiflora D.J.Middleton & Triboun and Microchirita woodii D.J.Middleton & Triboun.
KEY WORDS: Gesneriaceae, Microchirita, new species, Thailand.

       รายละเอียดของพืชวงศ์ชาฤาษีชนิดใหม่ ดังนี้

 Microchirita purpurea ไมโครชิริตา พัวร์พูเรีย 
ไม้ล้มลุกปีเดียว สูง 0.25-1 ม. ใบเรียงตรงข้าม ช่อดอกเกิดบนใบ ดอกสีม่วงบานช่วงเดือนสิงหาคมถึงเดือนตุลาคม ค้นพบทางภาคตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ ในเขตจังหวัดจันทบุรี (อำเภอแก่งหางแมว) พบตามหน้าผาหินปูนแบบเปิดหรือบริเวณปากถ้ำ  

Microchirita karaketii ไมโครชิริตา คาราเกติ  
 ไม้ล้มลุกปีเดียว สูงได้ถึง 60 ซม. ใบเรียงตรงข้าม ช่อดอกเกิดบนใบ ดอกสีขาวมีแต้มสีม่วงและสีเหลือง บานช่วงปลายเดือนสิงหาคมถึงเดือนพฤศจิกายน  ค้นพบทางภาคเหนือ ในเขตจังหวัดเชียงใหม่ (อำเภอเชียงดาว) พบตามป่าผลัดใบแบบผสม ตามภูเขาหินปูน ที่ความสูง 530-750 ม. จากระดับน้ำทะเล
Microchirita suddeei ไมโครชิริตา สุดดีอิ 
ไม้ล้มลุกปีเดียว ตั้งตรง สูงได้ถึง 40 ซม. ใบเรียงตรงข้าม แผ่นใบบาง รูปไข่ ช่อดอกเกิดบนใบที่รอยต่อของก้านใบกับแผ่นใบ ดอกสีขาวนวลหรือสีมาวงอ่อนบานช่วงเดือนสิงหาคมถึงเดือนตุลาคม  ค้นพบทางภาคเหนือ ในเขตอ.ร้องกวาง จ.แพร่  และ อ.งาว อ.แจ้ห่ม และอ.บ้านสา จ.ลำปาง พบตามหินปูนในป่าดิบแล้งและป่าผลัดใบแบบผสม ที่ความสูง 200-600 เมตร จากระดับน้ำทะเล
 Microchirita albiflora ไมโครชิริตา อัลบิฟลอรา
ไม้ล้มลุกปีเดียว ลำต้นฉ่ำน้ำ สีเขียวอ่อน ใบเรียงตรงข้าม ดอกสีขาวบานช่วงต้นเดือน ส.ค.-ปลายเดือน ต.ค. ค้นพบทางภาคเหนือ ในเขต อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง และ อ.แม่สาย จ.เชียงราย  ที่ความสูง 500-1,000 เมตร จากระดับน้ำทะเล   
 Microchirita woodii ไมโครชิริตา วูดี 
ไม้ล้มลุกปีเดียว ลำต้นสูงได้ถึง 50 เซ็นติเมตร ใบเรียงตรงข้าม แผ่นใบรูปไข่ ช่อดอกเกิดบนใบ ดอกสีเหลืองอ่อนมีแต้มสีน้ำตาลแดง บานช่วงต้นเดือน ส.ค.ถึงปลายเดือน ต.ค. ค้นพบทางภาคเหนือ ในเขต อ.เมือง จ.น่าน ขึ้นตามเขาหินปูน ในป่าดิบแล้งและป่าผลัดใบ

D.J. Middleton and P. Triboun. 2013. New species of Microchirita (Gesneriaceae) from Thailand. THAI FOR. BULL. (BOT.). 41: 13–22.

เปิดตัวพืชไทย “วงศ์ชาฤาษี” พันธุ์ใหม่ 6 ชนิด

[Botany • 2013] Paraboea middletonii | เศวตแดนสรวง • a new species of Paraboea (Gesneriaceae) endemic to northern Thailand

Figure 1.  เศวตแดนสรวง  Paraboea middletonii Triboun:
A. Habitat; B. Habit; C. Inflorescence.
Photographed by Pramote Triboun.

Paraboea middletonii Triboun, a new species from Thailand, is described and illustrated.

