skip to main content

Title: A new miniature Melanesian Forest Frog (Ceratobatrachidae: Cornufer) from New Britain Island, constituting the first record of the subgenus Batrachylodes from outside of the Solomon Archipelago
We describe a new species of Cornufer, subgenus Batrachylodes, from high-elevation forests of New Britain Island in the Bismarck Archipelago of Eastern Melanesia. The new species, Cornufer exedrus sp. nov., is a biogeographically disjunct member of the Batrachylodes clade, representing the first record of the subgenus from outside of the Solomon Archipelago. The new species is a small terrestrial form from dense, closed-canopy forests above 1500 meters elevation in the Nakanai Mountains of eastern New Britain. It differs from its closest relatives, the other members of the subgenus Batrachylodes, on the basis of its minute body size, degree of digital disc expansion, reduced subdigital tuberculation, color pattern, and other traits related to its small size. We also provide a description of the new species’ simple advertisement call. The diversity of ceratobatrachid frogs of the Bismarck Archipelago is most likely still underestimated despite several recent surveys. Our understanding of evolutionary trends and species boundaries in the subgenus Batrachylodes currently is hampered by lack of genetic samples and call recordings corresponding to voucher specimens of the endemic species of Bougainville Island.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Page Range / eLocation ID:
23; 44
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    We describe a new species of frog of the genus Platymantis Günther (subgenus Tirahanulap), from the east-central regions of the Philippines. It belongs to the the previously-defined P. hazelae Group) based on morphological and bioacoustic datasets. The new species is phenotypically and ecologically most similar to members of Tirahanulap, an assemblage of small-bodied arboreal frogs inhabiting montane forests of the central and northern islands of the Philippine archipelago. The new species represents the first taxon in the Cloud Frog species known from the biogeographically unique Mindanao Pleistocene Aggregate Island Complex. Particularly susceptible to local extirpation following deforestation, all known species of Tirahanulap are important indicator species for environmental and conservation assessments, making this new species not only an exceptional addition to Philippine biodiversity but also an important symbol for conservation initiatives in the region. 
    more » « less
  2. We describe a new species of Lepidodactylus from Umboi Island, just to the west of New Britain. It is a member of the Lepidodactylus guppyi Group and can be distinguished from all other Melanesian Lepidodactylus by aspects of digital scalation, digital webbing, enlarged femoral/precloacal scales, and color pattern. It is genetically distinct from its closest congeners, and genetic and morphological data indicate that the new species is most similar among named species to Lepidodactylus guppyi from the Solomon Islands, but it diverged from this species and other close relatives approximately 8 MYA or longer at a time prior to the existence of the island that it now occupies. The new species is known from only three individuals collected on a single tree, and efforts to find more animals in what seemed good habitat nearby were unsuccessful. This duplicates the pattern of apparent rarity seen for many Lepidodactylus species. Sufficient habitat exists on Umboi Island for arboreal geckos, suggesting that the species is not actually endangered but is ecologically cryptic. However, lack of needed information leads us to assess this species’ conservation status as Data Deficient. 
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    A new ectomycorrhizal species was discovered during the first survey of fungal diversity at Brijuni National Park (Croatia), which consists of 14 islands and islets. The National Park is located in the Mediterranean Biogeographical Region, a prominent climate change hot-spot. Inocybe brijunica sp. nov., from sect. Hysterices (Agaricales, Inocybaceae), is described based on morphology and multilocus phylogenetic data. The holotype collection was found at the edge between grassland and Quercus ilex forest with a few planted Pinus pinea trees, on Veli Brijun Island, the largest island of the archipelago. It is easily recognized by a conspicuous orange to orange–red–brown membranaceous surface layer located at or just above the basal part of the stipe. Other distinctive features of I. brijunica are the medium brown, radially fibrillose to rimose pileus; pale to medium brown stipe with fugacious cortina; relatively small, amygdaliform to phaseoliform, and smooth basidiospores, measuring ca. 6.5–9 × 4–5.5 µm; thick-walled, utriform, lageniform or fusiform pleurocystidia (lamprocystidia) with crystals and mostly not yellowing in alkaline solutions; cheilocystidia of two types (lamprocystidia and leptocystidia); and the presence of abundant caulocystidia only in the upper 2–3 mm of the stipe. Phylogenetic reconstruction of a concatenated dataset of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS), the nuclear 28S rRNA gene (nrLSU), and the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (rpb2) resolved I. brijunica and I. glabripes as sister species. