Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Discoveries of the week #23

Aphanius marassantensis, new species, is described from the Kızılırmak River drainage in northern Anatolia based on colouration, meristic and morphometric characters, and the mtDNA COI barcode region. It is distinguished from other Anatolian Aphanius by one or several of the following characters: a stout body shape (BD/SL 28.2–39.6%), complete scale cover, and 25–28 scales along the lateral line. Males have 8–13 dark-brown lateral bars, of which the antepenultimate bar anterior to the caudal-fin base is 0.9–1.8 times wider than the anterior white interspace, 2–3 vertical rows of spots on the caudal fin, a black dorsal fin, sometimes with a narrow whitish-grey base, a white anal fin with 1–3 rows of black spots, in some individuals with a black margin, and hyaline pelvic fins. Females do not have vertical rows of dark-brown spots on caudal or anal fins, but numerous dark-brown spots on the flanks, arranged in 1–3 lateral rows behind a vertical from the dorsal-fin base. Their dorsal fin is hyaline with tiny dark-brown spots on rays and membranes; pectoral fins, caudal and anal fins are hyaline, and one prominent large dark-brown blotch is situated in mid-lateral position on the hypural plate. The new species is also distinguished by 11 fixed, diagnostic nucleotide substitutions in the mtDNA COI barcode region. The description of this new species, which brings the number of Anatolian Aphanius species to 12, underlines the character of Anatolia as a region of extraordinarily high biodiversity.

A new member of the pupfish, a group of small killifish belonging to several genera of the family Cyprinodontidae. The species name was derived from Marassanta, the Hittite name for the Kızılırmak River.

Europe has one of the best-known Lepidopteran faunas in the world, yet many species are still being discovered, especially in groups of small moths. Here we describe a new gracillariid species from the south-eastern Alps, Callisto basistrigella Huemer, Deutsch & Triberti, sp. n. It shows differences from its sister species C. coffeella in morphology, the barcode region of the cytochrome c oxidase I gene and the nuclear gene histone H3. Both C. basistrigella and C. coffeella can co-occur in sympatry without evidence of admixture. Two C. basistrigella specimens show evidence of introgression. We highlight the importance of an integrative approach to delimit species, combining morphological and ecological data with mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data. Furthermore, in connection with this study, Ornix blandella Müller-Rutz, 1920, syn. n. is synonymized with C. coffeella (Zetterstedt, 1839).

A new moth species from the Eastern Austrian Alps. It's  name refers to some characteristic wing markings.

A number of stylasterid corals are known to act as host species and create refuges for a variety of mobile and sessile organisms, which enhances their habitat complexity. These include annelids, anthozoans, cirripeds, copepods, cyanobacteria, echinoderms, gastropods, hydroids and sponges. Here we report the first evidence of a diverse association between stylasterids and scalpellid pedunculate barnacles and describe a new stylasterid species, Errina labrosa, from the Tristan da Cunha Archipelago. Overall, five stylasterid species are found to host eight scalpellid barnacles from several biogeographic regions in the southern hemisphere (Southern Ocean, temperate South America and the southern Indo-Pacific realms). There is an apparent lack of specificity in this kind of association and different grades of reaction to the symbiosis have been observed in the coral. These records suggest that the association between pedunculate barnacles and hard stylasterid corals has a wide distribution among different biogeographic realms and that it is relatively rare and confined largely to deep water.

A new coral species for a change. This species belongs to the stylasterid corals which are considered habitat-forming species because they contribute to the structuring of deep and shallow water coral banks. the species name was taken from the Latin word labrum (lip) for a characteristic lip of at its gastropores.
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The results of the study of many specimens preserved in different European museums are reported. The tribe Terpnistrini Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1878 is resurrected. The distribution of the following species is enhanced: Pardalota asymmetrica Karsch, 1896, Diogena denticulata Chopard, 1954, Diogena fausta (Burmeister, 1838), Plangiopsis adeps Karsch, 1896, Poreuomena sanghensis Massa, 2013 and Tylopsis continua (Walker, 1869). Further, for their peculiar characteristics, two African representatives of the American genus Symmetropleura Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1878 are included in two new genera: Symmetrokarschia africana (Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1878), comb. n. and Symmetroraggea dirempta (Karsch, 1889), comb. n. A new genus and species from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angustithorax spiniger gen. n., sp. n., and a new genus and species from Tanzania, Arostratum oblitum gen. n., sp. n. are described. Finally Melidia claudiae sp. n. and Atlasacris brevipennis sp. n. are described and compared with related species.

One of these four new bush crickets, Arostratum oblitum, has in fact been waiting for over 100 years in European Natural History museums to be discovered and described. This curious fact also inspired the name of the new species to be 'oblitum', which means 'forgotten' translated from Latin.
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A new species of Chapelieria was discovered during a recent field trip to the Masoala National Park in eastern Madagascar, and is described here as Chapelieria magna Kainul., sp. nov. This species is readily distinguishable from previously described species of the genus by its quadrangular shoots, triangular-calyptrate stipules, sessile leaves, pubescent styles, and ridged fruits. It also differs in the larger number of ovules and the much larger size of leaves and fruits.

Madagascar is not only home to an incredible diverse and largely endemic fauna. There are also a lot of plants waiting to be discovered. Here is one recent example from the family Rubiaceae, sometimes called the coffee family which is a bit misleading as there are about 13000 members in this group and most are not coffee. 
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Two new species of Psoralea L. are described: Psoralea diturnerae A. Bello, C.H. Stirt. & Muasya, sp. nov. and P. vanberkelae C.H. Stirt., A. Bello & Muasya, sp. nov. Psoralea diturnerae is endemic to the Outeniqua mountains (Camferskloof) and is characterised by a mass of numerous basal shoots out of which emerge 2–3 woody stems up to 2 m tall, 3-foliolate needle-like leaflets at the base of the seasonally growing shoot reducing to one towards the apex and bearing numerous 1–3-flowered axillary inflorescences along its length; each mauve to purple and white flower subtended by a trifid cupulum. Psoralea vanberkelae is characterised by its spreading mounding habit, short tightly packed fleshy leaves, with large impressed papillae, densely glandular short broadly triangular stipules, pale to intense mauve to deep blue flowers, standard with a dark purple central blotch above a M-shaped white patch situated above claw, and khaki seeds with purple flecks.

The names of the species have been chosen to honor volunteers of the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wild flowers (C.R.E.W., South Africa) that brought these plants to the attention of the researchers. Ms. Di Turner, and Ms. Nicky van Berkel play a valuable role in establishing the conservation status of plants in their area. 
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h/t Matthias Geiger, Peter Huemer

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