Friday, November 27, 2015

A new milliped: Ceratosphys cryodeserti

A large group of millipedes with about 1200 species forms the order Chordeumatida, a name that was derived from the Greek word for sausage. These relatively short-bodied millipeds are occurring on all continents except Antarctica. 

The new species was found in the Sierra Nevada in Spain and its name means “of the cold desert” and refers to the high altitude habitat it lives in.

For the experts: Millipedes (Diplopoda), with a few notable exceptions, are poor dispersers, showing a very high degree of endemicity, not the least in mountains. The first samplings of the Mesovoid Shallow Substratum (MSS) of the higher altitudes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Baetic System, Southern Spain) have led to the discovery of a high number of millipedes, each of the species present showing a different degree of establishment in this subterranean environment. An update of the knowledge on the millipedes of this region, the first data of the millipede communities in the MSS and the description of Ceratosphys cryodeserti Gilgado, Mauriès & Enghoff n. sp. are here provided, as well as the first data on the humidity and temperature fluctuations in the MSS of this high mountain. The new species is similar to other Baetico-Riffan species, while the only previously known congener from the region, C. soutadei Mauriès, 1969, has more similarities to certain Pyrenean species. Biogeographical relationships of all the captured species are also discussed.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A new crown wasp: Pseudomegischus notiochinensis

Crown wasps or Stephanidae are a family of parasitoid wasps that are noted for a semicircular to circular set of projections around the middle ocellus (simple eye), forming a "crown" on the head. The wasps are parasitoids of wood eating beetle larvae, mostly from the families Cerambycidae and Buprestidae, though some Curculionidae and occasional hymenopteran hosts are taken.

The new species Pseudomegischus notiochinensis was named after the country of origin, “notios” being Greek for “southern”.

For the experts: The genus Pseudomegischus van Achterberg, 2002, is newly reported from China. A new species, P. notiochinensis sp. n., is described and illustrated from southern China. A key to the species of Pseudomegischus is included.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A new cichlid: Ptychochromis mainty

My personal favorites are fishes from the family Cichlidae. This group comprises of perhaps 2000-3000 very diverse freshwater species. This makes them one of the largest vertebrate families. 

Almost all of these fishes occur in the southern hemisphere. They have long been an important source of food for humans with the consequence that in places such as Lake Tanganyika, they are so overfished that they are in danger of disappearing. Outside the southern hemisphere, the cichlids are known mostly to tropical-fish enthusiasts through a couple of colorful representatives, e.g. the discus or the freshwater angelfish. However, nowadays people will likely know cichlids from tilapia which are increasingly farmed as a food source in the northern hemisphere. 

Today's newcomer belongs to a small genus that is endemic to Madagascar - Ptychochromis. The species was named after the Malagasy word for black, mainty, referring to the species’ uniform dark
pigmentation pattern in preservation and large black midlateral blotch in life.

For the experts: We describe a new species in the endemic Malagasy cichlid genus Ptychochromis. Ptychochromis mainty, new species, is known from four individuals, all collected in the Fort Dauphin region of southeastern Madagascar, and shares a palatine morphology (eastern-type palatine) with other eastern congeners. Ptychochromis mainty is distinguished from all congeners by a nearly uniform dark brown to black pigmentation pattern in preservation and by the presence of a relatively continuous and expansive black longitudinal midlateral blotch in life, extending from the posterior margin of the opercle to the caudal peduncle. The new species is further distinguished from other eastern Ptychochromis species by having minimal or no overlap of the first supraneural with the dorsoposterior region of the supraoccipital crest (vs. marked overlap). We present a molecular-based phylogeny for all available Ptychochromis species, which supports the hypothesis that P. mainty is a distinct taxon. The new species is recovered as the sister taxon to P. grandidieri within a clade comprising species with an eastern-type palatine morphology. We present a geometric morphometric analysis that provides additional evidence to distinguish P. mainty from congeners.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Three new geometer moths: Hagnagora richardi, H. hedwigae, H. mirandahenrichae

Many of the Caterpillars of the Geometridae pull their bodies into loops as they move. These Caterpillars lack the first two or three pairs of prolegs, so that looping is their best means of progression. It is this movement that gave them their name which is Latin and means "earth measurer". They are also very often called Inch Worms because they measure off one inch at a time as they progress. This method of progression has been suggested as being specially suitable for moving over rough terrain.

