- Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft (46)
A new golden frog species of the genus Diasporus (Amphibia, Eleutherodactylidae) from the Cordillera Central, western Panama
- We describe the frog species Diasporus citrinobapheussp. n. from the Cordillera Central of western Panama. The new species differs from all other species in its genus in coloration, disk cover and disk pad shape, skin texture, advertisement call, and size. It is most similar to Diasporus tigrillo, from which it differs in dorsal skin texture, relative tibia length, number of vomerine teeth, ventral coloration, dorsal markings, and relative tympanum size, and to Diasporus gularis, from which it can be distinguished by the lack of membranes between the toes, adult size, posterior thigh coloration, and position of the choanae. We provide data on morpho- logy, vocalization, and distribution of the new species, as well as brief information on its natural history.
Species history masks the effects of human-induced range loss - unexpected genetic diversity in the endangered giant mayfly Palingenia longicauda
- Freshwater biodiversity has declined dramatically in Europe in recent decades. Because of massive habitat pollution and morphological degradation of water bodies, many once widespread species persist in small fractions of their original range. These range contractions are generally believed to be accompanied by loss of intraspecific genetic diversity, due to the reduction of effective population sizes and the extinction of regional genetic lineages. We aimed to assess the loss of genetic diversity and its significance for future potential reintroduction of the long-tailed mayfly Palingenia longicauda (Olivier), which experienced approximately 98% range loss during the past century. Analysis of 936 bp of mitochondrial DNA of 245 extant specimens across the current range revealed a surprisingly large number of haplotypes (87), and a high level of haplotype diversity (Hd = 0.875). In contrast, historic specimens (6) from the lost range (Rhine catchment) were not differentiated from the extant Rába population (F ST = 0.02, p = 0.61), despite considerable geographic distance separating the two rivers. These observations can be explained by an overlap of the current with the historic (Pleistocene) refugia of the species. Most likely, the massive recent range loss mainly affected the range which was occupied by rapid post-glacial dispersal. We conclude that massive range losses do not necessarily coincide with genetic impoverishment and that a species' history must be considered when estimating loss of genetic diversity. The assessment of spatial genetic structures and prior phylogeographic information seems essential to conserve once widespread species.
Palystes kreutzmanni sp. n. – a new huntsman spider species from fynbos vegetation in Western Cape Province, South Africa (Araneae, Sparassidae, Palystinae)
- Palystes kreutzmanni sp. n. is described from habitats close to Kleinmond, in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Spiders of this new species live in the typical fynbos vegetation of the Western Cape region. They build retreats between apical leaves of Leucadendron bushes. The systematic position of Palystes kreutzmanni sp. n. is discussed. Male and female show characters of different species groups, especially the female copulatory organ seems to be unique within the genus Palystes L. Koch, 1875.
A new species of Thecadactylus from Sint Maarten, Lesser Antilles (Reptilia, Squamata, Gekkonidae)
- We describe a new species of Thecadactylusfrom the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. The new species differs from all other species in the genus by having a distinct dorsal pattern of numerous irregular but sharply deliminated black spots and blotches on an otherwise almost patternless background.
The antiquity of the Rhine River: stratigraphic coverage of the Dinotheriensande (Eppelsheim Formation) of the Mainz Basin (Germany)
Mammalian fossils from the Eppelsheim Formation (Dinotheriensande) have been a benchmark for Neogene vertebrate palaeontology since 200 years. Worldwide famous sites like Eppelsheim serve as key localities for biochronologic, palaeobiologic, environmental, and mammal community studies. So far the formation is considered to be of early Late Miocene age (~9.5 Ma, Vallesian), representing the oldest sediments of the Rhine River. The stratigraphic unity of the formation and of its fossil content was disputed at times, but persists unresolved.
Here we investigate a new fossil sample from Sprendlingen, composed by over 300 mammalian specimens and silicified wood. The mammals comprise entirely Middle Miocene species, like cervids Dicrocerus elegans, Paradicrocerus elegantulus, and deinotheres Deinotherium bavaricum and D. levius. A stratigraphic evaluation of Miocene Central European deer and deinothere species proof the stratigraphic inhomogenity of the sample, and suggest late Middle Miocene (~12.5 Ma) reworking of early Middle Miocene (~15 Ma) sediments. This results agree with taxonomic and palaeoclimatic analysis of plant fossils from above and within the mammalian assemblage. Based on the new fossil sample and published data three biochronologic levels within the Dinotheriensand fauna can be differentiated, corresponding to early Middle Miocene (late Orleanian to early Astaracian), late Middle Miocene (late Astaracian), and early Late Miocene (Vallesian) ages.
This study documents complex faunal mixing of classical Dinotheriensand fauna, covering at least six million years, during a time of low subsidence in the Mainz Basin and shifts back the origination of the Rhine River by some five million years. Our results have severe implications for biostratigraphy and palaeobiology of the Middle to Late Miocene. They suggest that turnover events may be obliterated and challenge the proposed ‘supersaturated’ biodiversity, caused by Middle Miocene superstites, of Vallesian ecosystems in Central Europe.