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract. We report on the second known specimen of the recently described banded Asian coralsnake, Calliophis salitan, identified among the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales collections of Dr. Hipólito Fernández, made in 1886. The specimen was collected on Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines as part of the “Comisión Central de Manila,” the Spanish Crown’s effort to catalogue and showcase Philippine biodiversity for the Madrid public. We assign this important specimen to C. salitan (formerly known from a single specimen collected on Dinagat Island) based on its highly distinctive external phenotypic characteristics (scalation, body size, and inferred colour pattern). The discovery of C. salitan on Mindanao significantly extends the known geographic range of this species and partially fills an intermediate distributional hiatus – a large geographic gap in the distribution of large-bodied, long-glanded coralsnakes. This report partially resolves a biogeographic enigma surrounding the question of how a distinctive evolutionary lineage of elapid snakes – more closely related to the Calliophis bivirgatus group from Borneo and other landmasses of Sundaland than to any other Philippine elapids – could have colonized only a small island (Dinagat) in the geographic interior of the archipelago. The answer appears, most likely, that this dispersal occurred over land, via the large intervening island of Mindanao. Although the exact site of collection is unknown, consideration of the collector’s itinerary suggests that it originated most likely in the vicinity of Davao City, southeastern Mindanao. Its discovery confirms that C. salitan occurs on Mindanao (or, at least, did occur on this island as recently as 133 years ago), and that locating additional populations via targeted surveys is an urgent priority for conservation of this remarkable Philippine endemic snake lineage. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract We describe a new species of Crocidura (Soricidae) from Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, documenting its novelty with both genetic and morphological characters. The new species is widespread on the island, with vouchered records from nine general localities distributed among five of the island’s areas of endemism. Morphologically, the new species is readily distinguished from all other described Sulawesi Crocidura by its intermediate body size, gray pelage, and long, hairy tail. The new species was mainly captured in pitfalls placed in the ground, but we also obtained evidence that it readily climbs trees and may be scansorial in its locomotor habits. Populations of the new species sampled from across the island are closely related, separated by < 0.02 uncorrected mitochondrial p-distances. The new species is one member of an endemic radiation of shrews on Sulawesi now known to contain six valid species and several undescribed species, all within the genus Crocidura. Resolution of species limits and phylogenetic relationships in this radiation is hindered by habitat loss at type localities, historical designation of new species using very small sample sizes, and a lack of genetic data from type specimens. Kami mendeskripsikan spesies baru Crocidura (Soricidae) dari Pulau Sulawesi, Indonesia, sekaligus mendokumentasikan keunikan karakter secara genetik maupun morfologi dari spesies tersebut. Spesies baru ini tersebar luas di Pulau Sulawesi, diketahui berdasarkan spesimen yang berasal dari sembilan lokasi umum yang tersebar di lima kawasan endemik di pulau tersebut. Secara morfologi, spesies baru ini dapat dibedakan dari spesies Crocidura lainnya dari Sulawesi berdasarkan ukuran tubuh yang sedang, rambut tubuh berwarna abu-abu, dan ekor yang panjang dan berambut. Spesies baru ini sebagian besar diperoleh dari perangkap sumuran yang ditanam didalam tanah, selain itu kami juga mendapatkan bukti bahwa spesies ini mampu memanjat pohon dan kemungkinan memiliki perilaku sebagai pemanjat. Beberapa populasi spesies yang dikoleksi dari Sulawesi ini mempunyai kekerabatan yang dekat, hanya dipisahkan oleh jarak proporsi DNA mitokondria (tidak terkoreksi) sebesar < 0.02. Spesies baru ini merupakan salah satu anggota dari suatu kelompok radiasi endemik cecurut di Sulawesi yang sampai saat ini diketahui terdiri atas enam spesies yang valid, dan beberapa spesies yang belum dideskripsikan, semuanya termasuk didalam genus Crocidura. Kepastian dalam menetapkan batasan jarak antar spesies dan hubungan kekerabatan genetik dari radiasi kelompok cecurut di Sulawesi terkendala oleh kerusakan habitat pada lokasi spesimen tipe, sejarah penamaan spesies yang hanya berdasarkan sampel yang sedikit, dan keterbatasan data molekuler dari spesimen tipe. 
    more » « less