Phylogenetic relationships of Mesoamerican spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi): Molecular evidence suggests the need for a revised taxonomy.

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 82: 484-494.


Mesoamerican spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi sensu lato) are widely distributed from Mexico to northern Colombia. This group of primates includes many allopatric forms with morphologically distinct pelage color and patterning, but its taxonomy and phylogenetic history are poorly understood. We explored the genetic relationships among the different forms of Mesoamerican spider monkeys using mtDNA sequence data, and we offer a new hypothesis for the evolutionary history of the group. We collected up to ~800 bp of DNA sequence data from hypervariable region 1 (HV1) of the control region, or D-loop, of the mitochondrion for multiple putative subspecies of Ateles geoffroyi sensu lato. Both maximum likelihood and Bayesian reconstructions, using Ateles paniscus as an outgroup, showed that (1) A. fusciceps and A. geoffroyi form two different monophyletic groups and (2) currently recognized subspecies of A. geoffroyi are not monophyletic. Within A. geoffroyi, our phylogenetic analysis revealed little concordance between any of the classifications proposed for this taxon and their phylogenetic relationships, therefore a new classification is needed for this group. Several possible clades with recent divergence times (1.7–0.8 Ma) were identified within Ateles geoffroyi sensu lato. Some previously recognized taxa were not separated by our data (e.g., A. g. vellerosus and A. g. yucatanensis), while one distinct clade had never been described as a different evolutionary unit based on pelage or geography (Ateles geoffroyi ssp. indet. from El Salvador). Based on well-supported phylogenetic relationships, our results challenge previous taxonomic arrangements for Mesoamerican spider monkeys. We suggest a revised arrangement based on our data and call for a thorough taxonomic revision of this group.


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Dienstag, 20 April 2021 05:50

GRAF, R. & FISCHER, C. (2021)

Atlas der Säugetiere Schweiz und Liechtenstein.

488 Seiten, durchgehend farbig illustriert mit rund 420 Fotos, 120 Karten und 160 Diagrammen.
Hrsg.: Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Wildtierbiologie (SGW)
Haupt Verlag, Bern.1. Auflage.  ISBN: 978-3-258-08178-6


Dieses große Werk beruht auf jahrelanger Vorarbeit: alle Säugetierarten der Schweiz und Liechtensteins.Wissenschaftlich fundierte Artporträts zu allen 99 wildlebenden Arten mit zahlreichen Fotos und einer topaktuellen Verbreitungskarte.Herausgegeben von der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Wildtierbiologie.99 wildlebende Säugetierarten kommen aktuell In der Schweiz und in Liechtenstein vor. Der «Atlas der Säugetiere Schweiz und Liechtenstein» porträtiert diese gemäß dem wissenschaftlich aktuellen Wissensstand. Die Artporträts umfassen neben allgemein verständlichen Texten zur Biologie, Verbreitung, zu den Ansprüchen an den Lebensraum sowie zum Schutz und zum Managementstatus auch Verbreitungskarten, zahlreiche Fotos und Diagramme. Artübergreifende Aspekte werden in 15 Fokuskapiteln erläutert und umfassen Themen wie die Wiederansiedlung ausgestorbener Arten oder den Umgang mit Großraubtieren.Neben ausgewiesenen Sachverständigen haben im Rahmen von Citizen-Science-Projekten auch zahlreiche Laien am Atlas mitgewirkt.Das Werk ist auch in französischer (ISBN 978-3-258-08179-3) und italienischer (978-3-258-08180-9) Sprache erschienen.


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Mittwoch, 14 April 2021 10:26

WÜSTER, W. et al. (2018)

Integration of nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences and morphology reveals unexpected diversity in the forest cobra (Naja melanoleuca) species complex in Central and West Africa (Serpentes: Elapidae)

Zootaxa 4455 (1): 068–098. ISSN1175-5334(online edition).


