Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Discoveries of the week

Last Tuesday I started to list some selected descriptions of new species. It's Tuesday again and here is another list in an attempt to make this a recurring theme:

photo by Oppenheimer et al.
Hibiscadelphus stellatus H. Oppenheimer, Bustamente, & Perlman, sp. nov., a new, narrowly endemic species from West Maui, Hawaiian Islands is described, illustrated and its affinities and conservation status are discussed. It is currently known from three populations totaling 99 plants in Kaua`ula valley on leeward western Maui. It differs from H. wilderianus, its nearest congener, in its denser white or tan stellate pubescence on most parts; larger externally purple colored corollas that are 5–6.5 cm long; linear-subulate to lanceolate, acute to acuminate involucral bracts; globose-cuboid to ovoid capsules; and endocarp with scattered hairs.

Most people are familiar with Hibiscus flowers -- they are an iconic symbol of tropical resorts worldwide where they are commonly planted in the landscape. Only a few, however, are aware of an equally beautiful and highly endangered related group of plants known as Hibiscadelphus -- literally 'brother of Hibiscus.' Until recently only one of the seven previously known species remained in its natural habitat, the other having gone extinct. These trees are only known, or were known, from five of the eight main Hawaiian Islands. Two are still alive in cultivation, saved in part because of their beautiful showy blossoms. Several were only known from a single wild tree. Remarkably, in 2012 scientists found a population of these unique trees in a remote, steep valley on the west side of Maui and among them a species new to science.
no DNA Barcode

Duocalcar geminum
Credit: Entomological Society of America
Belonging to the Staphylinidae, the largest animal family known, recent Omaliinae are a diverse and widespread group of rove beetles. There are omaliine representatives known since Early–Middle Jurassic compressions, but members of the tribe Omaliini have been known only from the Cenozoic. Duocalcar geminum Peris and Thayer gen. et sp. nov. is described as the oldest definitive fossil of the tribe Omaliini worldwide, originating from opaque mid-Cretaceous (latest Albian) amber of Charentes, south-western France. The discovery and description were made possible with the use of the propagation phase-contrast X-ray synchrotron imaging technique, which allows the detailed study of otherwise invisible specimens in opaque amber.

The genus name, Duocalcar, means "two spurs" in Latin, alluding to two distinctive projections on each hind leg. The specific epithet, geminum, is a Latin adjective meaning "twin-born," in reference to the discovery of both specimens in the same piece of amber.
no DNA Barcode (of course not as this fossil is about 100 Million years old)

Micratya poeyi - credit - aquaportail.com
The atyid genus Micratya Bouvier, 1913 was previously considered to be monotypic. The area in which the genus is dis-tributed is limited to the islands of the Antilles and Central America, with the type locality of Micratya poeyi being in Cuba. A recent molecular phylogenetic analysis of atyid shrimps from the Caribbean indicated the probable existence of a second species of Micratya from samples collected in Puerto Rico. Here it is described as the new species Micratya cooki sp. nov., differing from its congener in the armature of the dactyli on the fifth pereiopod, the uropodal diaeresis, the distal margin of the telson and by the spinulation of the appendix masculina in male specimens. Because the type specimens of M. poeyi are most probably lost, a neotype for M. poeyi was designated.

Micratya cooki is known from some streams in Puerto Rico but there are some indications that it has a wider distributional range in the Caribbean. The name is dedicated to Ben Cook, the collector of this new species.

credit: Lee et al.
Combined results based on morphological characters and analyses of partial sequences of the 16s rRNA and coI genes confirm the validity of a new, cryptic, symphurine tonguefish from the western North Pacific Ocean. Symphurus leucochilus n. sp., a diminutive species reaching sizes to c. 67 mm standard length, is described from nine specimens that were collected from fish-landing ports and from trawls made at c. 150 m off Taiwan and Japan. Symphurus leucochilus shares many similar features with those of Symphurus microrhynchus and that of several undescribed species that are morphologically similar to S. microrhynchus. Symphurus leucochilus has also been misidentified as Symphurus orientalis in fish collections because of shared similarities in some aspects of their morphology.

The name leucochilus is derived from the Greek, leuco meaning white, and chilus meaning border, in reference to a whitish border on some dorsal-fin rays. Specimens were collected rom Japanese waters at Tosa Bay and retrieved from fish landings at fish ports in Taiwan. 

credit: Khalaji-Pirbalouty, Raupach
Cymodoce waegelei sp. nov. is described from the subtidal zone of the Iranian coasts of the Persian Gulf using both morphological and molecular data. C. waegelei sp. nov. is most similar to C. tribullis Harrison & Holdich, 1984 from Australia, Vietnam and Singapore. Analysis of DNA barcodes and nuclear 28S rDNA: D8 expansion segments clearly support the existence of two distinct species. Cymodoce waegelei sp. nov morphologically differs from C. tribullis by lacking two continuous rows of tubercles on the pereonites 3 and 4. Moreover, the pleotelson has numerous scattered tubercles between two large prominent bosses, and small lateral tubercles rather than two prominent tubercles in C. tribullis. Based on our results we redescribe Cymodoce tribullis using specimens sampled from the type locality, Magnetic Island, Queensland. Cymodoce lirella Schotte & Kensley, 2005 from the Seychelles is placed in synonymy with C. tribullis Harrison & Holdich 1984. Furthermore we provide a key to the northern Indian Ocean species of this genus.

This species is named for Wolfgang W├Ągele from the Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn, Germany to acknowledge many years of contributions to the taxonomy and phylogeny of Isopoda. He is also the head of the German Barcoding network GBOL. It seems appropriate that the species description contains DNA Barcodes.

A survey of xeniid octocorals was carried out in the waters off Southwestern Thailand in September, 2007. Microscopic investigation of the colonies revealed that three specimens belonged to the genus Ovabunda. Gross morphological examination is presented here accompanied by scanning electron micrographs of the sclerites. Molecular phylogenetic analysis showed identical genotypes at mtMutS, COI, and 28S rDNA for all three specimens and supports their generic assignment. Colony size and shape, sclerite size, and pinnule arrangement differ from nominal species of Ovabunda and thus a new species, O. andamanensis is introduced here. This work also presents a new eastern geographical record for the genus Ovabunda.

The new name is obviously derived from the collection location, the Andaman Sea. It also represents the first record of this genus outside the eastern Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.

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