Zootaxa 3693 (4): 401–440 (31 Jul. 2013)
Revision of the Indo-West Pacific genus Brachypterois (Scorpaenidae: Pteroinae), with description of a new species from northeastern Australia
MIZUKI MATSUNUMA, MAKOTO SAKURAI & HIROYUKI MOTOMURA
A taxonomic revision of the scorpaenid genus Brachypterois resulted in three valid species. Brachypterois serrulifer Fowler 1938, previously regarded as a junior synonym of Sebastes serrulatus Richardson 1846, can be distinguished from its congeners by having usually 16 pectoral-fin rays (vs. 15 in the congeners) and 0–22 spines on the median lateral ridge of the maxilla (vs. almost always absent), in addition to longer dorsal- and anal-fin soft rays, relatively fewer large dark spots on the caudal fin, and the posterior lacrimal spines usually directed ventrally. Brachypterois curvispina sp. nov., described on the basis of 32 specimens, can be distinguished from B. serrulata (Richardson 1846) by having fewer number of scale rows in the longitudinal series 41–45 (vs. 44–51 in B. serrulata); relatively long head, its length 41.6–44.5 (mean 43.1)% SL [vs. 38.3–43.1 (mean 40.2)% SL]; posterior lacrimal spines usually directed posteriorly, with the tip curved strongly upward in large males (vs. simply directed posteroventrally); and posteriorly directed spine(s) on the posterior corner of the outer angular ridge (vs. directed ventrally). Brachypterois serrulifer is distributed widely in the Indo-West Pacific, whereas distributional ranges of B. curvispina sp. nov. and B. serrulata are restricted to northeastern Australia and the northwestern Pacific, respectively. Intraspecific variation, including sexual dimorphism and ontogenetic changes in the three species are described in detail. A neotype, collected from southern Taiwan, is designated for S. serrulatus Richardson 1846.
Zootaxa 3693 (4): 441–464 (31 Jul. 2013)
Description of a New Salamander of the Genus Onychodactylus from Shikoku and Western Honshu, Japan (Amphibia, Caudata, Hynobiidae)
NATSUHIKO YOSHIKAWA, MASAFUMI MATSUI, SHINGO TANABE & TAKEHITO OKAYAMA
Recent phylogenetic studies using mtDNA and allozymes clarified the presence of multiple distinct genetic lineages in the Japanese clawed salamander, Onychodactylus japonicus, of which two from northern regions of the country have already been described as new species. Based on morphological analyses of the remaining genetic lineages, we describe the lineage from Shikoku Island and Chugoku Mountains of western Honshu, in western Japan, as a new species, Onychodactylus kinneburi sp. nov. It belongs to the O. japonicus complex and is morphologically similar to O. japonicus (sensu stricto), but is distinguishable from all the other members of the complex by sharply defined yellowish-orange dorsal stripe on black ground color, lack of dark marking on chest, whitish ventrum, comparatively large body size, and relatively narrow head, usually with 19 presacral vertebrae, 13 costal grooves, and relatively smaller number of vomerine tooth series. The new species occurs exclusively in Shikoku Island, but is sympatric with O. japonicus in Chugoku Mountains.
Zootaxa 3693 (4): 479–490 (31 Jul. 2013)
A new ectoparasitic distichodontid of the genus Eugnathichthys (Characiformes: Citharinoidei) from the Congo basin of central Africa, with a molecular phylogeny for the genus
MELANIE L.J. STIASSNY, JOHN S.S. DENTON & RAOUL J.C. MONSEMBULA IYABA
A new species of ectoparasitic distichodontid, Eugnathichthys virgatus, is described from localities in the central and western Congo basin. The new species is a fin-eater even at small sizes and, in common with congeners, is capable of biting off sections of heavily ossified fin-rays of large prey species. Prior to the present study, two species were included in this distinctive distichodontid genus: the type species, Eugnathichthys eetveldii, and a second species, E. macroterolepis, both of which are widely distributed throughout much of the Congo basin. Morphologically, E. virgatus is readily distinguished from its two congeners based on a combination of meristic and morphometric attributes. The new species possesses a unique pigmentation pattern, a reduced number of pectoral-fin rays, and a markedly reduced dentition on the fifth ceratobranchial elements of the pharynx, all of which are derived features considered diagnostic for the new species. With molecular data the species is further diagnosed by four apomorphic, non-synonomous nucleotide transitions in two sampled genes (NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 and glycosyltransferase). Phylogenetic analysis of those mtDNA and ncDNA markers supports a sister-group relationship between E. virgatus and E. eetveldii rather than with E. macroterolepis, the species with which it bears closest phenetic similarity.