The three new species were found in Ecuador and Costa Rica and named after several sponsors (Mr Richard Philipp, Mrs Hedwig Seppelt, Ms. Miranda Henrich), of the taxonomic research on Geometrids.

For the experts: Three new Hagnagora Druce species (Geometridae, Larentiinae) are described: Hagnagora richardi Brehm, sp. n. from Ecuador, H. hedwigae Brehm, sp. n. from Ecuador, and H. mirandahenrichae Brehm, sp. n. from Costa Rica. A checklist of taxa assigned to Hagnagora is provided. Hagnagora is provisionally divided into six clades: the anicata clade (6 species), the buckleyi clade (3 species), the croceitincta clade (3 species), the ephestris clade (3 species), the mortipax clade (4 species) and H. subrosea (1 species). Two taxa are revived from synonymy: H. catagrammina Druce, stat. rev. and H. luteoradiata Thierry-Mieg, stat. rev. Two taxa are reinstated from subspecies to species level: H. acothysta Schaus, stat. rev. and H. jamaicensis Schaus, stat. rev. Four taxa are provisionally removed from Hagnagora: “Hagnagora” ignipennis, “Hagnagora” mesenata, “Hagnagora” vittata, and “Hagnagora” ceraria. After these changes, the genus Hagnagora now comprises 20 valid species.

I thought I throw this in as well:

A new copopod: Mexiclopina campechana

Copepods are small, planktonic animals living both in the sea and in freshwater habitats. Cyclopoids are an order of copepods that is distinguished from other copepods by having shorter first antennae than the length of their head and body.

Cyclopoid copepods play an important role in aquatic food webs as either primary consumers or predators.  They often are also an important source of food for larval, juvenile, and adult fish of many species. Cyclopoids are intermediate hosts of many parasitic worms (tapeworms, cestodes, roundworms) that infect vertebrates, including humans.

The new species Mexiclopina campechana belongs to a new genus that was named after Mexico. The species is named after the state of Campeche in southeast Mexico, where the species was found.

For the experts: A new, monotypic genus of the interstitial marine cyclopoid copepod family Cyclopinidae G.O. Sars, 1913 is described from male and female specimens collected at Laguna de Términos, a large coastal lagoon system in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Mexiclopina campechana gen. et sp. n. cannot be adequately placed in any extant genus within the family. It differs from other cyclopinid genera in having a unique combination of characters including: 1) absence of modified brush-like seta on the mandibular exopod; 2) maxillule exopod with stout setal elements and brush-like setae absent; 3) basis of mandible with one seta; 4) presence of a modified seta on endopod of fourth leg; 5) fifth leg exopod unsegmented, armed with three elements in the female and five in the male; 6) intercoxal sclerite of first swimming leg with two medial spiniform processes on distal margin. The new genus is monotypic and appears to be most closely related to Cyclopina Claus, 1863 and Heptnerina Ivanenko & Defaye, 2004; the new species was compared with species of Cyclopina and it resembles C. americana Herbst, 1982 and C. caissara Lotufo, 1994. This is the second record of a species of Cyclopinidae in Mexico and the first in the Gulf of Mexico; the number of cyclopinid species recorded from the Americas is now 13.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A new harvestman: Iandumoema smeagol

Opiliones is an order of arachnids commonly known as harvestmen or daddy longlegs. About 6 500 species of harvestmen have been described so far but estimates put the total number of species to more than 10 000.

Named after Tolkien's character from the "Lord of the Rings" series, a new eyeless harvestman species was found to crawl in a humid cave in southeastern Brazil. Never getting out of its subterranean home, the new daddy longlegs species is the most highly modified representative among its close relatives. In case you are not familiar with Tolkiens work, Smeagol, is the original name of Gollum who spend a long time of his life in the caves located below the Misty Mountains of Middle-earth of the Lord of the Rings book.