Cobras are among the most widely known venomous snakes, and yet their taxonomy remains incompletely understood, particularly in Africa. Here, we use a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences and morphological data to diagnose species limits within the African forest cobra, Naja (Boulengerina) melanoleuca. Mitochondrial DNA sequences reveal deep divergences within this taxon. Congruent patterns of variation in mtDNA, nuclear genes and mor-phology support the recognition of five separate species, confirming the species status of N. subfulva and N. peroescobari, and revealing two previously unnamed West African species, which are described as new: Naja (Boulengerina) guineensis sp. nov. Broadley, Trape, Chirio, Ineich & Wüster, from the Upper Guinea forest of West Africa, and Naja (Boulengerina) savannula sp. nov. Broadley, Trape, Chirio & Wüster, a banded form from the savanna-forest mosaic of the Guinea and Sudanian savannas of West Africa. The discovery of cryptic diversity in this iconic group highlights our limited under-standing of tropical African biodiversity, hindering our ability to conserve it effectively.


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Larval morphology and development of the Malagasy frog Mantidactylus betsileanus.

SALAMANDRA 49(4): 186–200. ISSN 0036–3375.


The Mantellidae is a species-rich family of neobatrachian frogs endemic to Madagascar and Mayotte. Although tadpoles have been described from many mantellids, detailed studies of their early embryonic development are rare. We provide a documentation of the developmental stages of Mantidactylus betsileanus, a common mantellid frog of Madagascar’s eastern rainforests, based on clutches deposited and raised in captivity. Metamorphosis was completed after 89 days on average. External gills were not recognizable in the embryos, similar to three other, previously studied mantellids, which apparently constitutes a difference to the mantellid sister group, the Rhacophoridae. We also provide updated descriptions of the species’ larval morphology at stage 25 and stage 36, respectively, from captive bred and wild-caught individuals, and report variations in the keratodont row formula from 0/2, 1/1, 1/3 to 1:1+1/3.


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A Taxonomic Revision of Boas (Serpentes: Boidae).

Zootaxa 3846 (2): 249-260.


Large molecular datasets including many species and loci have greatly improved our knowledge of snake phylogeny, particularly within the group including boas (Table 1). Recent taxonomic revisions using molecular phylogenies have clarified some of the previously contentious nomenclature of the group (Wilcox et al. 2002; Lawson et al. 2004; Burbrink 2005; Noonan & Chippindale 2006), resulting in a robust taxonomy that is mostly concordant with the phylogeny as currently known, which includes ~85% of described, extant species (Pyron et al. 2013; Reynolds et al. 2014). However, a few unresolved issues remain, related primarily to the rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (the Code hereafter) and the application of Linnaean ranks (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature et al. 1999).


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A review of  the systematics of the genus Bradypodion (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae), with the description of two new genera.

Zootaxa 1363: 23–38. ISSN1175-5334 (online edition) 


The taxonomic history and composition of the genus Bradypodion as construed by Klaver & Böhme (1986) and new morphological and molecular data relevant to the taxonomy of the group is reviewed. The combined evidence strongly supports a formal rearrangement of the group into three distinct genera. Bradypodion, type species Chamaeleo pumilus Daudin 1802, is retained for the southern African species. Two new genera are erected to accommodate additional well-diagnosed clades within central and east African species previously referred to Bradypodion. Species of the “fischeri complex” are assigned to Kinyongia gen. nova, whilst the endemic Mulanje chameleon is placed in the monotypic genus Nadzikambia gen. nova.


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The two-horned chamaeleons of East Africa.

Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 152 (2): 367–391,


There have been numerous attempts to resolve the taxonomy of the two-horned chamaeleons of East Africa. However, the high levels of intraspecific variation and reported sympatry of morphologically distinct taxa indicate that their current classification is unsatisfactory. Tissue samples were collected from specimens from most mountain massifs (excluding the Nguu) where two-horned chamaeleons are known to occur and were used to sequence partial 12S and 16S rRNA, as well as ND2 mtDNA genes. These specimens and further museum material were used to review morphological variation and to define discriminating characters for each taxon. Phylogenetic analyses of gene sequences show clear genetic divergence between allopatric populations, although two lineages occur in sympatry in the East Usambara Mountains, and is supported by divergent morphology. In light of these results a formal revision of the taxonomy of all East African two-horned chamaeleons is proposed and seven species are recognized (Kinyongia boehmei, K. fischeri, K. matschiei, K. multituberculata, K. tavetana, K. uluguruensis and K. vosseleri). These taxa form a monophyletic group except for K. uluguruensis, which seems to be more closely related to one-horned species. Most of these taxa have been previously described and subsequently reduced to synonyms. Two other previously described two-horned taxa are not recognized as valid: Chamaeleo tornieri is considered species inquiriendae, and C. fischeri werneri is placed in synonymy with K. multituberculata. A dichotomous key is provided for the identification of these taxa and some aspects of their conservation, ecology and evolutionary origins are also discussed.