Zootaxa 3693 (4): 534–546 (31 Jul. 2013)
The first teresomatan caecilian (Amphibia: Gymnophiona) from the Eastern Ghats of India—a new species of Gegeneophis Peters, 1880
ISHAN AGARWAL, MARK WILKINSON, PRATYUSH P. MOHAPATRA, SUSHIL K. DUTTA, VARAD B. GIRI & DAVID J. GOWER
A new species of caecilian amphibian, Gegeneophis orientalis sp. nov., is described based on a series of nine specimens from high elevation (ca. 1,200 m) habitats in the Eastern Ghats in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, India. This species differs from all other congeners in having only bicuspid teeth in the outer as well as inner rows. The new species is the first caecilian reported from the state of Odisha, the first teresomatan caecilian from the Eastern Ghats, and is the only Indian indotyphlid known from outside the Western Ghats region.
Pikesley, S. K., Maxwell, S. M., Pendoley, K., Costa, D. P., Coyne, M. S., Formia, A., Godley, B. J., Klein, W., Makanga-Bahouna, J., Maruca, S., Ngouessono, S., Parnell, R. J., Pemo-Makaya, E., Witt, M. J. (2013), On the front line: integrated habitat mapping for olive ridley sea turtles in the southeast Atlantic. Diversity and Distributions. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12118
Knowledge and understanding of marine vertebrate spatial ecology are required to identify sources of threat and highlight areas for conservation. Olive ridley sea turtles Lepidochelys olivacea are in decline in some regions, and data for the Eastern Atlantic are sparse. Here, we seek to describe observed, and potential, post-nesting habitats for this species in the southeast Atlantic. We contextualize these with fisheries catch data to identify areas of potential threat from fisheries interaction for this species.
M. Zaccaroni, N. Biliotti, A. Buccianti, S. Calieri, M. Ferretti, M. Genghini, F. Riga, V. Trocchi, F. Dessì-Fulgheri, Winter locomotor activity patterns of European hares (Lepus europaeus), Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, Available online 31 July 2013, ISSN 1616-5047, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2013.07.001.
In this study, activity patterns of the European hare (Lepus europaeus) were analyzed during winter using global positioning system (GPS) collars on 24 hares in two study areas located in central Italy. We programmed the collars to collect 12 location points per day, for a duration of three months. Results show two distinct phases of activities related to the day–night cycle. The daytime phase is characterized by inactivity at the form while the second phase is characterized by movements. Males were more active than females, showing a constant locomotor activity during the whole night. Females showed two peaks of activity during the night with a reduction in the middle of this time period. The comparison between females of the two study areas showed difference in interfix distance in particular around sunset and sunrise. In fact the minimum daily movement between the two areas shows that foraging sites of area B are more distant than those of area A. The recent possibility to apply GPS collars on small–medium mammals provides a powerful instrument to study the behavioral ecology of the European hare, and consequently promote an effective population management strategy for the species conservation.
R. Cransberg, K. Wakamatsu, K. Munyard, Melanin characterisation suggests that the “brown” phenotype in alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is predominantly pheomelanic, Small Ruminant Research, Available online 31 July 2013, ISSN 0921-4488, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2013.07.004.
The “brown” phenotype in alpacas, as described by breeders, is heterogeneous and probably has diverse aetiology. Various “brown” alpaca phenotypes were investigated to try to determine their genetic origin. Using both spectrophotometric and HPLC tests we have determined the total amount of melanin and relative amounts of eumelanin and pheomelanin in a group of alpacas from Australia. The distribution of colour across different parts of the fleece was also analysed. Spectrophotometrically there was no significant difference in the eumelanin:pheomelanin ratio between white and light fawn (P = 0.238), fawn (P = 0.428), brown (P = 0.208), and red brown samples (P = 0.232); all of which were predominantly pheomelanic. This data was supported by a comparison between alpacas described as “brown” by breeders, and known eumelanic brown dogs, between which a clear difference in the type of melanins present was seen. HPLC analysis confirmed that the fibre of all the “brown” alpacas sampled in this study contained predominantly pheomelanic melanin, rather than eumelanin, indicating the possible absence of the eumelanic brown phenotype in the species. This data suggests that “brown” in alpacas is predominantly caused by pheomelanin and that variations between different “brown” colours are caused by changes in pheomelanin levels, and relative amounts of black eumelanin, as opposed to brown eumelanin.