For the experts: A new species of troglobitic harvestman, Iandumoema smeagol sp. n., is described from Toca do Geraldo, Monjolos municipality, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Iandumoema smeagol sp. n. is distinguished from the other two species of the genus by four exclusive characteristics – dorsal scutum areas with conspicuous tubercles, enlarged retrolateral spiniform tubercle on the distal third of femur IV, eyes absent and the penial ventral process slender and of approximately the same length of the stylus. The species is the most highly modified in the genus and its distribution is restricted only to caves in that particular area of Minas Gerais state. The type locality is not inside a legally protected area, and there are anthropogenic impacts in its surroundings. Therefore, Iandumoema smeagol sp. n. is vulnerable and it must be considered in future conservation projects.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A new springtail: Paratullbergia changfengensis

Springtails, or collembola, are tiny arthropods. Their size ranges from 0.25 to 6 mm. Springtails normally live in damp soil. They eat mold and fungus.

They get their name from a spring-loaded structure, called the furcula, located on the underside of their abdomen. Most species have an tail-like appendage, the furcula, that is folded beneath the body to be used for jumping when the animal is threatened. It is held under tension by a small structure and when released, snaps against the ground, flinging the springtail into the air. All of this takes place in as little as 18 milliseconds and a jump can cover 10 centimeters.

This new species from China was named after the Changfeng Park where the type specimens were collected.

For the experts: The genus Paratullbergia Womersley, 1930 is recorded for the first time from China. Paratullbergia changfengensis sp. n. from Shanghai is described and illustrated. It is characterized by the presence of 1+1 pseudocelli on thoracic segment I, with two pairs of pseudocelli on each of thoracic segments II and III, presence of seta px on abdominal segment IV, seta a2 and p4 on abdominal segment V as microsetae, and less differentiated sensory seta p3 on abdominal segment V. Both sexes present. The new species can be easily distinguished from its congeners by the presence of pseudocelli on thoracic segment I. An updated key to the world species of the genus Paratullbergia is provided.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A new wrasse: Terelabrus dewapyle

The fish family of the wrasses or Labridae is a particular large group of marine fishes. It contains over 600 species of mostly smaller (<20cm) and often colourful fish that are associated with coral reefs or rocky shores. Juveniles of some species hide among the tentacles of mushroom coral.

Wrasses are carnivores, feeding on a wide range of small invertebrates. Many smaller species follow the feeding trails of larger fish, picking up invertebrates disturbed by their passing. A lot of labrid species are common in both public and home aquaria. 

The name of the new species is a combination of the surnames of Mr. Shin-ichi Dewa and Dr Richard L. Pyle who collected all type specimens in Japan.

For the experts: A new labrid fish Terelabrus dewapyle sp. nov. is described as the second species of the genus, on the basis of five specimens collected from southern Japan, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji in depths of 72–92 m. The sole paratype of T. rubrovittatus Randall & Fourmanoir 1998 is herein identified as T. dewapyle and designated as a paratype of the latter. The new species can be distinguished from T. rubrovittatus by the following characters: lower number of scale rows in the longitudinal series (41 or 42 vs. 45–48 in the latter), fewer pored lateral-line scales (39 or 40 vs. 43–45), and fewer gill rakers (12 or 13 vs. 14 or 15); a broader space between the anteroventral margin of the orbit and the maxilla [least distance 1.2– 3.7% (mean 2.5%) SL vs. 0.5–2.3% (1.6%)]; no red blotches on the midlateral red stripe in adults and young (vs. 8–10 red blotches superimposed on midlateral red stripe in adults); no yellow band on the dorsal fin (vs. broad vivid yellow band submarginally on the dorsal fin in adults, pale yellow band in young); a vivid yellow (vs. white) space between the upper and midlateral red stripes; and a black blotch superimposed on the midlateral red stripe on the opercle in young, the black blotch fading with growth (vs. black blotch absent or indistinct).