Dental tissue proportions in fossil orangutans from mainland Asia and Indonesia
Tanya M. Smith
Kim Thuy Nguyen
John de Vos
John P. Zermeno
- Orangutans (Pongo) are the only great ape genus with a substantial Pleistocene and Holocene fossil record, demonstrating a much larger geographic range than extant populations. In addition to having an extensive fossil record, Pongo shows several convergent morphological similarities with Homo, including a trend of dental reduction during the past million years. While studies have documented variation in dental tissue proportions among species of Homo, little is known about variation in enamel thickness within fossil orangutans. Here we assess dental tissue proportions, including conventional enamel thickness indices, in a large sample of fossil orangutan postcanine teeth from mainland Asia and Indonesia. We find few differences between regions, except for significantly lower average enamel thickness (AET) values in Indonesian mandibular first molars. Differences between fossil and extant orangutans are more marked, with fossil Pongo showing higher AET in most postcanine teeth. These differences are significant for maxillary and mandibular first molars. Fossil orangutans show higher AET than extant Pongo due to greater enamel cap areas, which exceed increases in enamel-dentine junction length (due to geometric scaling of areas and lengths for the AET index calculation). We also find greater dentine areas in fossil orangutans, but relative enamel thickness indices do not differ between fossil and extant taxa. When changes in dental tissue proportions between fossil and extant orangutans are compared with fossil and recent Homo sapiens, Pongo appears to show isometric reduction in enamel and dentine, while crown reduction in H. sapiens appears to be due to preferential loss of dentine. Disparate selective pressures or developmental constraints may underlie these patterns. Finally, the finding of moderately thick molar enamel in fossil orangutans may represent an additional convergent dental similarity with Homo erectus, complicating attempts to distinguish these taxa in mixed Asian faunas.
Geobiologie : Kurzfassungen der Vorträge und Poster ; Göttingen, 02. bis 08. Oktober 2004 = Geobiology / Joachim Reitner ... (Hrsg.)
Controls on gut phosphatisation: the trilobites from the Weeks Formation Lagerstätte (Cambrian; Utah)
Thomas A. Hegna
- Despite being internal organs, digestive structures are frequently preserved in Cambrian Lagerstätten. However, the reasons for their fossilisation and their biological implications remain to be thoroughly explored. This is particularly true with arthropods--typically the most diverse fossilised organisms in Cambrian ecosystems--where digestive structures represent an as-yet underexploited alternative to appendage morphology for inferences on their biology. Here we describe the phosphatised digestive structures of three trilobite species from the Cambrian Weeks Formation Lagerstätte (Utah). Their exquisite, three-dimensional preservation reveals unique details on trilobite internal anatomy, such as the position of the mouth and the absence of a differentiated crop. In addition, the presence of paired pygidial organs of an unknown function is reported for the first time. This exceptional material enables exploration of the relationships between gut phosphatisation and the biology of organisms. Indeed, soft-tissue preservation is unusual in these fossils as it is restricted to the digestive structures, which indicates that the gut played a central role in its own phosphatisation. We hypothesize that the gut provided a microenvironment where special conditions could develop and harboured a source of phosphorus. The fact that gut phosphatization has almost exclusively been observed in arthropods could be explained by their uncommon ability to store ions (including phosphorous) in their digestive tissues. However, in some specimens from the Weeks Formation, the phosphatisation extends to the entire digestive system, suggesting that trilobites might have had some biological particularities not observed in modern arthropods. We speculate that one of them might have been an increased capacity for ion storage in the gut tissues, related to the moulting of their heavily-mineralised carapace.
Monsoon versus Uplift in Southwestern China–Late Pliocene Climate in Yuanmou Basin, Yunnan
Angela A. Bruch
- Yuanmou Basin of Yunnan, SW China, is a famous locality with hominids, hominoids, mammals and plant fossils. Based on the published megaflora and palynoflora data from Yuanmou Basin, the climate of Late Pliocene is reconstructed using the Coexistence Approach. The results indicate a warm and humid subtropical climate with a mean annual temperature of ca. 16–17°C and a mean annual precipitation of ca. 1500–1600 mm in the Late Pliocene rather than a dry, hot climate today, which may be due to the local tectonic change and gradual intensification of India monsoon. The comparison of Late Pliocene climate in Eryuan, Yangyi, Longling, and Yuanmou Basin of Yunnan Province suggests that the mean annual temperatures generally show a latitudinal gradient and fit well with their geographic position, while the mean annual precipitations seem to be related to the different geometries of the valleys under the same monsoon system.
Diversity and Distribution Patterns in High Southern Latitude Sponges
Rachel V. Downey
Huw J. Griffiths
- Sponges play a key role in Antarctic marine benthic community structure and dynamics and are often a dominant component of many Southern Ocean benthic communities. Understanding the drivers of sponge distribution in Antarctica enables us to understand many of general benthic biodiversity patterns in the region. The sponges of the Antarctic and neighbouring oceanographic regions were assessed for species richness and biogeographic patterns using over 8,800 distribution records. Species-rich regions include the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, South Georgia, Eastern Weddell Sea, Kerguelen Plateau, Falkland Islands and north New Zealand. Sampling intensity varied greatly within the study area, with sampling hotspots found at the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, north New Zealand and Tierra del Fuego, with limited sampling in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas in the Southern Ocean. In contrast to previous studies we found that eurybathy and circumpolar distributions are important but not dominant characteristics in Antarctic sponges. Overall Antarctic sponge species endemism is ~43%, with a higher level for the class Hexactinellida (68%). Endemism levels are lower than previous estimates, but still indicate the importance of the Polar Front in isolating the Southern Ocean fauna. Nineteen distinct sponge distribution patterns were found, ranging from regional endemics to cosmopolitan species. A single, distinct Antarctic demosponge fauna is found to encompass all areas within the Polar Front, and the sub-Antarctic regions of the Kerguelen Plateau and Macquarie Island. Biogeographical analyses indicate stronger faunal links between Antarctica and South America, with little evidence of links between Antarctica and South Africa, Southern Australia or New Zealand. We conclude that the biogeographic and species distribution patterns observed are largely driven by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the timing of past continent connectivity.