KEY WORDS: Gesneriaceae, new species, Paraboea, Thailand

 Paraboea middletonii พาราโยเอีย มิดเดิลโทนี 
ไม้ล้มลุกอายุหลายปี ขึ้นบนเกาะหิน ลำต้นตั้งตรง สูง 10-30 เซ็นติเมตร ใบเรียงตรงข้ามสลับตั้งฉาก ชิดติดกันบริเวณส่วนปลายของลำต้น ดอกสีขาวบานช่วงต้นเดือน ส.ค.-ต.ค. ค้นพบทางภาคเหนือ ในเขต จ.น่าน ขึ้นบนหินปูนในร่มรำไร ที่ความสูง 1,000 - 1,300 เมตร จากระดับน้ำทะเล

Distribution.— Endemic to Thailand | NORTHERN: Nan.
Ecology.— In shade on limestone rock, alt. 1,000–1,210 m.

Vernacular. — Sawet daen sruang (เศวตแดนสรวง) (coined by the author).
'middletonii' named in honour of Dr D. J. Middleton, a plant taxonomist from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the leader of the Thai Gesneriaceae research team.

Proposed IUCN conservation assessment.— Critically Endangered (CR B1ab(iii)). This species is only known from the type locality, which is a small limestone outcrop right beside the road on the boundary of Doi Phu Kha National Park and with extensive agricultural areas beyond. The basal area of the outcrop shows considerable disturbance. There are estimated to be fewer than 500 plants in the population.

Triboun, P. 2013. Paraboea middletonii (Gesneriaceae), a new species from Thailand
THAI FOR. BULL. (BOT.). 4145–47.

เปิดตัวพืชไทย “วงศ์ชาฤาษี” พันธุ์ใหม่ 6 ชนิด

[Botany • 2013] Kohautia Cham. & Schltdl. (Rubiaceae) – A New Genus record for the Flora of Thailand: K. gracilis (Wall.) DC. discovered in Kanchanaburi

Figure 1. Kohautia gracilis (Wall.) DC.:
A. habit; B. young plant showing seemingly whorled leaf arrangement; C. schematic inflorescence structure (from Mantell 1985: Fig. 16); D. portion of inflorescence; E. detail of flowers.
All photographs by R. Pooma.

 The genus Kohautia (Rubiaceae) is newly recorded for the Flora of Thailand; the species Kohautia gracilis, previously only known from Pakistan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, has recently been discovered in Kanchanaburi. Notes on the delimitation of the genus and on the main distinctive character for the taxa of the OldenlandiaHedyotis complex and allies (= Hedyotideae in the old sense; now included in an expanded tribe Spermacoceae) are included.

KEY WORDS: Rubiaceae, KohautiaKohautia gracilis, Flora of Thailand, new genus record.

Distribution.— Pakistan, Nepal (type!), India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, SOUTH-WESTERN Thailand.
Ecology.— Low limestone hills (Thailand). Elsewhere: in open grassland, on open dry rocky slopes, on fringes of coniferous forest; also in seasonally moist areas near streams, growing in sandy and clayey soils; mostly in fi re-prone habitats. Altitude: 180 m (Thailand). Elsewhere (65–)250–2000 m. Flowers: December (Thailand). Elsewhere November, January–July

Puff, C. 2013. Kohautia Cham. & Schltdl. (Rubiaceae) – A New Genus record for the Flora of Thailand: K. gracilis (Wall.) DC. discovered in Kanchanaburi. THAI FOR. BULL. (BOT.). 41: : 56–60. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

[Orchidology • 2013] Five Species of Liparis (Orchidaceae) newly recorded for Thailand

During work on a forthcoming new revision of Liparis in Thailand, five new national records were discovered, and  details on the Thai occurrences are reported in this paper.

Three of the newly recorded species are terrestrials that only produce leaves in the rainy season. Thus, (1) L. acutissima Rchb.f. (also known from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) is reported from Phu Wua Wildlife Sanctuary, province of Bueng Kan; (2) L. sootenzanensis Fukuy. (also known from Taiwan and Vietnam), is reported from Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park, province of Phitsanulok; and (3) L. stenoglossa C.S.P.Parish & Rchb.f. (previously considered endemic to Myanmar) is reported from Wat Tham Pha Sawan, Nong Hin, province of Loei.

The two remaining species are epiphytes that bear leaves all the year round. Thus, (4) L. elegans Lindl. widespread in Malesia) is reported from Khao Sok National Park in province of Surat Thani and from Khao Chet Yot in province of Trang; and (5) L. vestita Rchb.f. (previously known from India only) is reported from Amphoe Rong Kwang in province of Phrae and from two parts of Khao Yai National Park (situated in the provinces of Nakhon Nayok and Prachin Buri, respectively).