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A new snakefly: Inocellia indica

Snakeflies are related to lacewings. The adult has a long thorax and is able to raise the head above the rest of the body which gives it the appearance of a snake ready to strike. Their larvae live under the bark of forest, ornamental and fruit trees and can be very helpful predators in fruit orchards as they feed on wood-boring insects, small insects such as aphids and caterpillars, and various insect eggs. Adults also are predaceous and feed on aphids or other small, prey. 

The specific name refers to the geographical distribution of this new species which is currently known only from India.

For the experts: A new species of the snakefly genus Inocellia Schneider, 1843 from northeastern India is described: Inocellia indica sp. nov. The new taxon represents the second species of Raphidioptera from the northeastern part of the Indian Subcontinent and appears to be closely related to I. bhutana Aspöck, Aspöck & Rausch, 1991 from neighboring Bhutan.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A new catfish: Curculionichthys coxipone

Another new member of the family Loricariidae. Actually I am introducing only one of three new species that belong to a newly formed genus. Being close relatives within the same genus, eight catfishes showed a number of external differences, such as characteristic elongated mouths, hinting to their separate origin. Following a thorough morphological as well as molecular analysis, a team of researchers suggested that five previously known species along with the three new ones, need a new genus to accommodate for this. 

The name Curculionichthys for the proposed genus was formed by the Latin word for "elongated snout" and the suffix "ichthys" meaning "fishes" in Greek. The species name coxipone refers to the Coxiponé indigenous people who inhabit the margins of Rio Cuiabá, near to the municipality of Cuiabá in Mato Grosso State, Brazil. 

For the experts: The genus Hisonotus was resurrected as a member of the tribe Otothyrini (actually subfamily Otothyrinae). However, phylogenetic studies based on morphological and molecular data showed that Hisonotus is not monophyletic and independent lineages can be identified, such as the group composed of the species H. insperatus, H. luteofrenatus, H. oliveirai, H. paresi and H. piracanjuba, a lineage unrelated to that containing the type species of the genus Hisonotus (H. notatus). Herein, based in molecular and morphological data, a new genus is described to accommodate the lineage mentioned above, into which are also added three new species. This new genus can be distinguished from other genera of Otothyrinae by the following combination of characters: (1) a pair of rostral plates at the tip of the snout; (2) two large pre-nasal plates just posterior to the rostral plates; (3) a supra-opercular plate that receives the laterosensory canal from the compound pterotic before the preopercle; (4) a well developed membrane at anal opening in females; and (5) a V-shaped spinelet. A key to species of Curculionichthys is provided.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A new litter frog: Leptolalax isos

Litter frogs are a large family of frogs native to the warm southeast of Asia. The group contains at least 180 species. Litter frogs are notable for their camouflage, especially those that live in forests, which often look like dead leaves, hence the name litter frog referring to leaf litter. The camouflage is accurate to the point of some having skin folds that look like leaf veins, and at least one species, the long-nosed horned frog (Megophrys montana) has sharp projections extending past the eye and nose, which disguise its frog shape.

The genus Leptolalax is widely distributed in southeastern and eastern Asia and comprises of typically small frogs with a cryptic colour pattern and no obvious morphological characters. The new species was found on the Kon Tum Plateau of Vietnam and adjacent Cambodia. Its name was derived from the Greek word isos, meaning equal or like, in reference to the similarity of the
new species to another congener Leptolalax firthi.

For the experts: We describe a new, medium-sized Leptolalax species from the Kon Tum Plateau of Vietnam and adjacent Cambodia. Leptolalax isos sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of an absence of distinct dark brown/black dorsolateral markings; toes with rudimentary webbing, wide lateral dermal fringes in males and weak or absent lateral dermal fringes in females; most males with wide lateral dermal fringes on Finger II, a body size of 23.7–27.9 mm in 38 adult males and 28.6–31.5 mm in 9 adult females, near immaculate white chest and belly; absence of white speckling on the dorsum; and a call consisting of 2–3 notes with a dominant frequency of 5.9–6.2 kHz (at 22.4–22.8º C). Uncorrected sequence divergences between L. isos sp. nov. and all homologous 16S rRNA sequences available are >10%. At present, the new species is known from montane evergreen forest between ~650–1100 m elevation in northeastern Cambodia and central Vietnam. Habitat within the range of the new species is threatened by deforestation and upstream hydroelectric dams.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A new squat lobster: Galathea ryuguu

Squat lobsters are often very colourful and have attracted the attention of pirates, explorers and naturalists ever since the first global exploration voyages in the early 15th century. They are characterized by having a compressed and elongated head and thorax covered by a rigid exoskeleton, an abdomen tucked under the thorax and a large and elongated pair of front claws.

