Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Discoveries of the week #25

Cobitis avicennae
Cobitis avicennae, new species, from the Karkheh and Karun sub-drainages in the Tigris catchment is distinguished from other Cobitis species in the Persian Gulf, Kor and the southern Caspian Sea basins by having a single lamina circularis in males, a small comma-shaped black spot on the upper caudal-fin base, 5½ branched anal-fin rays, 5–6 rows of dark spots on the dorsal and caudal fins, scales below the dorsal-fin base with a small focal zone and pigmentation zone Z4 with 12–17 large, partly fused blotches. It is also distinguished from other Cobitis species in the comparison group by six fixed, diagnostic nucleotide substitutions in the mtDNA COI barcode region

A nice new little spined loach from Iran. The genus Cobitis currently comprises of 65 species and now there is one more from the Tigris drainage.  The species is named after the Persian polymath Abū Alī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā, commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna.

Peckoltia ephippiata
Three new species of saddled hypostomine loricariids are described. According to a recent phylogenetic analysis, these species are members of the genus Peckoltia. The species differ from all described Peckoltia except P. furcata and P. sabaji by having the dentaries meet at an angle greater than 90°. The species also have similarities to Hemiancistrus, and can be separated from all described species by having dorsal saddles. We discuss the taxonomy of Peckoltia, Hemiancistrus, and allied genera and recognize Ancistomus as valid for P. feldbergae, H. micrommatos, Ancistrus snethlageae, H. spilomma, and H. spinosissimus. We recommend descriptions of genera for several clades of Hemiancistrus and restriction of Hemiancistrus to the type species of the genus, H. medians. Chaetostomus macrops is transferred to Pseudancistrus and recognized as a junior synonym of P. megacephalus. The Hemiancistrus annectens group of species (H. annectens, H. argus, H. aspidolepis, H. fugleri, H. holostictus, H. maracaiboensis, H. panamensis, H. wilsoni) are recognized in Hypostomus. Multivariate analysis reveals that the newly described species differ from one another in shape space, but overlap broadly with other Peckoltia (P. lujani), narrowly with other Peckoltia (P. greedoi), or broadly with Etsaputu (P. ephippiata).

The suckermouth armored catfishes family has about  800 known species and is a taxonomically very difficult group. So difficult that a numbering system was invented that helped registering putative new species waiting for a sufficient taxonomic treatment. The system is by no means based on any scientific system. As a result specific L-number classifications do not guarantee discrete species, multiple L numbers have been given to different populations of the same species. To add to the confusion, sometimes a single L-number may actually be used for multiple species. 
no DNA Barocodes

We describe a new species of Telmatobius from the Pacific slopes of the Andes in central Peru. Specimens were collected at 3900 m elevation near Huaytará, Huancavelica, in the upper drainage of the Pisco river. The new species has a snout–vent length of 52.5 ± 1.1 mm (49.3–55.7 mm, n = 6) in adult females, and 48.5 mm in the single adult male. The new species has bright yellow and orange coloration ventrally and is readily distinguished from all other central Peruvian Andean species of Telmatobius but T. intermedius by having vomerine teeth but lacking premaxillary and maxillary teeth, and by its slender body shape and long legs. The new species differs from T. intermedius by its larger size, flatter head, and the absence of cutaneous keratinized spicules (present even in immature females of T. intermedius), and in males by the presence of minute, densely packed nuptial spines on dorsal and medial surfaces of thumbs (large, sparsely packed nuptial spines in T. intermedius). The hyper-arid coastal valleys of Peru generally support low species richness, particularly for groups such as aquatic breeding amphibians. The discovery of a new species in this environment, and along a major highway crossing the Andes, shows that much remains to be done to document amphibian diversity in Peru.