The newly recorded species are illustrated by colour photos, and morphological descriptions based on Thai material are provided together with lists of synonyms and supplementary references to the literature. The name L. elegans Lindl. is lectotypified.

KEY WORDS: Liparis acutissima, L. elegans, L. sootenzanensis, L. stenoglossa, L. vestita, distribution, occurrence, taxonomic revision.

Liparis acutissima Rchb.f.
Distribution.— Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam.
Thailand.— NORTH-EASTERN: Bueng Kan
Vernacular.— Ueang klip muan bai ya (เอื้องกลีบม้วนใบหญ้า) (here proposed).

Liparis sootenzanensis Fukuy.
Distribution.— Taiwan, Vietnam.
Thailand.— NORTHERN: Phitsanulok
Vernacular.— Klip muan khiao morakot (กลีบม้วนเขียวมรกต) (here proposed).

Liparis stenoglossa C.S.P.Parish & Rchb.f.
Distribution.— Myanmar.
Thailand.— NORTH-EASTERN: Loei 
Vernacular.— Ya pro nok noi (หญ้าเปราะนกน้อย) (here proposed).

Liparis elegans Lindl.
Distribution.— Widespread in Malesia, from Peninsular Malaysia in the west to the Philippines in the north-east and New Guinea in the south-east.
Thailand.— PENINSULAR: Surat Thani, Trang
Vernacular.— Klip muan dok ngam (กลีบม้วนดอกงาม) (here proposed).

Liparis vestita Rchb.f.
Distribution.— India.
Thailand.— NORTHERN: Phrae; CENTRAL: Nakhon Nayok; SOUTH-EASTERN: Prachin Buri
Vernacular.— Ueang khao san dok som (เอื้องข้าวสารดอกส้ม) (here proposed)

Naiyana Tetsana, Henrik Æ. Pedersen, and Kitichate Sridith. 2013. Five Species of Liparis (Orchidaceae) newly recorded for Thailand. THAI FOR. BULL. (BOT.). 41: 48–55.

Monday, December 16, 2013

[Testudology • 2011] Rafetus vietnamensis Le, Le, Tran, Phan, Phan, Tran, Pham, Nguyen, Nong, Phan, Dinh, Truong and Ha, 2010 Another Invalid Name for an Invalid Species of SoftShell Turtle (Reptilia: Testudines: Trionychidae)

Ontogenetic Changes in head pattern of Rafetus swinhoei 

The description of Rafetus vietnamensis Le et al., 2010 is reviewed. As the name was based on the same type material as Rafetus leloii Ha, 2000, we declare R. vietnamensis an objective synonym of R. leloii. Simultaneously, no characteristics presented by Le et al. distinguish their R. vietnamensis from Rafetus swinhoei (Gray, 1873), which confirms our view that they constitute the same biological entity.

Balázs Farkas, Minh Le, Truong Quang Nguyen. 2011. Rafetus vietnamensis Le, Le, Tran, Phan, Phan, Tran, Pham, Nguyen, Nong, Phan, Dinh, Truong and Ha, 2010 — Another Invalid Name for an Invalid Species of SoftShell Turtle (Reptilia: Testudines: Trionychidae). Russian Journal of Herpetology. 18(1):65-72.

Le T. B., Le Q. H., Tran M. L., Phan T. H., Phan M. T.,Tran T. T. H, Pham T. T., Nguyen D. T., Nong V. H.,Phan V. C., Dinh D. K., Truong N. H., and Ha D. D. 2010. Comparative morphological and DNA analysis of specimens of giant freshwater soft-shelled turtle in Viet-nam related to Hoan Kiem turtle, Tap chi Cong nghe Sinhhoc. (J. Biotechnol.), 8 (3A), 949 – 954.