As well as being used for human consumption, there is demand for squat lobster meat as feed in fish, shrimp or prawn farms. This is in part because they contain astaxanthin, a pigment that helps to colour the meat of farmed salmon and trout.

Galathea is one of the largest genera of squat lobsters comprising of 70 species. The name of the newest member is derived from the Japanese “Ryuguu” (Sea God’s Palace), in reference to the vivid colors of the new species and its host sea fan both representing an image of secret beauty in the sea. 

For the experts: A new shallow-water squat lobster, Galathea ryuguu, is described on the basis of material obtained from a colony of unidentified sea fan of the genus Muricella Verrill, 1868. The new species is most closely allied to G. squamea Baba, 1979, but is distinguished by the ornamentation and armature of the carapace, third maxilliped, and ambulatory legs. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A new blind cusk eel: Paraphyonus iselini

Blind cusk eels are small fishes, typically not longer than 10 cm long when fully grown. They have transparent, gelatinous skin, and no scales.  Many species show a number of features as adults that are more commonly associated with fish larvae, e.g. the skeleton is only partially calcified, and the muscles and gills are underdeveloped. The eyes, nasal organ, and lateral line are also reduced, and they lack a swim bladder. They are deep-sea fishes, living between 2,000 m and 6,000 m depth.

The new species which also belongs to a newly desribed genus was named after the R/V Columbus Iselin from which a number of these deep sea inhabitants have been caught.

For the experts: The cosmopolitan, deep sea, aphyonid genus Aphyonus is known from less than 100 specimens. The type species A. gelatinosus Günther, 1878 and three additional valid species, A. brevidorsalis Nielsen, 1969, A. bolini Nielsen, 1974, and A. rassi Nielsen, 1975 were all based on single specimens. Since then several specimens have been caught of which 52 are examined for the present revision. Most of the specimens are referred to A. gelatinosus but also to A. bolini and A. rassi. A result of the enlarged material is that the type species, A. gelatinosus, is found to differ so much from the remaining species that a new genus, Paraphyonus, is established for these species. Furthermore two new species of Paraphyonus are here described, P. iselini based on six specimens from the tropical northwestern Atlantic Ocean and P. merretti based on three specimens from the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. The present knowledge of the variation of the Paraphyonus species makes it relevant to transfer Barathronus solomonensis Nielsen & Møller, 2008 to this genus.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A new gecko: Dixonius taoi

Many geckos love to be around humans. Humans, though, are divided in their attitude toward being around geckos.  Some find these little guys endearing, cute, and entertaining  (I clearly belong to this group) while others find them repulsive, disgusting and scary.

The tails of geckos will fall off if they are attacked by a bird, cat, or irate human.  This is a defensive maneuver meant to distract the predator with a wriggling tidbit while the gecko escapes.  The tails seem to be detachable in different lengths, and although they grow back in a month or two, there is always a faint line at the detachment location.  The regrowth pattern is a characteristic used for individual identification.

The new species from Vietnam was named in honor of a colleague and friend of the authors of the study. Dr. Nguyen Thien Tao from the Vietnam National Museum of Nature in Hanoi is recognized for his scientific contributions towards a better understanding of the herpetofauna of Vietnam.

