Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Discoveries of the week

Back at the office from a short vacation. Time for some new discoveries:

Boophis ankarafensis

A new species of treefrog of the Boophis rappiodes group (Anura, Mantellidae) is described from the Sahamalaza – Iles Radama National Park in northwest Madagascar. This new species is green in colour with bright red speckling across its head and dorsum; similar in morphology to other species of this group including: B. bottae, B. rappiodes, B. erythrodactylus and B. tasymena. The new species can be distinguished by its advertisement call and by a genetic divergence of more than 4.9% in the analysed mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene fragment. Its call consists of two note types: a trill and a click; although similar sounding to B. bottae, the trill note of the new species has a faster pulse rate while the click note is predominantly two-pulsed rather than three. All individuals were detected from the banks of two streams in Ankarafa Forest. The new species represents the only member of the B. rappiodes group endemic to Madagascar’s western coast, with the majority of other members known from the eastern rainforest belt. Despite its conspicuous call, it has not been detected from other surveys of northwest Madagascar and it is likely to be a local endemic to the peninsula. The ranges of two other amphibian species also appear restricted to Sahamalaza, and so the area seems to support a high level of endemicity. Although occurring inside a National Park, this species is highly threatened by the continuing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat. Due to these threats it is proposed that this species should be classified as Critically Endangered according to the IUCN Red List criteria.

All individuals of this new species were detected at the banks of two streams in the Ankarafa Forest hence the name. This new species represents the only member of the Boophis rappiodes group endemic to Madagascar's western coast, with the other members known only from the eastern rainforest belt. Despite its conspicuous call, it has not been detected in other surveys of northwest Madagascar and it is likely to be a local endemic of the peninsula.
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Gastrosaccus lombokiensis
Drawing of G. lombokiensis (taken from paper)
A new species of the mysid crustacean genus Gastrosaccus Norman, 1868 (Mysida, Mysidae, Gastrosaccinae) is reported from a sandy shore of Lombok Island, Indonesia. These specimens resemble G. sorrentoensis Wooldridge & McLachlan, 1986 and G. yuyu Bamber and Morton, 2012 by the possession of an articulated process on the fifth abdominal somite together with a fringe of spine-like filaments on the posterodorsal margin of the carapace. The Lombok population differs from the known congeners by having comparatively fewer numbers of carpopropod segments on the endopod of the third to eighth thoracic limbs and the conformation in the telson and in the male third pleopod. Hence, G. lombokiensis sp. n. is proposed herein as a third species of “G. sorrentoensis” species group.

The name of this new opossum shrimp species obviously refers to the type locality Lombok Island. 
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Spritella sequoiaphila
Sequoiadendron giganteum (taken from paper)

California is one of the most biologically diverse regions of the world, yet the diversity of fungus gnats (Mycetophilidae) remains largely undocumented within the state. A modest survey of these flies has led to the discovery of a new genus and species of gnat that lives alongside one of the most iconic trees in the world, the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). Spritella sequoiaphila gen. et sp. n. is described and illustrated and its status among other mycetophilid genera is analyzed and discussed.

The giant sequoia is the planet’s largest living organism and found only in California, with some trees towering over 100 m tall and with trunk diameters of over 30 m. The new fungus gnat species was found within the giant sequoia forest habitat. The genus name is derived from another English word for fairy or leprechaun with the Latin ending “-ella”, meant as a diminutive.
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Gnathia albipalpebrata, Gnathia parvirostrata, Gnathia dejimagi

Gnathiid larvae were collected from the gill chambers of coastal sharks in southwestern Japan. Some were reared in a laboratory aquarium and successfully metamorphosed into adults. Morphological observations of the adult males identifiedthree undescribed species, which are designated Gnathia albipalpebrata n. sp., G. parvirostrata n. sp., and G. dejimagi n. sp. on the basis of their larval morphologies and pigmentation patterns.

The image shows all three species at the third larval stage: A and B, Gnathia albipalpebrata; C and D, Gnathia parvirostrata; E and F, Gnathia dejimagiScale = 1mm.

All specimens were collected by dissecting the mouths and gill chambers of elasmobranchs (Triaenodon obesus, Galeocerdo cuvier) that were caught by fisherman using gill nets or lines.
no DNA Barcode (the sharks are barcoded though)

Pseudojuloides edwardi
P. edwardi (Credit Benjamin Victor)
The new species Pseudojuloides edwardi is described from aquarium-trade specimens obtained from the African coast near Mombasa, Kenya. The species is distinguished from its two sibling species, P. severnsi (from the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, New Caledonia, and Sri Lanka) and P. erythrops (from Mauritius), by a spectacular yellow-on-magenta reticulum on the head and forebody of the terminal-phase male and other details of the markings and color patterns. Despite the arresting color differences, the barcode COI mtDNA sequences for specimens of P. edwardi are very close to the P. severnsi clade, differing by 3 base pairs out of 652, well within the intraspecific range of variation. The two species likely represent a case of evolution of reproductive isolating mechanisms outpacing the accumulation of neutral mutations in mitochondrial DNA sequences. As in a number of other examples of shared mitochondrial sequences between recently diverged reef fish species, the phenotypic differences are primarily in color patterns on the head, the focus of mating displays for species recognition in many coral reef fishes.

This beautiful fish species is named for Jason Edward who obtained the male type specimens and supplied them to the researchers that described them.
DNA Barcodes available

Psoralea vanberkela
This new rare species of Fynbos has been discovered near Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, South Africa.It was found on a 16 km strip of land between Robberg and Harkerville by Nicky van Berkel, a member of Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers, which is a project of the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

The new plant, with a unique purple and white flower, was on display for the first time last week at the annual Cape Floral Kingdom Expo in Bredasdorp, in the Overberg region of the Western Cape.

I couldn't find a formal description but I will add a link to it as soon as I find it. Nevetheless, the discovery was confirmed by Charles Stirton, an honorary research associate at the University of Cape Town's botany department, who visited the site to study the plant.
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