[Herpetology • 2013] Oreolalax sterlingae • First Record of the Genus Oreolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from Vietnam with Description of a New Species from Fansipan Mountain, Hoang Lien Mountain Range, northern Vietnam

Oreolalax sterlingae
Nguyen, Phung, Le, Ziegler & Böhme 2013
photo: Phùng Mỹ Trung:

The genus Oreolalax is reported from Vietnam for the first time and a new species is described based on morphological differences, molecular divergence, and phylogenetic placement. Morphologically, the new species is distinguishable from its congeners on the basis of a combination of the following diagnostic characters: size small; tympanum hidden; toes with webbing at base; dorsum with distinct, round, spiny warts; flanks with white, spiny spots; belly and lower surface of limbs smooth, with dark marbling; interorbital region without dark triangular pattern; upper surface of thigh with dark bars; male with black spines present on margin of lower lip, spinal patches on chest small with fine spines, nuptial spines on fingers small, and without vocal sacs. In phylogenetic analyses, the new species is unambiguously nested within the genus Oreolalax.

Oreolalax sterlingae; A: holotype, A. paratype


Truong Q. Nguyen, Trung M. Phung, Minh D. Le, Thomas Ziegler and Wolfgang Böhme. 2013. First Record of the Genus Oreolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from Vietnam with Description of a New Species. Copeia. 213-222.

[Herpetology • 1993] Oreolalax multipunctatus • A New Frog of the Genus Oreolalax (Pelobatidae Megophryidae) from Sichuan, China

Oreolalax multipunctatus Wu, Zhao, Inger & Shaffer, 1993

A new species of Oreolalax is described from southwestern Sichuan, China. The species is distinguished from its many congeners in Sichuan by its small size (males = 50 mm SVL), smooth dorsum, and its black-spotted body. Unlike all other congeners, tadpoles of the new form have black spots on the body and tail. 

Guan-Fu Wu, Er-Mi Zhao, Robert F. Inger, H. and Bradley Shaffer. 1993. A New Frog of the Genus Oreolalax (Pelobatidae Megophryidae) from Sichuan, China. Journal of Herpetology. 27(4); 410-413.

[Ornithology • 2013] A Reappraisal of the Systematic Affinities of Socotran, Arabian and East African Scops Owls (Otus, Strigidae) using a Combination of Molecular, Biometric and Acoustic Data

Arabian Scops Owl | Otus pamelae
in Wadi Darbat, Dhofar by Shanfari:

We investigated phylogenetic relationships among Otus scops owls from Socotra Island, the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa using molecular, vocalization and biometric data. The Socotra Scops Owl Otus senegalensis socotranus, currently treated as a subspecies of the African Scops Owl Otus senegalensis, is more closely related to the Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia and to the endemic Seychelles Scops Owl Otus insularis. Considerable mitochondrial genetic distance and significant morphological differentiation from its two closest relatives, as well as its distinctive vocalizations compared with O. insularis, strongly support recognition of Socotra Scops Owl as a full species. Unexpectedly, two taxa from the Arabian Peninsula, Pallid Scops Owl Otus brucei and African Scops Owl Otus senegalensis pamelae, represent very distinct lineages; O. brucei is basal to a clade that includes taxa found in the Indo-Malayan region and on Indian Ocean islands. In contrast, O. s. pamelae occupies a well-supported basal position within a clade of continental Afro-Palaearctic taxa. The uncorrected-p genetic distance between O. s. pamelae and its closest relatives (other populations of senegalensis from mainland Africa) is c. 4%. As O. s. pamelae is also well differentiated phylogenetically, morphologically and vocally from O. s. senegalensis, we recommend its elevation to species status, as Otus pamelae. Among mainland African O. senegalensis subspecies, Ethiopian populations appear to represent the most divergent lineage, whereas other lineages from Somalia, Kenya and South Africa are poorly differentiated. The large genetic distance between the Ethiopian haplotype and other African haplotypes (3.2%) suggests that the Ethiopian Otus may represent a cryptic taxon, and we recommend that more individuals be sampled to assess the taxonomic status of this population.

Keywords: biogeography; Indian Ocean Islands; Indo-Malaya; phylogeny; Socotra Island; taxonomy

Figure 1. Map depicting the geographical range of Otus taxa in the region of interest.
Afro-Palaearctic clade: A1 = Otus senegalensis pamelae; A2 = Otus scops; A3 = Otus pembaensis; A4 = Otus hartlaubi; A5 = Otus senegalensis.
 Indo-Malayan/Indian Ocean clade: i1 = Otus brucei; i2 = Otus moheliensis; i3 = Otus pauliani; i4 = Otus capnodes; i5 = Otus mayottensis; i6 = Otus rutilus; i7 = Otus madagascariensis; i8 = Otus senegalensis socotranus; i9 = Otus insularis; i10 = Otus sunia.

