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


Abstract

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.


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


Microkayla huayna
De la Riva, Cortez & Burrowes, 2017


Abstract

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
  

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


Cherax acherontis 
Patoka, Bláha & Kouba, 2017

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract
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 

Abstract

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.


Conclusions
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 @
AusGeo

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

    
Abstract
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

Abstract

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] Vadasaurus herzogi • A New Rhynchocephalian (Reptilia: Lepidosauria) from the Late Jurassic of Solnhofen (Germany) and the Origin of the Marine Pleurosauridae


Vadasaurus herzogi
 Bever & Norell, 2017

DOI:  10.1098/rsos.170570  

Abstract

A new rhynchocephalian is described based on a recently discovered and well-preserved specimen from the Late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian) marine limestones of Solnhofen, Bavaria. Phylogenetic analysis recovers the new taxon as the sister group to Pleurosauridae, a small radiation of rhynchocephalians representing the oldest marine invasion of crown-clade Lepidosauria. The relatively strong evidence for this taxonomically exclusive lineage, within a generally volatile rhynchocephalian tree, places the new taxon in a position to inform the early history of the pleurosaur transition to the sea. The early steps in this transition are distributed throughout the skeleton and appear to increase hydrodynamic efficiency for both swimming and aquatic feeding. This early history may also have included a global truncation of plesiomorphic ontogenetic trajectories that left a number of skeletal features with reduced levels of ossification/fusion. The exact degree to which Vadasaurus had adopted an aquatic ecology remains unclear, but the insight it provides into the origin of the enigmatic pleurosaurs exemplifies the potential of Rhynchocephalia for generating and informing broad-based questions regarding the interplay of development, morphology, ecology and macroevolutionary patterns.

KEYWORDSBavaria, marine reptile, secondarily aquatic, skeletal development, sphenodon, tiatethys



Figure 1. Holotype of Vadasaurus herzogi (AMNH FARB 32768) collected from the Late Jurassic marine limestones of Solnhofen, Bavaria. The skull, forelimbs, and first 18 presacral vertebrae and ribs are exposed in the dorsal or dorsolateral view. Posteriorly, the skeleton is rotated approximately 180°, making it visible largely in the ventral view. Left hindlimb is exposed in the dorsal view.
Anatomical abbreviations: As, astragalus; Ca, calcaneum; Cdv, caudal vertebra; Co, coracoid; Cr, cervical rib; Cv, cervical vertebra; D, dentary; Dv, dorsal vertebra; F, femur; Fb, fibula; Fr, frontal; Ga, gastralia; H, humerus; I, intermedium; Is, ischium; l, left; Mc, metacarpal; Mt, metatarsal; Mx, maxilla; Ph, phalanx; Pu, pubis; R, radius; r, right; S, scapula; Sc, sternal cartilage; Ss, suprascapular cartilage; Sv, sacral vertebra; T, tibia; U, ulna.

Figure 2. The skull of Vadasaurus herzogi (AMNH FARB 32768). Photographs in the dorsolateral (a) and lateral (b) views; labelled line drawing in the dorsolateral view (c); reconstructions of lateral and dorsal views (d).

Anatomical abbreviations: An, angular; Ar, articular; cp, cultriform process; Cv, cervical vertebra; D, dentary; dd, dentary dentition; Ecp, ectopterygoid; Ept, epipterygoid; exn, external naris; Fr, frontal; Hy, hyobranchial element; if, incisiform fang; Ju, jugal; mf, mandibular foramen; Mx, maxilla; Na, nasal; Pa, parietal; Pal, palatine; paf, parietal foramen; Pf, prefrontal; Pm, premaxilla; Po, postorbital; Pof, postfrontal; Pr, prootic; Pra, prearticular; Pt, pterygoid; Q, quadrate; Qj, quadratojugal; Sa, surangular; sof, suborbital fenestra; Sq, squamosal; Vo, vomer.


Systematic palaeontology

Lepidosauria Haekel, 1866 
Rhynchocephalia Günther, 1867 

Vadasaurus herzogi gen. et sp. no.

  Etymology: Generic name from the Latin vadare to go forth’, which is also the root of ‘to wade’—refers to the taxon's hypothesized phylogenetic position near the proximal end of a terrestrial-to-marine transformation series that produced the aquatic pleurosaurs—and saurus lizard’. The specific epithet honours the celebrated Bavarian film-maker Werner Herzog for his continuing exploration of the relationship between life and time.

Holotype: AMNH FARB 32768, a nearly complete and largely articulated skeleton (figures 1–3). Like most specimens preserved in lithographic limestone, it exhibits compressional effects that include the flattening and shearing of composite structures and the slight displacement of certain elements. Individual bones, however, are preserved largely in three dimensions.