For the experts: We describe a new species of Dixonius on the basis of five specimens from Phu Quy Island, Binh Thuan Province, in southern Vietnam. The new species can be distinguished from congeners based on molecular and morphological differences. Diagnostic features are: small size (SVL up to 44 mm); 7 or 8 supralabials; 11 or 12 rows of keeled tubercles on dorsum; 21–23 ventral scale rows; 5 or 6 precloacal pores in males; a canthal stripe running from rostrum through the eye and terminating behind the head; second pair of postmentals about one third to one half size of first pair; ground color of dorsum brown, with one or two rows of light yellow or orange spots in one or two rows along flanks, and irregular bands or a reticulated network of dark marks on dorsum. This is the fifth species of Dixonius known to occur in Vietnam.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A new scarab: Cheleion jendeki

The family Scarabaeideae is a large and diverse group of beetles with about 35000 species worldwide. They range in size from diminutive to truly massive (for a beetle). The family includes the Goliath beetle from Africa (Goliathus goliathus), known as one of the heaviest insects (up to 100 g). It also includes the elephant beetle (Megasoma elephas) and hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules), both from the American tropics, that are known for their large size (up to 16cm for the hercules beetle) and highly developed horns in the males. 

Today's species belongs to a rather small group of Scarab beetles. All representatives of the group are allegedly associated with termite nests although reasons for this are not known. The new species was named after the collector of the holotype, a beetle expert from Ottawa (Eduard Jendek).

For the experts: A new species of the genus Cheleion Vårdal & Forshage, 2010, Cheleion jendeki sp. n., from Johor, Malaysia is described, illustrated and compared with the type species of the genus, C. malayanum Vårdal & Forshage, 2010. Photographs of the two species are presented. The adaptation to inquilinous lifestyle of Cheleion is compared with those in other beetle groups and briefly discussed.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A new freshwater sponge: Heteromeyenia barlettai

With about 260 species, freshwater sponges represent only about 3% of the diversity of all the sponges. Freshwater sponges grow on sturdy submerged objects in clean streams, lakes, and rivers. Because they are sensitive to water conditions, their presence indicates high water quality and low levels of pollutants. As all sponges they are filter feeders. They obtain food from the flow of water through their bodies and from symbiotic algae. 

The new species was actually discovered in a 200 liter aquarium in São Paulo, Brazil. It was named to honor Fernando Barletta, the owner of the aquarium whose curiosity permitted the discovery of the new species.

For the experts: A new species of freshwater sponge, Heteromeyenia barlettai sp. nov., is proposed here based on specimens discovered in a private aquarium in São Paulo, Brazil, and most likely inadvertently collected from the Paraná Basin. The present study also presents a redescription of H. insignis on the basis of the specimen reported upon by Volkmer (1963), collected from the Atlântico Sul Hydrographic Basin. Spicule measurements (n=30) were made for comparison with other Heteromeyenia species. This is the first time that H. insignis has its complete set of spicules studied under SEM. After comparison with the redescription of the type of H. baileyi, we also find characteristics that justify the maintenance of H. insignis as a valid species. A key to species of Heteromeyenia is provided. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A new catfish: Pareiorhaphis garapia

The suckermouth armored catfish family (Loricariidae) has about 800 known species and is a taxonomically very difficult group. So difficult that a numbering system was invented that helped registering putative new species waiting for a sufficient taxonomic treatment. The system is by no means based on any scientific system. As a result specific L-number (after the family name) classifications do not guarantee discrete species, multiple L numbers have been given to different populations of the same species. To add to the confusion, sometimes a single L-number may actually be used for multiple species. 

This new species occurs in Southern Brazil and was named after the stream where it occurs and the waterfall which marks the known limit of its distribution.

For the experts: Pareiorhaphis garapia, new species, is described based on specimens collected in the headwaters of the Arroio Garapiá, Rio Maquiné basin, a coastal drainage of Rio Grande do Sul State, southern Brazil. The new species is distinguished from all other Pareiorhaphis species in having the nuchal plate covered by thick skin, the exposed posterior process of the cleithrum comparatively narrow, and the last segment of the preopercular ramus of the latero-sensory canal reduced to an ossified tubule. The absence of a dorsal-fin spinelet, the reduced number of plates in the dorsal and mid-dorsal series of lateral plates, and morphometric traits also distinguish the new species from its congeners. The restricted geographic distribution of P. garapia, endemic to a headwater stream of the Rio Maquiné basin, and the syntopic occurrence of P. nudulus are discussed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A new amphipod: Jesogammarus ikiensis

Amphipods comprise an order of crustacea, which contains mostly marine and freshwater forms. Even though they appear to be quite different from crabs and shrimp, amphipods are considered to be relatively closely related to both groups. As such they are placed in a group called the Peracarida, or "near shrimps." All of the members of this group share a number of characteristics such as the same number of appendages found in each body region, and the general body form. However, the amphipods lack the shell found in crabs and shrimps. Another important difference is that female amphipods have a brood pouch while true crabs and shrimps don't have one.