Ben A. Minteer and James P. Collins
Ecological Ethics in Captivity: Balancing Values and Responsibilities in Zoo and Aquarium Research under Rapid Global Change
ILAR J (2013) 54 (1): 41-51 doi:10.1093/ilar/ilt009
Ethical obligations to animals in conservation research and management are manifold and often conflicting. Animal welfare concerns often clash with the ethical imperative to understand and conserve a population or ecosystem through research and management intervention. The accelerating pace and impact of global environmental change, especially climate change, complicates our understanding of these obligations. One example is the blurring of the distinction between ex situ (zoo- and aquarium-based) conservation and in situ (field-based) approaches as zoos and aquariums become more active in field conservation work and as researchers and managers consider more intensive interventions in wild populations and ecosystems to meet key conservation goals. These shifts, in turn, have consequences for our traditional understanding of the ethics of wildlife research and management, including our relative weighting of animal welfare and conservation commitments across rapidly evolving ex situ and in situ contexts. Although this changing landscape in many ways supports the increased use of captive wildlife in conservation-relevant research, it raises significant ethical concerns about human intervention in populations and ecosystems, including the proper role of zoos and aquariums as centers for animal research and conservation in the coming decades. Working through these concerns requires a pragmatic approach to ethical analysis, one that is able to make trade-offs among the many goods at stake (e.g., animal welfare, species viability, and ecological integrity) as we strive to protect species from further decline and extinction in this century.
Igawa T, Sugawara H, Tado M, Nishitani T, Kurabayashi A, Islam MM, Oumi S, Katsuren S, Fujii T, Sumida M. An Attempt at Captive Breeding of the Endangered Newt Echinotriton andersoni, from the Central Ryukyus in Japan. Animals. 2013; 3(3):680-692.
Anderson’s crocodile newt (Echinotriton andersoni) is distributed in the Central Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan, but environmental degradation and illegal collection over the last several decades have devastated the local populations. It has therefore been listed as a class B1 endangered species in the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is at high risk of extinction in the wild. The species is also protected by law in both Okinawa and Kagoshima prefectures. An artificial insemination technique using hormonal injections could not be applied to the breeding of this species in the laboratory. In this study we naturally bred the species, and tested a laboratory farming technique using several male and female E. andersoni pairs collected from Okinawa, Amami, and Tokunoshima Islands and subsequently maintained in near-biotopic breeding cages. Among 378 eggs derived from 17 females, 319 (84.4%) became normal tailbud embryos, 274 (72.5%) hatched normally, 213 (56.3%) metamorphosed normally, and 141 (37.3%) became normal two-month-old newts; in addition, 77 one- to three-year-old Tokunoshima newts and 32 Amami larvae are currently still growing normally. Over the last five breeding seasons, eggs were laid in-cage on slopes near the waterfront. Larvae were raised in nets maintained in a temperature-controlled water bath at 20 °C and fed live Tubifex. Metamorphosed newts were transferred to plastic containers containing wet sponges kept in a temperature-controlled incubator at 22.5 °C and fed a cricket diet to promote healthy growth. This is the first published report of successfully propagating an endangered species by using breeding cages in a laboratory setting for captive breeding. Our findings on the natural breeding and raising of larvae and adults are useful in breeding this endangered species and can be applied to the preservation of other similarly wild and endangered species such as E. chinhaiensis.
Sitompul AF, Griffin CR, Rayl ND, Fuller TK. Spatial and Temporal Habitat Use of an Asian Elephant in Sumatra. Animals. 2013; 3(3):670-679.