Gabriel S. Bever and Mark A. Norell. 2017. A New Rhynchocephalian (Reptilia: Lepidosauria) from the Late Jurassic of Solnhofen (Germany) and the Origin of the Marine Pleurosauridae.  Royal Society Open Science. 4(11):170570  DOI:  10.1098/rsos.170570 


 The fossil was recovered from Kimmeridgian-aged (a subdivision of the Late Jurrasic) marine limestones in the Solnhofen municipality of Bavaria, Germany. They belong to an up until now unknown species dubbed Vadasaurus herzogi, and belongs to the Rhynchocephalia lizard order, a close relative of a small group of ancient reptiles called pleourosaurs (genus Pleurosaurus).
Fossilized ancient lizard shows how dinos evolved to live in the oceans 
zmescience.com/science/ancient-lizard-dino-evolve-ocean-0432/ @zmescience

Saturday, December 9, 2017

[Ichthyology • 2017] Redescription of the Bump-head Sunfish Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839), senior synonym of Mola ramsayi (Giglioli 1883), with Designation of A Neotype for Mola mola (Linnaeus 1758) (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae)


Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839)

Sawai, Yamanoue, Nyegaard & Sakai, 2017. 

Abstract
The genus Mola of ocean sunfishes (family Molidae) is currently composed of three species: Mola mola (Linnaeus 1758), Mola ramsayi (Giglioli 1883), and Mola tecta Nyegaard et al. 2017. For a comprehensive revision of the genus, both literature survey and morphological investigations of Molidae were conducted. We found Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839) to be synonymous with M. ramsayi and we herein redescribe M. alexandrini based on the rediscovered dried holotype and 21 other fresh and preserved specimens. Mola alexandrini can be distinguished from other species of Mola by the following combination of characters in adults: head profile with bump; chin with bump; body scales rectangular; clavus rounded, supported by 14–24 (mode 17) clavus fin rays and 8–15 (12) ossicles on the rear margin. A neotype of M. mola is designated for comparison with M. alexandrini, as these two species have long been confused.

Keywords: Morphology, Neotype, Ocean sunfish, Redescription, Synonymy 

Mola alexandrini  bump-head sunfish

photo: Hasama Underwater Park 

Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839)
(Japanese name: Ushi-manbo; New English name: Bump-head sunfish)  

Orthragoriscus alexandrini Ranzani 1839:...
Orthragoriscus ramsayi Giglioli 1883:...
Orthagoriscus mola: Williams 1893:...
Masturus lanceolatus (not of Liénard): Gudger 1937: ...

Mola mola (not of Linnaeus): ...
Mola ramsayi: Whitley 1931...
Mola ramsayi Atlantic group: Bass et al. 2005: ....

Mola mola group A: Yoshita et al. 2005: 171.
Mola sp. group A: Yoshita et al. 2009: ....
Mola sp. A: Sawai et al. 2009....

Distribution and ecological notes. Mola alexandrini is widely distributed in the world’s oceans except for the polar regions (Fig. 5a; ESM Table S1); collected from waters off Japan, Taiwan, Galápagos Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Oman, and Spain (Yamanoue et al. 2004, 2010; Bass et al. 2005; Sagara et al. 2005; Yoshita et al. 2005, 2009; Sawai et al. 2009, 2011, 2017a; Yamanoue and Sawai 2012; Thys et al. 2013, Ahuir-Baraja et al. 2017; Nyegaard et al. 2017). Mola alexandrini presumably prefers warmer water temperatures than inhabited by Mola mola; in waters off the Sanriku coast of Japan, sea surface temperatures during the occurrence of M. alexandrini (16.8–25.6°C, average 19.9°C) were on average higher than during the occurrence of M. mola (11.5–25.6°C, average 17.7°C) (Sawai et al. 2011).


Etsuro Sawai, Yusuke Yamanoue, Marianne Nyegaard and Yoichi Sakai. 2017. Redescription of the Bump-head Sunfish Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839), senior synonym of Mola ramsayi (Giglioli 1883), with Designation of A Neotype for Mola mola (Linnaeus 1758) (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae). Ichthyological Research.  DOI: 10.1007/s10228-017-0603-6



World’s heaviest bony fish identified and correctly named
Researchers clear up confusion between taxonomy of multiple species of ocean sunfishes

Thursday, December 7, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Ophiodes enso • A New and Microendemic Species of Ophiodes Wagler, 1828 (Sauria: Diploglossinae) from the Lagoa dos Patos Estuary, Southern Brazil


Ophiodes enso 
Entiauspe-Neto, Quintela, Regnet, Teixeira, Silveira & Loebmann, 2017

  DOI: 10.1670/17-007 

Abstract
Ophiodes Wagler, 1828, is a poorly known legless lizard genus, widely distributed across South America east of the Andes, and composed of five described species and other additional taxa that have not been formally described but are widely referred to in recent publications. After reviewing major herpetological collections in Rio Grande do Sul and conducting fieldwork for more than 2 decades in the Lagoa dos Patos Estuary, we came across a new species of Ophiodes, herein described. The new species is diagnosed from its congeners based on the combination of a dorsum with three wide, dark brown longitudinal stripes and two pairs of conspicuous light yellow stripes, one pair paravertebral and another dorsolateral; dark vertebral line absent; background coloration of sides light gray with four to five pale and narrow longitudinal stripes; ventral region uniformly light gray; hind limb extending to the posterior vent scale margin; small eyes, smaller than half of snout–ocular distance; supralabials with well-defined, although small, supralabial blotches, restricted to their outer margins. We also provide comments on its distribution range and propose that a “Critically Endangered” CR B1b (i,ii,iii) extinction risk classification should be officially assessed and given.

