Tuesday, December 12, 2017

[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

[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

[Herpetology • 2017] Arthroleptis troglodytes Poynton, 1963 • The Rediscovery of A Lost Frog

 Arthroleptis troglodytes  Poynton, 1963
Becker & Hopkins, 2017 

The cave squeaker Arthroleptis troglodytes Poynton, 1963 was first collected in 1961/62, and not observed again for 54 years despite several attempts to locate it. We rediscovered this species near the type locality in the Chimanimani mountain range in eastern Zimbabwe. We describe for the first time the call and colour in life, and highlight several morphological and habitat features not previously recorded for this species.

Keywords: amphibian, Arthroleptis, high altitude, Possibly Extinct, taxonomy, Zimbabwe

Adult male Arthroleptis troglodytes.

Francois S. Becker and Robert W. Hopkins. 2017. The Rediscovery of A Lost Frog: Arthroleptis troglodytes Poynton, 1963.  African Zoology. 52(3); 183-187. DOI:  10.1080/15627020.2017.1370982

After 54 years in hiding, 'extinct' frog rediscovered in Zimbabwe   earthtouchnews.com/conservation/endangered/after-54-years-in-hiding-extinct-frog-rediscovered-in-zimbabwe/
Rare 'cave squeaker' frog seen in Zimbabwe for first time in 55 years  theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/05/return-of-zimbabwes-cave-squeaker-as-rare-frog-found-fifty-years-on

[Herpetology • 2017] Microkayla huayna • A New Species of Microkayla (Anura: Craugastoridae: Holoadeninae) from Department La Paz, Bolivia

Microkayla huayna
De la Riva, Cortez & Burrowes, 2017


We describe a new species of direct-developing frog of the genus Microkayla from the Cordillera Real of the Bolivian Andes, in the Department of La Paz. The new species, Microkayla huayna sp. nov., is closely related to M. teqta and can be distinguished from other species of the genus by its brown dorsal skin and the presence of a large dark brown vocal sac in males. This is the second species of Microkayla known from the Zongo Valley, and the ninth in the Cordillera Real, contributing to a total of 22 described species in Bolivia. Given its small distribution range, we recommend to considering it as Vulnerable according to IUCN criteria.

Keywords: Amphibia, Andes, Microkayla huayna, Terrarana, vocalizations

 Ignacio J. De la Riva, Claudia Cortez and Patricia A. Burrowes. 2017. A New Species of Microkayla (Anura: Craugastoridae: Holoadeninae) from Department La Paz, Bolivia. Zootaxa. 4363(3); 350–360.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4363.3.2

[Botany • 2017] Pinus vallartensis • A New Species (Pinaceae) from western Jalisco, Mexico

Pinus vallartensis Pérez de la Rosa & Gernandt

 Pérez de la Rosa & Gernandt. 2017
Illustration by G. Rodríguez  DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.331.2.7 


We propose and describe Pinus vallartensis Pérez de la Rosa & Gernandt as a new species from western Jalisco, Mexico. The pine occurs near the southern limit of the Sierra Occidental at the intersection of the municipalities of Puerto Vallarta, Cabo Corrientes, and Talpa de Allende. Pinus oocarpa occurs within the margins of this forest to the south and P. jaliscana to the west. The more distantly related pine, P. maximinoi, also occurs in the area. Pinus vallartensis is like P. jaliscana and P. oocarpa in possessing leaf resin canals in a septal condition and serotinous seed cones on slender peduncles. It is distinguished mainly by its small seed cones and lax foliage. This discovery highlights the exceptional diversity of pines in Mexico and the state of Jalisco.

Keywords: Gymnosperms, pine, Oocarpa Group, septal, ovoid cones

FIGURE 1. Pinus vallartensis sp. nov., A, seed cone, B, leaves, C, branch with leaves and pollen cones D, lateral view of cone scale, E, abaxial view of cone scale, F, adaxial view of cone scale, G, seeds with articulate wings.

 (Illustration by Gretchen Rodríguez, from J. A. Pérez de la Rosa & D. Gernandt 2134 in MEXU).

Pinus vallartensis Pérez de la Rosa & Gernandt, sp. nov. 

Type:—MEXICO. Jalisco: municipio de Puerto Vallarta, 100 m al sur de “Las Juntas” (arroyos Palo María y Chupalodo), elevation 423 m, 17 September 2016, J.A. Pérez de la Rosa & D. Gernandt 2134 (holotype: IBUG!; isotype MEXU!).