Increasingly, habitat fragmentation caused by agricultural and human development has forced Sumatran elephants into relatively small areas, but there is little information on how elephants use these areas and thus, how habitats can be managed to sustain elephants in the future. Using a Global Positioning System (GPS) collar and a land cover map developed from TM imagery, we identified the habitats used by a wild adult female elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) in the Seblat Elephant Conservation Center, Bengkulu Province, Sumatra during 2007–2008. The marked elephant (and presumably her 40–60 herd mates) used a home range that contained more than expected medium canopy and open canopy land cover. Further, within the home range, closed canopy forests were used more during the day than at night. When elephants were in closed canopy forests they were most often near the forest edge vs. in the forest interior. Effective elephant conservation strategies in Sumatra need to focus on forest restoration of cleared areas and providing a forest matrix that includes various canopy types.
Marc R. L. Cattet
Falling through the Cracks: Shortcomings in the Collaboration between Biologists and Veterinarians and Their Consequences for Wildlife
ILAR J (2013) 54 (1): 33-40 doi:10.1093/ilar/ilt010
Although biologists and veterinarians have shown considerable success in working together to address wildlife-related issues, including disease, chemical immobilization, reproductive biology, and conservation biology, examples of shared efforts to evaluate and ensure the welfare of study animals are mostly absent. I present the case that this deficiency arises primarily from a lack of mutual understanding between fields with respect to the other’s training and experience in addressing animal welfare issues. In effect, each assumes that the final word on animal welfare rests with the other. The reality is, however, that neither field contains the knowledge and skills required to address animal welfare concerns alone. Nevertheless, wildlife researchers are increasingly encountering difficulties conducting research on wild animals because of opposition from stakeholders on the basis of animal welfare concerns. Further, a growing number of articles in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are reporting on potential biases in research results developing from the welfare impacts of widely used techniques, including methods of capturing and marking wildlife. By viewing animal welfare as a shared responsibility and combining their knowledge and skills, wildlife biologists and veterinarians have an opportunity to reform “invasive” wildlife research in a manner that is less harmful to the animals being studied, less likely to bias research results, and less objectionable to the stakeholders who ultimately influence or make decisions on how wildlife research is conducted.
Zootaxa 3694 (1): 040–050 (1 Aug. 2013)
Two additional new species of Sphaerodactylus (Reptilia, Squamata, Gekkonoidea, Sphaerodactylidae) from the Honduran Bay Islands
JAMES R. MCCRANIE & S. BLAIR HEDGES
Recently, we described two new species of geckos of the genus Sphaerodactylus from the Bay Islands of Honduras. After further collections, and morphological and molecular analyses, we describe two additional species here. One of the new species belongs to the S. millepunctatus species group, which is centered in Middle America. The other new species belongs to the S. copei species group, which is centered in the Greater Antilles.
Zootaxa 3694 (1): 051–058 (1 Aug. 2013)
A new species of Phyllodactylus (Reptilia, Squamata, Gekkonoidea, Phyllodactylidae) from Isla de Guanaja in the Honduran Bay Islands
JAMES R. MCCRANIE & S. BLAIR HEDGES
Morphological and molecular analyses of the Phyllodactylus populations on the Honduran Bay Islands of Guanaja, Roatán, and Utila demonstrate that the Guanaja population is best treated as a species distinct from the two other island populations. Thus, P. palmeus is restricted in distribution to Roatán and Utila islands and the Cayos Cochinos and a new species name is provided for the Guanaja Island population of the P. palmeus species group.
Zootaxa 3694 (1): 075–080 (1 Aug. 2013)
On the taxonomic validity of Pristimantis tepuiensis (Schlüter & Rödder, 2007) and P. stegolepis (Schlüter & Rödder, 2007), with remarks on the type series of P. guaiquinimensis (Schlüter & Rödder, 2007)
PHILIPPE J.R. KOK & CÉSAR L. BARRIO-AMORÓS
The type series of Pristimantis guaiquinimensis (Schlüter & Rödder, 2007), P. tepuiensis (Schlüter & Rödder, 2007) and P. stegolepis (Schlüter & Rödder, 2007) have been thoroughly examined. We highlight a number of discrepancies in the original descriptions that do not support the recognition of P. stegolepis and P. tepuiensis as valid species. We demonstrate that P. stegolepis should be considered a junior synonym of P. vilarsi (Melin, 1941), and that P. tepuiensis should be considered a junior synonym of P. guaiquinimensis. We also point out that the sex of the holotype and paratype of P. guaiquinimensis have been wrongly determined.