FIG. 1. Holotype of Ophiodes enso sp. n. (CHFURG 3589) exhibiting coloration in life.


Ophiodes enso sp. nov.
Ophiodes vertebralis — Lema, 1994:65; Quintela et al., 2006:61.
 Ophiodes sp. — Quintela and Loebmann, 2009:40; Quintela et al., 2011:59. 

Etymology.— The species name refers to the Japanese-Buddhism Enso (円相) symbol, a hand-drawn circle made in a single or double brushstroke that closely resembles the silhouette of a Ophiodes specimen (Fig. 2). Also noteworthy is that type series of O. enso sp. n. was discovered during the El Niño Southern Oscillation event of 2015 (popularly known as ENSO, which is marked by heavy rainfall), and that event culminated in the movement of the aforementioned type series into the Lagoa dos Patos shores. This is also the first species to be discovered as a result of the ENSO phenomenon.

Distribution and Natural History.— The new species is known only from three localities at the Lagoa dos Patos estuary; ...., all located at the Holocene sandbanks of the Coastal Plains of Rio Grande do Sul in the Pampa biome (Fig. 5). A description of the vegetation and composition of the Lagoa dos Patos estuary is provided by Verrastro et al. (2003).




Omar Machado Entiauspe-Neto, Fernando Marques Quintela, Ruth Anastasia Regnet, Victor Hugo Teixeira, Franck Silveira and Daniel Loebmann. 2017. A New and Microendemic Species of Ophiodes Wagler, 1828 (Sauria: Diploglossinae) from the Lagoa dos Patos Estuary, Southern Brazil. Journal of Herpetology. 51(4); 515-522.  DOI: 10.1670/17-007

Resumo: Ophiodes Wagler, 1828, é um gênero de lagartos ápodos pouco conhecido, amplamente distribuído na América do Sul à leste dos Andes. O gênero é composto de cinco espécies e outros taxons ainda não formalmente reconhecidos, embora referenciados em publicações recentes. Após revisar coleções herpetológicas no Rio Grande do Sul e conduzir trabalho de campo por mais de duas décadas no Estuário da Lagoa dos Patos encontramos uma nova espécie de Ophiodes, aqui descrita. A nova espécie é diferenciada de seus congêneres com base na combinação de um dorso com três largas listras longitudinais marrom escuras e duas listras conspícuas amarelo-claras, um par composto de uma paravertebral e outra dorsolateral; linha vertebral escura ausente; coloração de fundo nos lados cinza claro, com quatro à cinco listras longitudinais e estreitas; região ventral cinza claro uniforme; membro posterior estendendo-se até a margem posterior da escama cloacal; olhos pequenos, menores que metade da distância entre focinho e olho; supralabiais com manchas bem definidas e pequenas, restritas à suas margens exteriores. Também apresentamos comentários sobre sua distribuição, e propomos que o seu status de conservação seja definido oficialmente como “Criticamente em Perigo” CR B1b (i,ii,iii).


[Herpetology • 2017] Liolaemus tirantii & L. calliston • New Species of Liolaemus (Squamata, Liolaemini) of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade from northwestern Patagonia, Neuquén Province, Argentina


Liolaemus tirantii 
Avila, Perez, Minoli, Medina, Sites & Morando, 2017


Abstract

Two new species of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade are described. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. and Liolaemus calliston sp. nov. differ from other members of their clade by a combination of coloration characters, morphometric and molecular traits. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. is known from three localities separated only a few kilometers from each other and Liolaemus calliston sp. nov. is known only from the type locality. Both species inhabit a region strongly impacted by oil and gas extraction but their conservation status is unknown.

Keywords: Reptilia, Argentina, Liolaemidae, Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov., Liolaemus calliston sp. nov., Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade, Northwestern Patagonia




Luciano Javier Avila, Cristian Hernán Fulvio Perez, Ignacio Minoli, Cintia Debora Medina, Jack W. Jr. Sites and Mariana Morando. 2017. New Species of Liolaemus (Reptilia, Squamata, Liolaemini) of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade from northwestern Patagonia, Neuquén Province, Argentina. Zootaxa. 4362(4); 535–563. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4362.4.4