American Museum Novitates

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The Novitates (Latin for "new acquaintances"), published continuously and numbered consecutively since 1921, are short papers that contain descriptions of new forms and reports in zoology, paleontology, and geology. New numbers are published at irregular intervals.
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    Systematic revision of the whip spider family Paracharontidae (Arachnida: Amblypygi) with description of a new troglobitic genus and species from Colombia (American Museum novitates, no. 4000)
    (American Museum of Natural History., 2023-06-28) Moreno-González, Jairo A.; Gutierrez Estrada, Miguel; Prendini, Lorenzo
    The ancient, enigmatic whip spider family Paracharontidae Weygoldt, 1996, representing the basalmost lineage of the arachnid order Amblypygi Thorell, 1883, is revised. The monotypic West African genus Paracharon Hansen, 1921, from Guinea Bissau, is redescribed, based on a reexamination and reinterpretation of the newly designated lectotype. A new troglobitic whip spider, Jorottui ipuanai, gen. et sp. nov., is described from a cave system in the upper basin of the Camarones River in the La Guajira Department of northeastern Colombia. This new taxon is the second extant representative of Paracharontidae and the first outside Africa. It is unambiguously assigned to the family based on several characters shared with Paracharon caecus Hansen, 1921, notably a projection of the anterior carapace margin, the tritosternum not projecting anteriorly, similar pedipalp spination, a reduced number of trichobothria on the tibia of leg IV, and cushionlike female gonopods. A detailed examination confirmed the absence of ocelli in both genera and the presence of three (Paracharon) vs. four (Jorottui, gen. nov.) prolateral teeth on the basal segment of the chelicera, the dorsalmost tooth bicuspid in both genera. The male gonopods of Paracharontidae are described for the first time. Paracharonopsis cambayensis Engel and Grimaldi, 2014, is removed from Paracharontidae and placed incertae sedis in Euamblypygi Weygoldt, 1996; amended, comparative diagnoses are presented for Paracharontidae and Paracharon; and previous interpretations of various diagnostic characters for Paracharontidae are discussed.
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    Description of two new Labeo (Labeoninae; Cyprinidae) endemic to the Lulua River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kasai ecoregion) : a hotspot of fish diversity in the Congo basin (American Museum novitates, no. 3999)
    (American Museum of Natural History., 2023-05-18) Liyandja, Tobit L. D.; Stiassny, Melanie L. J.
    Labeo mbimbii, n. sp., and Labeo manasseeae, n. sp., two small-bodied Labeo species, are described from the lower and middle reaches of the Lulua River (Kasai ecoregion, Congo basin) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The two new species are members of the L. forskalii species group and are genetically distinct from all other species of that clade. Morphologically they can be distinguished from central African L. forskalii group congeners except L. dhonti, L. lukulae, L. luluae, L. parvus, L. quadribarbis, and L. simpsoni in the possession of 29 or fewer (vs. 30 or more) vertebrae and from those congeners by a wider interpectoral, among other features. The two new species are endemic to the Lulua River and, although overlapping in geographical range and most meristic and morphometric measures, are readily differentiated by differing numbers of fully developed supraneural bones, predorsal vertebrae, snout morphology, and additional osteological features. The description of these two species brings the total of Labeo species endemic to the Lulua basin to three. The third endemic species, L. luluae, was previously known only from the juvenile holotype, but numerous additional specimens have now been identified. The cooccurrence of 14 Labeo species in the Lulua River, three of which are endemic, highlights this system as a hotspot of Labeo diversity in the Congo basin and across the continent.
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    New discovery of rhyncholites and conchorhynchs (cephalopod jaw elements) from the Upper Cretaceous Mount Laurel Formation of Delaware (American Museum novitates, no. 3998)
    (American Museum of Natural History., 2023-05-10) Tajika, Amane; Anderson, Lian; Ikuno, Kenji; Landman, Neil H.; Koyasu, Hiromichi
    Rhyncholites and Conchorhynchs are the calcitic elements of upper and lower jaws of cephalopods, respectively. Rhyncholites and conchorhynchs occur in relatively high abundance and are widely distributed, with a long geological range, extending from the Triassic to the Miocene. While rhyncholites and conchorhynchs are relatively common in Europe, there are only a few reports from North America. Here, we document 24 specimens of rhyncholites and 12 specimens of conchorhynchs from the Upper Cretaceous Mount Laurel Formation in Delaware. The specimens were found in isolation and, thus, identifying the taxon to which the rhyncholites and conchorhynchs belong is difficult. However, the Cretaceous nautilid Eutrephoceras occurs in the same formation, suggesting that the rhyncholites and conchorhynchs may belong to this taxon. We performed a morphometric analysis of these structures based on linear measurements. Our results reveal that some morphological parameters in rhyncholites are correlated with size. Additionally, our specimens exhibit high intraspecific variation, which may have been overlooked in previous studies.