Diagnosis:— Similar to Pinus oocarpa and P. jaliscana, differing in its lax leaves and smaller seed cones that range in length from (2.2–)2.5–3(–4.0) cm.

Distribution:— To date, no hard pine (subgenus Pinus) with a more restricted population has been found in the state of Jalisco. The species is almost exclusive to the southern part of the municipality of Puerto Vallarta (Fig. 2). The populations are reached by ascending paths, and have a north-south and east-west exposure. At its southern limit the species enters the municipalities of Cabo Corrientes and Talpa de Allende, ... at elevations of 380–1347 m a.s.l.

Etymology:— The name of this pine is in honor of the municipality of Puerto Vallarta, where the main part of the population of this species is found. It seems to be the only pine that occurs in this municipality.

FIGURE 3. Photographs of three pines from the Oocarpa group with septal resin canals,
A, Pinus jaliscana seed cone (J.A. Pérez de la Rosa 1841), B, Pinus oocarpa seed cone (D.S. Gernandt 560), C, Pinus vallartensis seed cone (J.A. Pérez de la Rosa s.n.), D, Pinus jaliscana seed (J.A. Pérez de la Rosa 1841), E, Pinus oocarpa seed (D.S. Gernandt 560), F, Pinus vallartensis seed (J.A. Pérez de la Rosa s.n.). Bar = 1 cm. (Photos by D.S. Gernandt).

Jorge Pérez de la Rosa and David S. Gernandt. 2017. Pinus vallartensis (Pinaceae), A New Species from western Jalisco, Mexico. Phytotaxa.  331(2); 233–242.  DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.331.2.7

[Entomology • 2017] Systematics of the east Palaearctic Pear Psyllids (Hemiptera: Psylloidea) with Particular Focus on the Japanese and Korean Fauna

Cacopsylla jukyungi  (Kwon, 1983) 

Cho, Burckhardt, Inoue, Luo & Lee, 2017

The confused taxonomy of the east Palaearctic pear psyllids, serious pests on cultivated pear, is reviewed. Fifty-six nominal species have been reported from Pyrus, 25 of which we consider valid and ten as not being associated with Pyrus. Our taxonomic revision suggests that, in Korea, four Cacopsylla species develop on pear: the univoltine C. burckhardti Luo et al. previously misidentified as C. pyrisuga (Foerster), the polyvoltine, seasonally dimorphic C. jukyungi (Kwon) (winter form ‘cinereosignata’ Luo et al., summer form ‘jukyungi’), commonly found in Korean pear orchards, and C. maculatili Li (winter form ‘maculatili’, summer form ‘qiuzili’ Li) previously misidentified as C. pyricola (Foerster) by some authors, as well as the probably polyvoltine but not dimorphic C. sandolbaea (Park & Lee). The former three species (C. burckhardti, C. jukyungi, misidentified as C. chinensis (Yang & Li), and C. maculatili) occur also in Japan. Keys to the adult and fifth instar immatures as well as short biological notes are provided, and C. jukyungi and C. sandolbaea are redescribed. Following nomenclatorial changes are proposed: Cacopsylla betulaefoliae (Yang & Li, 1981) = Psylla heterobetulaefoliae Yang & Li, 1981, syn. nov.; Cacopsylla bidens (Šulc, 1907) = Psylla jiangli Yang & Li, 1981, syn. nov.; Cacopsylla jukyungi (Kwon) = C. cinereosignata Luo et al., syn. nov.; Cacopsylla maculatili Li = C. qiuzili Li, syn. nov.; Cacopsylla nigella (Konovalova), comb. nov. from Psylla. The synonymy of P. obongsana Kwon with C. sandolbaea is confirmed.

Keywords: Hemiptera, Psyllidae, Cacopsylla, taxonomy, host plant, Pyrus, Rosaceae, Manchurian pear, Asian pear, European pear, China, Japan, South Korea, Russian Far East

Fig 3: Cacopsylla jukyungi (adult female, summer form). 

