Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Discoveries of the week #26

A distinctive new monotypic genus from Gabon is described in the tropical plant family Annonaceae: Sirdavidia, in honor to Sir David Attenborough. Molecular phylogenetic analyses confirm that Sirdavidia, which is very distinct from a morphological standpoint, is not nested in any existing genus of Annonaceae and belongs to tribe Piptostigmateae (subfamily Malmeoideae), which now contains a total of six genera. The genus is characterized by long acuminate leaves, fully reflexed red petals, 16–19 bright yellow, loosely arranged stamens forming a cone, and a single carpel topped by a conspicuous stigma. With just three known collections, a preliminary IUCN conservation status assessment is provided as “endangered” as well as a distribution map. The discovery of Sirdavidia is remarkable at several levels. First, it was collected near the road in one of the botanically best-known regions of Gabon: Monts de Cristal National Park. Second, its sister group is the genus Mwasumbia, also monotypic, endemic to a small area in a forest in Tanzania, some 3000 km away. Finally, the floral morphology is highly suggestive of a buzz pollination syndrome. If confirmed, this would be the first documentation of such a pollination syndrome in Magnoliidae and early-diverging angiosperms in general.

It is about time to honor this man - Sir David Attenborough, In case you don't know him is a British broadcaster and naturalist, best know for his extraordinary natural history programs. His passion for nature has influenced and inspired a generation of biologists and naturalists, including the authors of the paper and the author of this blog. The species name highlights the resemblance with flowers of some species of Solanum, which is rather unusual and new for a flower of this family.

The present study deals with the description of a new species of Rhinolekos. It can be distinguished from its congeners by having 31 vertebrae, the anterior portion of the compound supraneural-first dorsal-fin proximal radial contacting the neural spine of the 9th vertebra, the absence of transverse dark bands in the pectoral, pelvic and anal-fin rays, 24–28 plates in the dorsal series, the lack of odontodes on the ventral tip of the snout, the absence of accessory teeth, a greater prenasal length, a smaller head length, and by a greater snout length. Rhinolekos capetinga is restricted to the headwaters of the rio Tocantins and it is the first species of this genus in the Amazon basin. Additionally, we present a brief discussion of a biogeographic scenario that may explain the dispersal of the new species from the rio Paranaíba to the rio Tocantins basin. We suggest that the ancestral lineage of R. capetinga reached the rio Tocantins from portions of the rio Paranaíba at the end of the Miocene, about 6.3 Mya (4.1–13.9 Mya 95% HPD), probably as a result of headwater capture processes among adjacent drainages.

And another species of the Loricariid family. I mentioned three others last week in this column. This new species was give the name 'capetinga' from the Tupi-guarani dialect which  is in reference to the old and unused name of the São João D´Aliança municipality. The name 'capetinga' means white, or clear water.

The freshwater genus Hyalella Smith, 1874 has a distribution restricted to the Western Hemisphere with most species being found in South America. In this report we describe a new species of Hyalella from the Atlantic Forest of the Misiones province, Argentina.

The amphipod genus Hyalella includes about 70 valid species with a distribution limited to the Americas. So far nine of those have been recorded for Argentina and here comes number ten found in the province of Misiones, hence the species name.
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Bythinella anatolica sp. n., Bythinella istanbulensis sp. n., Bythinella magdalenae sp. n., and Bythinella wilkei sp. n. from western Turkey are described herein. Illustrations of the shell and genitalia of the newly described taxa, together with comparisons with previously known Bythinella taxa and a key to the species from western Turkey, are also provided.

A genus of small (1-3 mm) freshwater snails occuring mostly in cold water springs (10 °C). The genus is rather large with 132 species and (sigh) subspecies. Here are four new members named either after location (Bythinella anatolica, Bythinella istanbulensis) or malacologists (Bythinella magdalenae, Bythinella wilkei). The latter was named after Thomas Wilke, who used to work in the ecology and evolution group at the Goethe University Frankfurt around the same time I did my final undergrad and diploma work there. Congrats to him.
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A comparative analysis of gemmular architecture adaptive morpho-traits at family level is reported for Metaniidae together with the discovery and description of a new species from the River Mangoky (High Plateau), Madagascar. The new Malagasy species, ascribed to Metania for diagnostic traits of the skeleton and the gemmular architecture, differs from all the other known species of the genus in its unique combination of diagnostic traits. Metania madagascariensis sp. nov. is characterised by encrusting growth form, conulose surface, specialized ectosomal skeleton, alveolate-reticulate choanosomal skeleton, two types of megascleres as smooth oxeas (α) and acanthoxeas (β) ornamented with spines and/or tubercles, one type of microsclere as acanthoxeas with dense spines/tubercles bearing rosettes of microspines at tips; gemmules with or without cage of megascleres and frequently surrounded by microscleres; gemmular theca trilayered with pneumatic layer of fibrous spongin, boletiform (trumpet-like) gemmuloscleres with proximal true rotule large, smooth and with irregular blunt margins, and distal knob-like pseudorotule notably smaller, with a few hooks at the margins. M. madagascariensis belongs to the Afrotropical species group of Metania. Identification keys and an annotated checklist at global level are also provided together with a species-level discussion of Metania focusing on morphology, taxonomy, nomenclature
and biogeography.

A new species of freshwater sponges found on Madagascar. The species name is derived from the name of Madagascar as this is so far the only species of the genus Metania reported from the island.
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Four species of palicoid crabs, Neopalicus jukesii (White, 1847) and Rectopalicus ampullatus Castro, 2000 of the family Palicidae, and Crossotonotus spinipes (De Man, 1888) and a new species of Pleurophricus A. Milne-Edwards, 1873 of the family Crossotonotidae, are recorded from the Ogasawara Islands, Japan. Diagnostics for the new species are the protruded bilobed front, six subacute lobate teeth at each lateral margin of the carapace, six rounded lobes at the posterior margin of the carapace, a crested armature of the cheliped carpus, and the strongly depressed ambulatory legs, which readily distinguish it from its two congeners, P. cristatipes A. Milne-Edwards, 1873 known by two males from Australia and the Kai Islands in Indonesia, and P. longirostris (Moosa & Serène, 1981) known by a female from the Sunda Strait, Indonesia.

A new crab species fund close to the Ogasawara Islands. Named from the Latin stella for “star” in reference to its general appearance, 
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