Arabian Scops Owl, Otus senegalensis subsp. pamelae,
in Wadi Darbat, Dhofar by |

Jean-Marc Pons, Guy M. Kirwan, Richard F. Porter and Jérôme Fuchs. 2013. A Reappraisal of the Systematic Affinities of Socotran, Arabian and East African Scops Owls (Otus, Strigidae) using a Combination of Molecular, Biometric and Acoustic Data. Ibis. 155(3); 518–533.

Friday, December 13, 2013

[Mammalogy • 2013] Murina balaensis | ค้างคาวจมูกหลอดบาลา | Bala Tube-nosed Bat • A New Species of Murina (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from Peninsular Thailand

Murina balaensis Soisook, Karapan, Satasook & Bates 2013
Bala Tube-nosed Bat | ค้างคาวจมูกหลอดบาลา

A new species of Murina belonging to ‘suilla-group’ is described based on two specimens collected with harp traps in lowland evergreen forest in the southernmost part of peninsular Thailand. Morphology and molecular (mitochondrial COI) data suggest that the new species is most closely related to M. eleryi, which is currently known from Indochina. The new species, however, can be distinguished by the size and shape of the upper canine, the shape of the upper and lower premolars, and the colour of the ventral pelage. Additional data on bacular morphology, echolocation, ecology, and distribution are included.

Key words: Tube-nosed bat, new species, cryptic species, taxonomy, Thailand, Southeast Asia

Etymology: The name balaensis refers to the type locality, Bala Forest, from where the type specimen was collected. The proposed English name is Bala Tube-nosed bat

Ecology and Distribution: M. balaensis was captured together with Hipposideros atrox Andersen, Kerivoula hardwickii Thomas, K. minuta Miller, K. pellucida Waterhouse and Murina suilla (Temminck). The general habitat of M. balaensis at HBWRS is lowland Malaysian-type evergreen rain forest. M. eleryi, however, has been found in a more heavily degraded habitat in limestone forests at an elevation over 500 m asl. (Furey et al., 2009).

So far, M. balaensis is known only from two specimens collected from the type locality. However, further field surveys using harp trap may extend its range, particularly in the lowland evergreen forest habitats of peninsular Malaysia.

Soisook, Pipat, Sunate Karapan, Chutamas Satasook & Paul J. J. Bates. 2013. A New Species of Murina (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from Peninsular Thailand. Zootaxa. 3746(4): 567–579.

[Mammalogy • 2009] Murina eleryi | Elery's Tube-nosed Bat • Description of A New Species belonging to the Murina 'suilla-group' (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae: Murininae) from north Vietnam

Murina eleryi
Furey, Thong, Bates & Csorba 2009

Based on a series of 11 specimens collected in north Vietnam between 2006 and 2007, a new species of tube-nosed bat belonging to the genus Murina is described. Externally similar to Murina aurata Milne-Edwards, 1872, from which it differs primarily in dental characteristics, the new species is distinguished from all other existing species of Murina by a combination of its small size, pelage and craniodental features. It is currently known from three localities in north Vietnam, all of which include significant areas of forest over limestone karst.

Keywords: karst, Murina sp. nov., tube-nosed bats, taxonomy, Vietnam

Murina eleryi | Elery's Tube-nosed Bat


Furey, N.M.; Thong, V.D.; Bates, P.J.J.; Csorba, G. 2009. Description of a new species belonging to the Murina 'suilla-group' (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae: Murininae) from north Vietnam. Acta Chiropterologica. 11 (2): 225-236.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

[Ichthyology • 2013] A Review of the danionine Genera Rasboroides and Horadandia (Pisces: Cyprinidae), with Description of A New Species from Sri Lanka