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    Exceptional species diversity of Drosophilidae (Diptera) in a neotropical forest (American Museum novitates, no. 3997)
    (American Museum of Natural History., 2023-05-10) Grimaldi, David A.; Richenbacher, Courtney
    The highest single-site species diversity known thus far in the world for Drosophilidae is in Costa Rica, based on findings in this report. A total of 352 species of Drosophilidae (Diptera) were found in a cloud forest (1580 m) in Zurquí de Moravia, San José Province (hereafter “Zurquí”), based on 2908 specimens collected continuously for one year, using eight trapping and collecting methods. There are currently 305 described species from Costa Rica. Zurquí is at the edge of a large, protected area and was the site of an All-Diptera inventory project. For this study, drosophilid specimens were identified to genus/subgenus, sorted to morphospecies, and their abundances plotted by collection method: Malaise traps, flight intercept traps, baited traps, light and yellow pan traps, emergence traps, and hand collecting with nets. The standard method used by drosophilists, bait trapping, captured a small fraction of species. Malaise traps captured 87% of all species, and 41% of the 352 species were captured only this way. Emergence traps captured a surprising diversity (47 species) of Diathoneura and Drosophila, establishing that leaf litter/humus is an important breeding site for some taxa. Combining all collection methods, 11 species were abundant, as defined by 50 or more specimens, and comprised 35% of all specimens in the study; two-thirds (66%) of all species were rare, as defined by five or fewer specimens. Comparisons are made to other well-collected sites and regions around the world. Lowland to mid-montane forests on the eastern slopes of the Andes may be the most diverse area for Drosophilidae, a family that is exemplary for studying the ecology and evolution of tropical diversity.
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    New fossil giant panda relatives (Ailuropodinae, Ursidae) : a basal lineage of gigantic Mio-Pliocene cursorial carnivores (American Museum novitates, no. 3996)
    (American Museum of Natural History., 2023-03-14) Jiangzhou, Qigao; Flynn, John J. (John Joseph), 1955-; Wang, Shiqi (Paleontologist); Hou, Sukuan; Deng, Tao (Paleontologist)
    Among the fossil members of the giant panda subfamily of ursid carnivorans, Ailuropodinae, one group of species is of giant size, those of Indarctos. Indarctos species have some dental resemblances to and may be closely related to Agriotherium, although there are other clear differences between these taxa, and no known species has definitive shared derived traits that could link these two genera. Here we describe a rich suite of fossil material from both North America and eastern Asia, all belonging to a new genus, Huracan, which possesses characters shared with both Agriotherium and Indarctos but also has diagnostic autapomorphies. The new taxon was distributed widely in the Holarctic during the latest Miocene, including at least four species: the type species Huracan schneideri (previously Agriotherium schneideri) from the latest Hemphillian (Hh4) and possibly early Blancan North American Land Mammal “Ages” (NALMAs), North America; H. coffeyi from the early Late Hemphillian (Hh3) NALMA, North America; H. qiui, sp. nov., from the Baodean Asian Land Mammal “Age” (ALMA), northern China; and H. roblesi from the MN13 zone (latest Miocene–earliest Pliocene) of Spain. Huracan is the nearest sister taxon to Agriotherium, the latter herein considered to be an ailuropodine (in the tribe Agriotheriini) rather than a hemicyonid, and the common ancestor of both genera evolved from Indarctos (with resultant paraphyly of that taxon) or another Indarctos-like ailuropodine bear, likely in eastern Asia. The dentitions of Huracan and Agriotherium both are more specialised for carnivory than most Indarctos species, indicating a radiation of diverse ecological carnivores earlier in the history of the later-diverging, highly specialized herbivores in the giant panda lineage. Their postcranial morphology suggests that species in both genera (Huracan and Agriotherium) were more cursorial than species assigned to Indarctos, and thus well adapted to more open habitats. These derived traits may explain the worldwide replacement of Indarctos species by Huracan and Agriotherium species during the latest Miocene, in response to significant global cooling and expansion of C4 grasslands that occurred at that time.