• Ancient mitogenomics clarifies radiation of extinct Mascarene giant tortoises (Cylindraspis spp.)

      Kehlmaier, C; Graciá, E; Campbell, P; Hofmeyr, MD; SCHWEIGER, S; Martínez-Silvestre, A; Joyce, W; Fritz, U (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-11-25)
      The five extinct giant tortoises of the genus Cylindraspis belong to the most iconic species of the enigmatic fauna of the Mascarene Islands that went largely extinct after the discovery of the islands. To resolve the phylogeny and biogeography of Cylindraspis, we analysed a data set of 45 mitogenomes that includes all lineages of extant tortoises and eight near-complete sequences of all Mascarene species extracted from historic and subfossil material. Cylindraspis is an ancient lineage that diverged as early as the late Eocene. Diversification of Cylindraspis commenced in the mid-Oligocene, long before the formation of the Mascarene Islands. This rejects any notion suggesting that the group either arrived from nearby or distant continents over the course of the last millions of years or had even been translocated to the islands by humans. Instead, Cylindraspis likely originated on now submerged islands of the Réunion Hotspot and utilized these to island hop to reach the Mascarenes. The final diversification took place both before and after the arrival on the Mascarenes. With Cylindraspis a deeply divergent clade of tortoises became extinct that evolved long before the dodo or the Rodrigues solitaire, two other charismatic species of the lost Mascarene fauna.
    • Aristelliger praesignis (Jamaican Croaking Lizard). Maximum Size.

      Campbell, P; Bauer, AM; Griffing, AH; Deboer, JC (Ssar, 2017-03-22)
    • Cranial osteology and molecular phylogeny of Argyrogena fasciolata (Shaw, 1802) (Colubridae: Serpentes)

      Das, S; Campbell, P; Roy, S; Mukherjee, S; Pramanick, K; Biswas, A; Raha, S; Fritz, U (Museum of Zoology, Dresden (Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung), 2019-08-15)
      Descriptive accounts of the cranial osteology of snakes is important for systematics, functional morphology and also, to some extent, palaeontology. In the present study, we describe the skull of Argyrogena fasciolata, a south Asian colubrid snake, in detail. Bones of the snout unit of this snake are adapted for a fossorial mode of life whereas the braincase lacks any adaptations related to such an existence. We also compared its skull with other snakes belonging to sixteen other genera which together form the large clade containing Afrotropical, Palaearctic and Saharo-Arabian racers/whip snakes. The comparison shows that the cranium of A. fasciolata bears more similarity with that of Platyceps spp, differing mostly in three characteristics pertaining to premaxilla, nasal and pterygoid bones, than it does with crania of other genera. This suggests a closer relationship between those two genera. We also performed molecular phylogenetic analyses on three mitochondrial loci using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference optimality criteria. The resultant phylogenies indeed recover A. fasciolata as sister to Platyceps spp.
    • Geographic range extension of Speke's Hinge-back Tortoise Kinixys spekii Gray, 1863

      Ihlow, F; Farooq, H; Qvozdik, V; Hofmeyr, M; Conradie, W; Harvey, J; Campbell, P; Verburgt, L; Fritz, U (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, 2019-11-06)
      Kinixys spekii has a wide distribution range across sub-Saharan Africa, having been reported from Angola, Botswana, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, eSwatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Kinixys spekii inhabits savannah and dry bushveld habitats and was previously considered an inland species. However, recent records suggest a more extensive geographical distribution. Here, we provide genetically verifed records for Angola, South Africa, and Mozambique, and discuss reliable sightings for Rwanda. These new records extend the range signifcantly to the east and west, and provide evidence for the occurrence of this species along the coast of the Indian Ocean in South Africa and Mozambique.
    • A global catalog of primary reptile type specimens