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Biogeography of the marmosets and tamarins (Callitrichidae).

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2015 Jan; 82 Pt B: 413-25. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2014.04.031. Epub 2014 May 20.


The marmosets and tamarins, Family Callitrichidae, are Neotropical primates with over 60 species and subspecies that inhabit much of South America. Although callitrichids exhibit a remarkable widespread distribution, attempts to unravel their biogeographic history have been limited by taxonomic confusion and the lack of an appropriate statistical biogeographic framework. Here, we construct a time-calibrated multi-locus phylogeny from GenBank data and the callitrichid literature for 38 taxa. We use this framework to conduct statistical biogeographic analyses of callitrichids using BioGeoBEARS. The DIVAj model is the best supported reconstruction of biogeographic history among our analyses and suggests that the most recent common ancestor to the callitrichids was widespread across forested regions c. 14 Ma. There is also support for multiple colonizations of the Atlantic forest region from the Amazon basin, first by Leontopithecus c. 11 Ma and later by Callithrix c. 5 Ma. Our results show support for a 9 million year old split between a small-bodied group and large-bodied group of tamarins. These phylogenetic data, in concert with the consistent difference in body size between the two groups and geographical patterns (small-bodied tamarins and large-bodied tamarins have an unusually high degree of geographic overlap for congeners) lend support to our suggestion to split Saguinus into two genera, and we propose the use of distinct generic names; Leontocebus and Saguinus, respectively.


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Samstag, 20 März 2021 10:48

WEHAUSEN, J. D., RAMEY, R. R. (2000)

Cranial morphometric and evolutionary relationships in the northern range of Ovis canadensis.

J. of Mammalogy, 81(1):145-161 (2000).<0145:CMAERI>2.0.CO;2


Univariate and multivariate statistical methods were used to examine geographic variation in skull and horn characters of 694 bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) specimens from the Great Basin north to British Columbia and Alberta to test previous taxonomic hypotheses. Substantially more morphometric variation in skull and horn size and shape was found west of the Rocky Mountains than within the Rocky Mountains. Our results did not support the recognition of Audubon's bighorn sheep (O. c. auduboni) as a subspecies separate from Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (O. c. canadensis). California bighorn sheep (O. c. californiana) from Washington and British Columbia were not distinguishable from Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep but differed notably from populations in the Sierra Nevada considered part of that subspecies. Extirpated native populations from northeastern California, Oregon, and southwestern Idaho, also considered to be O. c. californiana, shared with Nelson bighorn sheep (O. c. nelsoni) from the Great Basin desert a horn-related character that distinguished them from Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Bighorn sheep from the Sierra Nevada were found to be distinguishable from those of the adjacent Great Basin region. Our morphometric results were concordant in geographic patterns with mtDNA data. We synonymize O. c. auduboni with O. c. canadensis. We also assign extant and extinct native populations of O. c. californiana from British Columbia and Washington to O. c. canadensis. Finally, we assign the extinct native populations of O. c. californiana from Oregon, southwestern Idaho, northern Nevada, and northeastern California to the Great Basin Desert form of O. c. nelsoni, recognizing that some transition to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep probably occurred along that northern boundary. With these taxonomic revisions, the range of O. c. californiana includes only the central and southern Sierra Nevada.


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Mittwoch, 17 März 2021 09:00

GROVES, C.P. (2003)

Taxonomy of ungulates of the Indian subcontinent.

Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 100 (2/3): 341-362.


Nach dieser Publikation gibt es auf dem Indischen Subkontinent 46 Huftierarten, von denen Equus hemionus, Rhinoceros sondaicus und Bos javanicus hier vermutlich ausgestorben sind. Dies schließt folgende Taxa ein, die von Unterarten zu vollen Arten erhoben werden: Equus khur, Moschus cupreus, Muntiacus vaginalis, Cervus wallichii, Cervus hanglu und Capricornis thar. Gazella,bennettii salinarum wird als neue Unterart beschrieben und von Tetracerus quadricornis werden drei Unterarten unter bereits bestehenden Namen anerkannt.


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© Peter Dollinger, Zoo Office Bern hyperworx