Amphipods are extremely diverse and therefore it is no surprise that we colleagues have described another new species. The name of this one refers to the type locality (Iki Island) which is currently the only place the new species is found.

For the experts: A new species of anisogammarid amphipod, Jesogammarus (Jesogammarus) ikiensis sp. n., is described from freshwaters in the Iki Island, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan, based on results of morphological and molecular analyses. The new species is distinguished from all members of the genus by the combination of small number of setae on dorsal margins of pleonites 1–3, short and small number of setae on posterior margins of peduncular articles of antennae, mandibular article 1 without setae, well developed posterior lobes of accessory lobes of coxal gills on gnathopod 2 and pereopods 3–5, and pectinate setae on palmar margin of female gnathopod 2. A key to all the species of Jesogammarus is provided.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A new bright-eyed treefrog: Boophis boppa

The vast majority of Madagascar's 305 currently known frogs are endemic to the island. In fact an entire frog family (Mantellidae) is endemic to Madagascar. The genus Boophis belongs to this family. Its species are small, colorful and live in trees. Many species of Boophis have almost translucent skin, allowing bones and internal organs to be observed which has led to the common name skeleton frogs.

This new species was named in honor of Nicholas Jay Pritzker, philanthropist, amateur scientist, committed conservationist, and supporter of Conservation International. The name ‘Boppa’ is an affectionate nickname used by his children and grandchildren. This dedication is courtesy of his youngest son Isaac, who has generously supported amphibian research in Madagascar.

For the experts: We describe a new species of Boophis treefrog from Ranomafana National Park in the southern central east of Madagascar. This region has remarkably high anuran diversity, and along with neighbouring sites, hosts more than 35 Boophis species. Boophis boppa sp. nov. is part of the B. ankaratra sub-clade (herein named the B. ankaratra complex), previously identified within the monophyletic B. albipunctatus species group. It occurs sympatrically with two other species of the complex (B. ankaratra and B. schuboeae). Morphological differentiation of species within the B. ankaratra clade remains elusive, but species are well characterized by distinct advertisement calls, with B. boppa having the longest note duration and inter-note intervals when compared to closely related species. Furthermore, it has moderate differentiation in mitochondrial DNA, with pairwise distances of 1.9–3.7% to all other species in sequences of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA marker. Additional evidence is given by the lack of haplotype sharing with related species for the nuclear exon DNAH-3. All examples of syntopic occurrence in this complex involve species with strongly different advertisement calls, while allopatric species have more similar calls. Such a pattern might result from adaptive call co-evolution but could also be the result of non-adaptive processes. Thorough clarification of the systematics of the B. ankaratra sub-clade is required, and we outline future directions for both bioacoustic and genetic research. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

A new longhorn beetle: Recchia nearnsi

With their large antennae and often very colourful, shiny bodies longhorn beetles are small beauties. Their larvae, however, bore into wood, where they can cause extensive damage to either living trees or untreated lumber. The small to very large beetles are distributed worldwide and we know about 27,000 species to date.

The scientific name of this beetle family, Cerambycidae goes back to a figure of the Greek mythology. After an argument with the Nymphs, the shepherd Cerambos was transformed into a large beetle with horns.

The new species Recchia nearnsi is named after Eugenio H. Nearns for his contributions to our knowledge on the Cerambycidae.

For the experts: Three new species are described: Tropidion birai (Cerambycinae, Neoibidionini) from Bolivia; Chrysoprasis birai (Cerambycinae, Heteropsini) from Panama; and Recchia nearnsi (Lamiinae, Aerenicini) from Bolivia. The new species are included in amended versions of previously published keys to species of each genus.