Telmatobius is a genus of frogs native to the Andean highlands. This new species from Peru is named for the golden yellow and orange coloration on the ventral parts of its body and limbs. 
no DNA Barocodes

Four new species of shallow-water marine gastropods belonging to the family Rissoidae are described from the Archipelago of the Azores: Setia alexandrae sp. n., S. ermelindoi sp. n., S. netoae sp. n., and Manzonia martinsi sp. n. These novelties increase the regional rissoid fauna to 39 species, of which 29 live in shallow-water habitats. A list of the species of Rissoidae from the Azores is presented based on data from the literature and new material examined.

Four new species from the Azores. One (Setia alexandrae) named after the wife of one of the authors, the second after a regional a writer and historian, the third after an Azorean marine phycologist. and the last after a malacologist of the University of the Azores.
no DNA Barocodes

The paper integrates two independent studies of numeric morphology-based alpha-taxonomy of the cryptic ant species Temnothorax crassispinus (Karavajev, 1926) and T. crasecundus sp. n. conducted by different investigators, using different equipment, considering different character combinations and evaluating different samples. Samples investigated included 603 individual workers from 203 nests – thereof 104 nest samples measured by Seifert and 99 by Csösz. The material originated from Europe, Asia Minor and Caucasia. There was a very strong interspecific overlap in any of the 29 shape characters recorded and subjective expert determination failed in many cases. Primary classification hypotheses were formed by the exploratory data analysis Nest Centroid (NC) clustering and corrected to final species hypotheses by an iterative linear discriminant analysis algorithm. The evaluation of Seifert’s and Csösz’s data sets arrived at fully congruent conclusions. NC-Ward and NC-K-means clustering disagreed from the final species hypothesis in only 1.9 and 1.9% of the samples in Seifert’s data set and by 1.1 and 2.1% in Csösz’s data set which is a strong argument for heterospecificity. The type series of T. crassispinus and T. crasecundus sp. n. were allocated to different clusters with p = 0.9851 and p = 0.9912 respectively. The type series of the junior synonym T. slavonicus (Seifert, 1995) was allocated to the T. crassispinus cluster with p = 0.9927. T. crasecundus sp. n. and T. crassispinus are parapatric species with a long contact zone stretching from the Peloponnisos peninsula across Bulgaria northeast to the southern Ukraine. There is no indication for occurrence of interspecifically mixed nests or intraspecific polymorphism. However, a significant reduction of interspecific morphological distance at sites with syntopic occurrence of both species indicates local hybridization. The results are discussed within the context of the Pragmatic Species Concept of Seifert (2014). The taxonomic description and a differential diagnosis of T. crasecundus sp. n. are given.

I am not an ant expert and therefore I will refrain from commenting on the methods used to delineate this species although they seem to be very sound and reliable. My problem with this paper is with a certain passage: A curator of a museum collection should not allow destructive DNA sampling from a type specimen of a small insect and there is no doubt that next generation sequencing in our 600 dry mounts would be enormously costly and time-consuming. I beg to differ as there are non-destructive methods available that would allow for DNA extraction without harming the voucher specimen, Next-generation sequencing of 600 dry mounts might indeed cost a bit of money but time consuming? I doubt it would be more time spend than what has been described here. 
no DNA Barocodes

Gymnosporia swazica
Gymnosporia swazica, a new restricted-range southern African species, is described and illustrated here. Known from only a few localities in Swaziland and bordering parts of South Africa (Mpumalanga and northeastern KwaZulu-Natal), G. swazica grows as an understorey shrub or small tree in forest, often among granite boulders. Diagnostic characters for G. swazica include chartaceous leaves, usually shorter than 25 mm, 3-valved capsules usually 6–7 mm long, which are smooth, green
turning yellow, and a white aril partially covering the brownish seed. Its closest relative appears to be G. buxifolia (capsules rugose, mottled white-and-brown), one of the most widespread members of the genus in southern Africa, but it can also be confused with G. maranguensis (capsules red, 2-valved) and G. harveyana (capsules pink to red, 3-valved; aril orange, completely covering the seed).

A new species found on the Lebombo Mountains in Swaziland, hence the species name.
no DNA Barocodes

h/t Matthias Geiger

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