      Campbell, P; Uetz, P; CHERIKH, SAMI; Shea, G; Ineich, I; Doronin, I; ROSADO, J; WYNN, A; TIGHE, KA; MCDIARMID, R; et al. (Magnolia Press, 2019-11-12)
      We present information on primary type specimens for 13,282 species and subspecies of reptiles compiled in the Reptile Database, that is, holotypes, neotypes, lectotypes, and syntypes. These represent 99.4% of all 13,361 currently recognized taxa (11,050 species and 2311 subspecies). Type specimens of 653 taxa (4.9%) are either lost or not located, were never designated, or we did not find any information about them. 51 species are based on iconotypes. To map all types to physical GLOBAL TYPE CATALOG OF REPTILES Zootaxa 4695 (5) © 2019 Magnolia Press · 439collections we have consolidated all synonymous and ambiguous collection acronyms into an unambiguous list of 364 collections holding these primary types. The 10 largest collections possess more than 50% of all (primary) reptile types, the 36 largest collections possess more than 10,000 types and the largest 73 collections possess over 90% of all types. Of the 364 collections, 107 hold type specimens of only 1 species or subspecies. Dozens of types are still in private collections. In order to increase their utility, we recommend that the description of type specimens be supplemented with data from high-resolution images and CT-scans, and clear links to tissue samples and DNA sequence data (when available). We request members of the herpetological community provide us with any missing type information to complete the list.
    • Mitogenomics of historical type specimens of Australasian turtles: clarification of taxonomic confusion and old mitochondrial introgression

      Kehlmaier, C; Zhang, X; Georges, A; Campbell, P; Thomson, S; Fritz, U (Springer Nature, 2019-04-09)
      Diagnosability is central to taxonomy as are type specimens which define taxa. New advances in technologies and the discovery of new informative traits must be matched with previous taxonomic decisions based on name-bearing type specimens. Consequently, the challenge of sequencing highly degraded DNA from historical types becomes an inevitability to resolve the very many taxonomic issues arising from, by modern standards, poor historical species descriptions leading to difficulties to assign names to genetic clusters identified from fresh material. Here we apply high-throughput parallel sequencing and sequence baiting to reconstruct the mitogenomes from 18 type specimens of Australasian side-necked turtles (Chelidae). We resolve a number of important issues that have confused the taxonomy of this family, and analyse the mitogenomes of the types and those of fresh material to improve our understanding of the phylogenetic relationships of this morphologically conservative group. Together with previously published nuclear genomic data, our study provides evidence for multiple old mitochondrial introgressions.
    • New species of Apostolepis (Serpentes, Dipsadinae, Elapomorphini) from Bolivia, from the Apostolepis borellii group

      Campbell, P; Lema, T (Research & Reviews, 2017-02-28)
      Description of a new species of Apostolepis based on three specimens labelled A. borellii from Bolivia in The Museum of Natural History of London. The new species belongs to the borellii Group which is at present only represented by the species A. borellii. This new species differs from A borelii by the following characters: (a) snout with median stripe (vs. immaculate); (b) supralabial blotch long (vs. short); (c) stripes evident on brown background (vs. having a blackish brown background with almost indistinct stripes) (d) ratio subcaudal by ventral scales low (vs. high) (e) lower sides cream (vs. darkish and dotted). The species area is Mato Grosso Plateau neighbouring the highlands of Bolivia in Cerrado Domain. The species is similar to A. striata and A. serrana from which it differs mainly by having nucho-cervical collars which is absent in the latter species. These species are placed in a specialized group (borellii group) while the phillipsae group is represented by A. phillipsae.
    • A new species of Boulengerula Tornier, 1896 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Herpelidae) from Kenya and the “rediscovery” of Boulengerula denhardti

      Wilkinson, M; Malonza, PK; Campbell, P; Loader, SP (Magnolia Press, 2017-07-04)
      A new species of herpelid caecilian, Boulengerula spawlsi sp. nov., is described based on nine specimens from Ngaia (= Ngaya or Ngaja) Forest Reserve, Nyambene Hills, Meru County, Kenya collected between 2007 and 2013. The new species differs from all other Boulengerula in having more anteriorly positioned tentacular apertures and tentacular grooves that are partly or completely covered by the maxillopalatines. Specimens of the new species were previously erroneously reported as a rediscovery of the poorly known congener Boulengerula denhardti Neiden, 1912 together with a biogeographic scenario to explain their disjunct distribution that is not required.
    • Two new species of the genus Cylindrophis Wagler, 1828 (Squamata: Cylindrophiidae) from Southeast Asia

      Amarashinghe, AAT; Campbell, P; Hallermann, J; Sidik, I; Supriatna, J; Ineich, I (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, 2015-06-10)