  Geonho Cho, Daniel Burckhardt, Hiromitsu Inoue, Xinyu Luo and Seunghwan Lee. 2017. Systematics of the east Palaearctic Pear Psyllids (Hemiptera: Psylloidea) with Particular Focus on the Japanese and Korean Fauna. Zootaxa. 4362(1); 75–98. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4362.1.4

[Crustacea • 2017] Cherax acherontis • the First Cave Crayfish (Decapoda: Parastacidae) from the Southern Hemisphere (Papua Province, Indonesia)

Cherax acherontis 
Patoka, Bláha & Kouba, 2017


Cherax acherontis n. sp., is a crayfish endemic to the submerged river Yumugima in Hagepma/Jugurama cave in the New Guinea Highlands, Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Province, Indonesia. This species is the first cave crayfish from the Southern Hemisphere. The new species is most similar to Cherax monticola. Both species can be easily distinguished by certain morphological characteristics, which easily demonstrate Cacherontis n. sp. is a valid species.

Keywords: Crustacea, Yumugima crayfish, New Guinea, troglobiont, endemism, morphology

Jiří Patoka, Martin Bláha and Antonín Kouba. 2017. Cherax acherontis (Decapoda: Parastacidae), the First Cave Crayfish from the Southern Hemisphere (Papua Province, Indonesia). Zootaxa. 4363(1); 137–144.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4363.1.7

[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.  


[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  agenciasinc.es/Noticias/El-increible-viaje-de-la-primera-tortuga-africana-que-llego-a-Europa via @agencia_sinc

[PaleoMammalogy • 2017] Wakaleo schouteni • A New Oligo–Miocene Marsupial Lion from Australia and Revision of the Family Thylacoleonidae

Wakaleo schouteni Gillespie, Archer & Hand, 2017
challenging the thylacinid Nimbacinus dicksoni over a kangaroo carcass in the late Oligocene forest at Riversleigh  

illustration by Peter Schouten  DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2017.1391885 


Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov., a dog-sized marsupial lion (Thylacoleonidae), is described from late Oligocene to early Miocene sediments of the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, Queensland, Australia. Fossils of this new species include a near-complete cranium, dentaries and postcrania. This species is the second thylacoleonid known from late Oligocene sediments. The other, Priscileo pitikantensis Rauscher, 1987, from the Etadunna Formation of South Australia, is known from teeth, part of a palate and postcrania. Wakaleo schouteni exhibits cranial and dental morphology characteristic of species of Wakaleo but possesses a relatively plesiomorphic upper dental formula (i.e. three premolars and four molars) within Thylacoleonidae that was formerly regarded to be diagnostic for species of the genus Priscileo. The holotype and humerus of P. pitikantensis have been compared with the new Wakaleo material described here and found to demonstrate conspicuous similarities in morphology of the M2 and the humerus. In the absence of other generically diagnostic features, Priscileo is here regarded to be a junior synonym of Wakaleo. Smaller size and relatively minor morphological differences in the proximal humerus of W. pitikantensis comb. nov. distinguish it at the specific level from W. schouteni. Phylogenetic analysis of thylacoleonids recovers Wakaleo as a monophyletic clade. Both Wakaleo pitikantensis comb. nov. and W. schouteni are recovered as plesiomorphic sister taxa to other species of the genus. Wakaleo pitikantensis and W. schouteni extend the temporal range for this genus back into the late Oligocene. Body weight for W. schouteni, based on total skull length, is estimated to be ∼23 kg.

Keywords: marsupial lion, Thylacoleonidae, Oligocene–Miocene, taxonomy, Priscileo, Riversleigh

Systematic palaeontology

Class Marsupialia Illiger, 1811 

Order Diprotodontia Owen, 1866 
Suborder Vombatiformes Woodburne, 1984 

Family Thylacoleonidae Gill, 1872 

Genus Wakaleo Clemens & Plane, 1974 

Type species: Wakaleo oldfieldi Clemens & Plane, 1974 
Included species: Wakaleo vanderleueri Clemens & Plane, 1974; Wakaleo alcootaensis Archer & Rich, 1982; Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov.

  Reconstruction of Wakaleo schouteni challenging the thylacinid Nimbacinus dicksoni over a kangaroo carcass in the late Oligocene forest at Riversleigh.
(illustration by Peter Schouten).

Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov.

Derivation of name: Named in honour of Peter Schouten for his exceptional reconstructions of Australia's prehistoric animals, and in particular those from the Riversleigh WHA.

