Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Discoveries of the week

Rana kauffeldi

We describe a new cryptic species of leopard frog from the New York City metropolitan area and surrounding coastal regions. This species is morphologically similar to two largely parapatric eastern congeners, Rana sphenocephala and R. pipiens. We primarily use bioacoustic and molecular data to characterize the new species, but also examine other lines of evidence. This discovery is unexpected in one of the largest and most densely populated urban parts of the world. It also demonstrates that new vertebrate species can still be found periodically even in well-studied locales rarely associated with undocumented biodiversity. The new species typically occurs in expansive open-canopied wetlands interspersed with upland patches, but centuries of loss and impact to these habitats give some cause for conservation concern. Other concerns include regional extirpations, fragmented extant populations, and a restricted overall geographic distribution. We assign a type locality within New York City and report a narrow and largely coastal lowland distribution from central Connecticut to northern New Jersey (based on genetic data) and south to North Carolina (based on call data).

More than a half century after claims that a new frog species existed in New York and New Jersey were dismissed, a team of scientists has proven that the frog is living in wetlands from Connecticut to North Carolina and are naming it after Carl Kauffeld, the ecologist who first noticed it.
no DNA Barcodes (lots of other mtDNA markers - sigh)

We report and describe the first species of Atheroides Haliday presumed to be native to North America, collected at the Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico, USA. We hypothesize its placement among the Siphini based on morphological, phylogenetic analysis and extend the distribution of the genus to the Holoarctic. We expand the key of the known Atheroides to include the new species and discuss the current hypotheses of the geographic distribution of the type species, Atheroides serrulatus Haliday.

The specific epithet, vallescaldera, is derived from the locality in which the specimens were collected, the Valles Caldera National Preserve. This super-volcano caldera lies in the Jemez Mountains in northern New Mexico, USA, and constitutes a “sky island” at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains of North America. 

Based on molecular data for mitochondrial (Cyt b, COI) and nuclear (IRBP, GHR) genes, and morphological examinations of museum specimens, we examined diversity, species boundaries, and relationships within and between the murine genera Chiromyscus and Niviventer. Phylogenetic patterns recovered demonstrate that Niviventer sensu lato is not monophyletic but instead includes Chiromyscus chiropus, the only previously recognized species of Chiropus. To maintain the genera Niviventer and Chiropus as monophyletic lineages, the scope and definition of the genus Chiromyscus is revised to include at least three distinct species: Chiromyscus chiropus (the type species of Chiromyscus), C. langbianis (previously regarded as a species of Niviventer), and a new species, described in this paper under the name C. thomasi sp. n.

The new white-bellied rat species is named in honor of Oldfield Thomas (1858–1929), the British zoologist who named and described the genus Chiromyscus and the species chiropus.

Three new species of Lumbriculidae were collected from floodplain seeps and small streams in southeastern North America. Some of these habitats are naturally acidic. Sylphella puccoon gen. n., sp. n. has prosoporous male ducts in X–XI, and spermathecae in XII–XIII. Muscular, spherical atrial ampullae and acuminate penial sheaths distinguish this monotypic new genus from other lumbriculid genera having similar arrangements of reproductive organs. Cookidrilus pocosinus sp. n. resembles its two subterranean, Palearctic congeners in the arrangement of reproductive organs, but is easily distinguished by the position of the spermathecal pores in front of the chaetae in X–XIII. Stylodrilus coreyi sp. n. differs from congeners having simple-pointed chaetae and elongate atria primarily by the structure of the male duct and the large clusters of prostate cells. Streams and wetlands of Southeastern USA have a remarkably high diversity of endemic lumbriculids, and these poorly-known invertebrates should be considered in conservation efforts.

The genus name Sylphella refers to Sylph, the Latin name of an elemental spirit of the air that suggests the Latin silva, for woodland, followed by the Latin diminutive -ella. The specific name puccoon is the Algonquian Indian word which means pokeberry (Phylolacca species). The species name of Cookidrilus pocosinus refers to pocosin, “swamp-on-a-hill” in the Algonquin Indian language. Most specimens were collected in two sites draining pocosin areas. The last species is named in honor of Jesse Edward (Ed) Corey III, an Inventory Biologist at the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation. 
no DNA Barcodes available

Musserakis sulawesiensis
Musserakis sulawesiensis gen. et sp. n. (Nematoda: Heterakidae) is described from the large-bodied shrew rat, Echiothrix centrosa, one of the old endemic rats of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Musserakis is readily distinguished from other heterakid genera by having non-recurrent and non-anastomosing cephalic cordons, by lacking papillae between papillae groups around precloacal sucker and cloacal aperture and by lacking teeth in the pharyngeal portion. The spicules are equal but with marked dimorphism among individuals. Heterakids collected from other old endemic murids examined, i.e., Crunomys celebensis, Tateomys macrocercus and Tateomys rhinogradoides, and the new endemic rats of Sulawesi, were Heterakis spumosa Schneider, 1866, a cosmopolitan nematode of various murids. It is suggested that M. sulawesiensis is specific to Echiothrix.

The new genus name  Musserakis is dedicated to Dr. G. G. Musser, a mammalogist, who has made contributions on the murid rodents of Sulawesi for many years. The species epithet is named after the type locality, the island of Sulawesi.
no DNA Barcodes available

Petrolisthes tuerkayi

A new species of porcellanid crab, Petrolisthes tuerkayi n. sp., is described from the Persian Gulf. The new species is closely related to P. rufescens Heller, 1861, but is easily distinguishable by having three or four large spines distally on the posterior margin of the carpus of chelipeds, whereas the posterior margin of the cheliped merus in P. rufescens is unarmed.

The species is named after Prof. Dr. Michael Türkay, curator of the crustacean department of the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, who dedicated 45 years of his life to the taxonomy of decapod crustaceans, in particular in the northern Indian Ocean. Michael Türkay was supervisor of the Ph.D projects of the both authors. I remember him as well as I used to listen to some of his lectures and seminars as part of my zoology undergrad training. He is a fount of knowledge that never runs dry especially when it comes to his 'pet group', the crustaceans.
no DNA Barcodes available

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