The taxonomy of Rasboroides and Horadandia, two genera of small danionine cyprinids that occur in southern India and Sri Lanka, is reviewed. Rasboroides comprises four species, distinguished as follows: R. vaterifloris and R. nigromarginatus differ from their congeners by a lesser body depth (26.9-33.0 % SL); and from each other by a greater interorbital width in males (29-33 % HL vs. 17-22) and greater anal-fin depth in females (23.5-24.8 % SL vs. 17.4-22.7) of R. vaterifloris. Rasboroides pallidus differs from Rasboroides rohani, new species, by its smaller size (up to 24.6 mm vs. 35.5 mm SL), by possessing fewer scales in transverse line on body (1/2 6 1/2-1/2 7 1/2 vs. 1/2 8 1/2) and in lateral series (20-24 vs. 25-28). 
Rasboroides differs from Horadandia, its sister group, by the presence in males of a series of tubercles on the leading edge of the pectoral fin (absent in Horadandia) and by possessing 3 (vs. 2) rows of pharyngeal teeth, while the pharyngeal teeth of Horadandia are ornamented distally by a series of cusps, a character absent in Rasboroides. Horadandia brittani is recognized as a valid species, distinguished from H. atukorali by possessing a smaller eye (eye diameter 27-37 % HL, vs. 37-41) and having the dorsal-fin origin closer to the hypural notch (vs. midway between snout-tip and hypural notch). 
The genus Rasboroides is restricted to shaded rainforest streams in the south-western ‘wet zone’ (Kalu to Walawe Rivers) of Sri Lanka, whereas Horadandia occurs in the coastal floodplains of western Sri Lanka and southern India.

-:   Rasboroides Brittan, 1954   :-
Diagnosis. Rasboroides is distinguished from the two genera most closely related to it, viz. Trigonostigma and Horadandia (see Kottelat & Vidthayanon, 1993; Fang et al., 2009; Liao et al., 2010; Tang et al., 2010)

The gender of Rasboroides is masculine (see ICZN (1999), art. The genus is restricted to rainforest streams in south-western Sri Lanka, from the Kalu to the Walwe River basins.

• Rasboroides vaterifloris (Deraniyagala, 1930)
• Rasboroides nigromarginatus (Meinken, 1957)
• Rasboroides pallidus Deraniyagala, 1958
• Rasboroides rohani, new species, Batuwita, Silva & Edirisinghe, 2013
Etymology. The species is named in honour of Rohan Pethiyagoda, Founder of the Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka (WHT), for his special commitment to the ichthyofauna of Sri Lanka and India; and for continuing support of biodiversity research and conservation in Sri Lanka.

-:   Horadandia Deraniyagala, 1943   :-

 Horadandia has a wide distribution in the coastal floodplains of southern India, and southern and western Sri Lanka.

• Horadandia atukorali Deraniyagala, 1943
• Horadandia brittani Rema Devi & Menon, 1992

Batuwita, S., Silva, M.d. & Edirisinghe, U. 2013. A Review of the danionine Genera Rasboroides and Horadandia (Pisces: Cyprinidae), with Description of A New Species from Sri Lanka. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters. 24 (2): 121-140.

[Ichthyology • 2010] Betadevario ramachandrani • A New danionine Genus and Species (Teleostei: Cyprinidae: Danioninae) from the Western Ghats of India

Betadevario ramachandrani 
Pramod, Fang, Rema Devi, Liao, Indra, Jameela Beevi & Kullander 2010

Betadevario, new genus, with the single species B. ramachandrani, new species, from Karnataka, southwestern India, is closely related to Devario but differs from it in having two pairs of long barbels (vs. two pairs of short or rudimentary barbels, or barbels absent), wider cleithral spot which extends to cover three scales horizontally (vs. covering only one scale in width), long and low laminar preorbital process (vs. absent or a slender pointed spine-like process) along the anterior margin of the orbit, a unique flank colour pattern with a wide dark band along the lower side, bordered dorsally by a wide light stripe (vs. vertical bars, or stripes narrow and usually in greater number).

Key words: Karnataka, endemism, Devario, Danio, cytochrome b, rhodopsin, phylogeny

Pramod, P.K., F. Fang, K. Rema Devi, T.-Y. Liao, T.J. Indra, K.S. Jameela Beevi & S. O. Kullander. 2010. Betadevario ramachandrani, A New danionine Genus and Species from the Western Ghats of India (Teleostei: Cyprinidae: Danioninae). Zootaxa. 2519: 31-47.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

[Herpetology • 2013] Philautus nianeae • A New Philautus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from northern Laos allied to P. abditus from central Vietnam

Philautus nianeae
Stuart, Phimmachak, Seateun &  Sheridan 2013

The small rhacophorid frog Philautus abditus is geographically restricted to central Vietnam and adjacent Cambodia. Our fieldwork in northern Laos resulted in the discovery of a Philautus species that very closely resembles P. abditus, but is at least 330 km from the nearest known locality of that species. The Laos population differs from P. abditus in mitochondrial DNA and coloration, and is described here as a new species. Philautus nianeae sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by having the combination of a hidden tympanum; no nuptial pads; smooth skin; large black spots on the hidden surfaces of the hind limbs; light venter with dark spotting; and a bronze iris. A second species of Philautus from northern Laos, P. petilus, is transferred on the basis of morphology to the genus Theloderma.