Craniodental and postcranial material of a new marsupial lion, Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov., is described from the Riversleigh WHA. Although this taxon has not reduced/lost the anterior upper premolars, previously regarded to be diagnostic for Wakaleo, it exhibits other Wakaleo apomorphies of the skull and molars. Comparison of the holotype of Priscileo pitikantensis Rauscher, 1987 from the Ngapakaldi LF with Wakaleo schouteni sp. nov. and other Wakaleo species reveals apomorphies of the M2 and similarities in humerus morphology that support its referral to Wakaleo. Priscileo pitikantensis is therefore regarded as a junior synonym of Wakaleo pitikantensis comb. nov. Wakaleo schouteni is distinguished from W. pitikantensis on the basis of its different proximal humerus morphology and larger size, being 10% larger in most dental measures. Markedly different sizes in a sample of humeri of W. schouteni suggest this species was sexually dimorphic. Retention of three upper premolars and four molars are symplesiomorphic features for Wakaleo and Priscileo but distinguish W. pitikantensis and W. schouteni from later species of this genus, all of which exhibit premolar and molar reduction. These two species are the most primitive members of the genus and indicate a pre-late Oligocene origin for the lineage.

Anna K. Gillespie, Michael Archer and Suzanne J. Hand. 2017. A New Oligo–Miocene Marsupial Lion from Australia and Revision of the Family Thylacoleonidae. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2017.1391885


Fossils of ancient marsupial lion discovered in north-west Queensland
AustralianGeographic.com.au/news/2017/12/fossils-of-ancient-marsupial-lion-discovered-in-north-west-queensland via @

Monday, December 11, 2017

[Ichthyology • 2017] Exostoma gaoligongense • A New Species of Sisorid Catfish of the Genus Exostoma from the Salween drainage, Yunnan, China

 Exostoma gaoligongense
Chen, Poly, Catania & Jiang, 2017

A new species of the sisorid catfish genus Exostoma Blyth, 1860 was collected from two hill-stream tributaries of the Nujiang (Salween River) drainage in Gaoligong Mountain, south-western Yunnan Province, China from 2003 to 2006 and from two tributaries of the Salween River in Cangyuan County, Lingcang Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China (in 2007) and in Yongde County, Lingcang Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China (in 2015). Exostoma gaoligongense sp. nov. is the 10th species of the genus and is most similar to E. vinciguerrae in morphology but can be distinguished by pelvic fin reaching anus vs. not reaching; maxillary barbels just reaching or slightly surpassing pectoral-fin origin vs. surpassing pectoral-fin origin or even reaching posterior end of gill membrane; abdominal vertebrae 23-25 vs. 25-27; length of dorsal fin/dorsal to adipose distance 90.3%-287.0% vs. 59.2-85.7. A key to Exostoma spp. is provided.

Keywords: Glyptosterninae; Sisoridae; Nujiang; Gaoligong Mountain; Yunnan

Figure 1: Holotype of Exostoma gaoligongense sp. nov. (KIZ 200310738); lateral (top), dorsal (middle), and ventral (bottom) views (photos by Xiao-Yong Chen)

Exostoma gaoligongense sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific name is an adjective that refers to the Gaoligong Mountain in which the type locality is located, and the suffix agrees in gender with the generic name Exostoma (gender neuter).

Notes on biology: This species was collected from shallow water ( < 1 m deep) in a fast flowing stream with clear water. Water temperature was 18.8 ℃, water pH 6.95, conductivity 45.6 μS/cm. The bottom substrate was boulders, cobbles, gravel, and sand with many diatoms that made the rocks slippery. This species was obtained from fast water and small waterfalls. The new species of Exostoma seems to have much lower tolerance to either low dissolved oxygen or to stress from electrofishing than Pseudexostoma brachysoma Chu, 1979, which occurs in the same habitat. After shocking sampling on 7 October 2003, all the Exostoma were dead, whereas all the individuals of P. brachysoma survived until the next morning.

Xiao-Yong Chen, William J. Poly, David Catania and Wan-Sheng Jiang. 2017. A New Species of Sisorid Catfish of the Genus Exostoma from the Salween drainage, Yunnan, China. Zoological Research. 38(5);  291-299. ZooRres.ac.cn/article/2017/1358/ZoolRes-38-5-291.html
A Chinese biologist’s 14-year quest to prove his new catfish species  scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2123595/chinese-biologist-proves-his-myanmar-discovery-new-catfish via @SCMP_News

[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