Martín, J., Ortega, J., López, P., Pérez-Cembranos, A. and Pérez-Mellado, V. (2013), Fossorial life does not constrain diet selection in the amphisbaenian Trogonophis wiegmanni. Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1111/jzo.12064
Morphological adaptations of amphisbaenians for a fossorial life constrain their ecological demands in a greater way than for epigeal reptiles. Studies on the diet of amphisbaenians suggest that most species are generalists, although others seem more selective. However, there is no information on the diet preferences of almost any species because most studies did not evaluate the availability of prey in the environment. We analysed the spring diet selection of a population of the amphisbaenian Trogonophis wiegmanni from the Chafarinas Islands, in North Africa. We specifically examined diet estimated from faecal material collected from live amphisbaenians and compared diet with the availability of invertebrates in the soil. Results indicate that the diet of T. wiegmanni amphisbaenians consists of some of the types of invertebrates that are more commonly found under rocks used by amphisbaenians, such as insect larvae, snails, isopods, beetles and ants. This diet could be initially considered generalist, and probably opportunistic. However, the comparison of proportions of prey types in the diet and those available in the habitat revealed that T. wiegmanni does not eat prey at random, but selects some particular prey types (insect larvae and pupae and, surprisingly, snails), while others (ants and isopods) are consumed less than expected by their abundance. We did not found differences between sexes or age classes in diet composition. We discuss how diet preferences could be due to selection of the more profitable or easily captured prey. There are many aspects of the feeding and foraging biology of amphisbaenians that remain unknown and further studies are clearly needed.
Levesque, D. L., Lovasoa, O. M. A., Rakotoharimalala, S. N. and Lovegrove, B. G. (2013), High mortality and annual fecundity in a free-ranging basal placental mammal, Setifer setosus (Tenrecidae: Afrosoricida). Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1111/jzo.12063
The spiny tenrecs, an endemic subfamily of Malagasy insectivores (Tenrecinae), are wide ranging and fairly conspicuous, yet long-term studies on free-ranging populations remain sparse. Basal to most eutherian mammals, they share many ecological and morphological traits with proposed eutherian ancestors. Understanding of their unusual life histories is therefore important to the understanding of mammalian evolution. Here we present the results of a 3-year study on a population of Setifer setosus in the dry deciduous forest of Western Madagascar. The annual activity cycle of this species includes a 5–7-month hibernation period, during the dry season, and a dramatic increase in body mass during the active season. Females, observed giving birth to up to three litters in a single season, entered hibernation later than males, after weaning their last litter. Short intervals between parturition dates and simultaneous gestation and lactation provide evidence of post-partum oestrus, previously observed in only one other species of tenrec (Geogale aurita, subfamily:Geogalinae). High levels of mortality, primarily by snakes and ground predators, were also observed and likely contribute, along with the unpredictability of Madagascar’s climate, to the unusually fast life history of these mammals.
Katandukila, J. V., Faulkes, C. G., Chimimba, C. T. and Bennett, N. C. (2013), Reproduction in the East African root rat (Tachyoryctes splendens; Rodentia: Spalacidae) from Tanzania: the importance of rainfall. Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1111/jzo.12067
The East African root rat Tachyoryctes splendens (Rüppell, 1835) is a solitary subterranean rodent mole. The present study investigated breeding patterns in both sexes of T. splendens from data collected at monthly intervals over an entire calendar year. The study focused on the analyses from post-mortem examination of male and female East African root rats to assess the presence of foetuses, gonadal histology, reproductive tract morphometrics, measurement of gonadal steroids (plasma progesterone and oestradiol-17β in females and testosterone in males) and field observations (i.e. the presence of infants, juveniles, subadults and lactating females). The objective of this study was to assess if the reproductive biology of root rats reflected the bimodal pattern of rainfall that is characteristic of East Africa. Rainfall has been suggested to trigger breeding in many subterranean rodents and as a consequence, this study aimed to assess the relationship between rainfall and reproductive characteristics of T. splendens. Peaks in mean gonadal mass, increases in concentration of reproductive hormones and the presence of graafian follicles and corpora lutea in the ovaries of females, and testes mass, seminiferous tubule diameter and testosterone titre mirrored the annual peaks of precipitation at the study area. Together with field observations of the temporal occurrence of pregnancies, infants, juveniles and subadults, the data show that T. spendens cues its breeding with the patterns of rainfall, such that offspring are born in the latter half of each rainy season, from April to July and November to December.