Keywords: Laos; new species; Philautus abditus; Philautus petilus; Rhacophoridae

Etymology. The specific epithet is a matronym for Dr. Niane Sivongxay, Professor of Biology at the National University of Laos, co-collector of the species, and cherished friend and colleague of the authors.

Distribution and natural history. Philautus nianeae is known from three localities in Vientiane, Bolikhamxay, and Khammouan Provinces in northern Laos (Figure 1). In Vientiane Province, males were found during mid-May calling at night (2015–2130 h) on vegetation within 2 m of the ground and within 5 m of streams and riverbanks in disturbed semi-evergreen forest, sometimes mixed with bamboo, at 490–548 m elevation. In Bolikhamxay Province, a female and three juveniles were found during early March on rainy nights (1912–1952 h) 1 m above the ground on sapling leaves and palm fronds within 3 m of small rocky streams in semi-evergreen forest at 471–488 m elevation. In Khammouan Province, males were found during mid-May calling at night (2000–2110 h) on vegetation 1.5–4 m above the ground in semi-evergreen mixed with pine forest near the edge of open grassland at 972–979 m elevation. The Nam Ngum River at the type locality in Vientiane Province is under concession for a hydroelectric power project, making the persistence of the species at the type locality uncertain.

Stuart, Bryan L., Somphouthone Phimmachak, Sengvilay Seateun & Jennifer A. Sheridan. 2013. A New Philautus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from northern Laos allied to P. abditus Inger, Orlov & Darevsky, 1999. Zootaxa. 3745(1): 73-83.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

[Paleontology • 2013] Europelta carbonensis • The Basal Nodosaurid Ankylosaur from the Lower Cretaceous (Lower Albian) Escucha Formation of Northeastern Spain

 Europelta carbonensis Kirkland, Alcalá, Loewen, Espílez, Mampel, and Wiersma 2013

the Basal Nodosaurid Ankylosaur from the Lower Cretaceous (Lower Albian) Escucha formation, Pseudofrenolopsis dominated landscape, of Northeastern Spain

Nodosaurids are poorly known from the Lower Cretaceous of Europe. Two associated ankylosaur skeletons excavated from the lower Albian carbonaceous member of the Escucha Formation near Ariño in northeastern Teruel, Spain reveal nearly all the diagnostic recognized character that define nodosaurid ankylosaurs. These new specimens comprise a new genus and species of nodosaurid ankylosaur and represent the single most complete taxon of ankylosaur from the Cretaceous of Europe. These two specimens were examined and compared to all other known ankylosaurs. Comparisons of these specimens document that Europelta carbonensis n. gen., n. sp. is a nodosaur and is the sister taxon to the Late Cretaceous nodosaurids AnoplosaurusHungarosaurus, and Struthiosaurus, defining a monophyletic clade of European nodosaurids– the Struthiosaurinae.

Kirkland, Alcalá, Loewen, Espílez, Mampel, and Wiersma 2013 gen. nov. 

Etymology: Euro” as a contraction for Europe in regard to its origin and “pelta” Greek for shield, a common root for ankylosaurian genera; “Europe’s shield”.

  Europelta carbonensis  
Kirkland, Alcalá, Loewen, Espílez, Mampel, and Wiersma 2013 gen. et sp. nov. 

  Etymology: The specific name “carbonensis” from the coal, is in honor of access to the fossil locality in the Santa María coal mine provided by Sociedad Anónima Minera Catalano-Aragonesa (SAMCA Group), which has been extracting coal in Ariño (Teruel) since 1919.

The Basal Nodosaurid Ankylosaur Europelta carbonensis n. gen., n. sp. from the Lower Cretaceous (Lower Albian) Escucha formation, Pseudofrenolopsis dominated landscape, of Northeastern Spain | with Proa valdearinnoensis, Hulkepholis & Trachyaspis

James I. Kirkland, Luis Alcalá, Mark A. Loewen, Eduardo Espílez, Luis Mampel & Jelle P. Wiersma. 2013. The Basal Nodosaurid Ankylosaur Europelta carbonensis n. gen., n. sp. from the Lower Cretaceous (Lower Albian) Escucha Formation of Northeastern Spain. PLoS ONE. 8(12): e80405.