Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Discoveries of the week

Aegista subchinensis (Möllendorff, 1884) is a widely distributed land snail species with morphological variation and endemic to Taiwan. Three genetic markers (partial sequence of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I [COI], the 16S rDNA and the nuclear internal transcribed spacer 2 [ITS2]) were analysed to infer phylogenetic relationships and genetic divergence of closely related species of the genus Aegista, A. vermis (Reeve, 1852) and A. oculus (Pfeiffer, 1850). A new species from A. subchinensis has been recognized on the basis of phylogenetic and morphological evidences. The nominal new species, A. diversifamilia sp. n. is distinguished from A. subchinensis (Möllendorff, 1884) by its larger shell size, aperture and apex angle; wider umbilicus and flatter shell shape. The northernmost distribution of A. diversifamilia sp. n. is limited by the Lanyang River, which is presumed to mark the geographic barrier between A. diversifamilia sp. n. and A. subchinensis.

With more than 300 land snail species, Taiwan holds a remarkable diversity of these creatures and still continues to surprise. During a recent study scientists discovered a new endemic snail species of the genus Aegista from eastern Taiwan and named it to support recent efforts for same-sex marriage rights in Taiwan and around the world. 

One new species of the delphacid genus Kakuna Matsumura, K. taibaiensis Ren & Qin, sp. n. is described from Mt. Taibai in Shaanxi Province, China. Dicranotropis montana (Horvath, 1897) is reported for the first time from China. Habitus photos and illustrations of male genitalia of the two species are given.

The genus Kakuna belongs to the large group of leaf hoppers. To date, only five Kakuna species are known exclusively from China and Japan.  This new species is named after its type locality, Mount Taibai in Shaanxi, China.
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A new quadrannulate species of Orobdella, Orobdella masaakikuroiwai sp. n., from the mountainous region of central Honshu, Japan is described. This is only the second small species known within this genus, with a body length of less than 4 cm for mature individuals. Phylogenetic analyses using nuclear 18S rDNA and histone H3 as well as mitochondrial COI, tRNACys, tRNAMet, 12S, tRNAVal, 16S, and ND1 markers showed that O. masaakikuroiwai sp. n. is the sister species of the quadrannulate O. whitmani Oka, 1895. Phylogenetic relationships within O. masaakikuroiwai sp. n. conducted using mitochondrial markers reveled a distinction between eastern and western phylogroups.

This genus Orobdella comprises terrestrial macrophagous leech species that live in East Asia. These leeches are not of the  jawed blood-feeding type but are related to a group that contains only predaceous leech taxa. The species name honours Masaaki Kuroiwa, who accompanied the field survey in the Nagano Prefecture during which this species was collected.

Sinocyclocheilus brevifinus sp. nov. is described from a subterranean river at Maohedong Village, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Southern China. The new species can be distinguished from all congeners in having functional eyes, last simple dorsal fin ray soft and without serrations along posterior margin, eye diameter small (3.4−5.0 %SL), tip of depressed dorsal fin not reaching vertical at anal fin origin, tip of depressed pelvic fin far from anus, maxillary barbel not reaching anterior edge of operculum, rostral barbel not reaching posterior edge of operculum, scales of lateral line row significantly larger than those of scale rows immediately above and below lateral line, and flanks with distinct black spots and blotches.

This genus of cave-dwelling fish contains about 60 described species with several types of adaptations to the unique environment. These vary by species but include degradation of eyes, loss of pigmentation, well-developed barbels, and in some cases, an elaborate and well-developed cephalic and body lateralis system. The species name is in reference to the short fins of the species.
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We describe a new species of large Oedura from the Oscar Range on the southern edge of the Kimberley Craton in northwestern Australia. Oedura murrumanu sp. nov. can be distinguished from all congeners by the combination of large size (snout-vent length to 103 mm), moderately long and slightly swollen tail, tiny scales on the dorsum, fringe of laterally expanded lamellae on each digit, and 6–7 paired distal subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe. The new species is the first endemic vertebrate known from the limestone ranges of the southern Kimberley; however, this area remains poorly surveyed and further research (particularly wet season surveys and genetic analyses) is required to better characterise regional biodiversity values.

This rather large gecko occurs close to some of the most frequently visited parts of the Kimberley, a region in north-west Australia with some geologically interesting formations consisting of an array of ancient and highly weathered exposed rock.
The species name is based on the word for gecko in the language of the Bunuba people of the south-west Kimberley: Murru manu (‘u’ pronounced as ‘oo’). This new species is probably entirely restricted to the traditional lands of the Bunuba.
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Bidens meyeri (Asteraceae/Compositae) is described and illustrated from Rapa, Austral Islands, (French Polynesia). This new species is presumed to be most closely related to Bidens saint-johniana from nearby Marotiri Island. Bidens meyeri may be distinguished from B. saint-johniana based on the length of the peduncle (3 cm versus 10 cm), apex of the inner involucral bracts (glabrous vs. puberulent), smaller leaves (2.0–2.3 cm vs. 5–6 cm), and the general smaller size of the new species. Known from less than 50 individuals and restricted to one remote location, Bidens meyeri falls into the IUCN Critically Endangered (CR) category.

This species was collected on Rapa which belongs to the Austral Islands which situated in the Southern Pacific and are part of French Polynesia. The new species was named in honor of Dr. Jean-Yves Meyer, Délégation à la Recherche, Polynésie Française.
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