Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich

München, Germany

Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich

München, Germany
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Glaw F.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich | Kohler J.,Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt | Townsend T.M.,San Diego State University | Vences M.,TU Braunschweig
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: One clade of Malagasy leaf chameleons, the Brookesia minima group, is known to contain species that rank among the smallest amniotes in the world. We report on a previously unrecognized radiation of these miniaturized lizards comprising four new species described herein. Methodology/Principal Findings: The newly discovered species appear to be restricted to single, mostly karstic, localities in extreme northern Madagascar: Brookesia confidens sp. n. from Ankarana, B. desperata sp. n. from Forêt d'Ambre, B. micra sp. n. from the islet Nosy Hara, and B. tristis sp. n. from Montagne des Français. Molecular phylogenetic analyses based on one mitochondrial and two nuclear genes of all nominal species in the B. minima group congruently support that the four new species, together with B. tuberculata from Montagne d'Ambre in northern Madagascar, form a strongly supported clade. This suggests that these species have diversified in geographical proximity in this small area. All species of the B. minima group, including the four newly described ones, are characterized by very deep genetic divergences of 18-32% in the ND2 gene and >6% in the 16S rRNA gene. Despite superficial similarities among all species of this group, their status as separate evolutionary lineages is also supported by moderate to strong differences in external morphology, and by clear differences in hemipenis structure. Conclusion/Significance: The newly discovered dwarf chameleon species represent striking cases of miniaturization and microendemism and suggest the possibility of a range size-body size relationship in Malagasy reptiles. The newly described Brookesia micra reaches a maximum snout-vent length in males of 16 mm, and its total length in both sexes is less than 30 mm, ranking it among the smallest amniote vertebrates in the world. With a distribution limited to a very small islet, this species may represent an extreme case of island dwarfism. © 2012 Glaw et al.


Hawlitschek O.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich | Nagy Z.T.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Glaw F.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Species delimitation and species concepts have been a matter of debate among biodiversity researchers in the last decades, resulting in integrative taxonomy approaches and the use of modern species concepts, such as the phylogenetic, evolutionary or general lineage species concepts. The discussion of subspecies status and concepts has been addressed much less extensively, with some researchers completely refraining from recognizing subspecies. However, allopatric insular populations that are particularly differentiated have traditionally been assigned subspecies status. We studied the molecular phylogeny and morphology of endemic Comoran tree snakes of the genus Lycodryas. Taking an integrative taxonomic approach, we used the concept of independent lines of evidence to discriminate between evidence for specific and subspecific status. Molecular (mtDNA) and morphological data provided sufficient evidence to support four different taxa within Comoran Lycodryas. In a revision of this group, we propose two species, each with two subspecies. We present a discussion of the strong sexual dichromatism unique to Comoran Lycodryas within the genus and related genera that may be explained by sexual selection in combination with the absence of major predators. Then, we discuss the effects of insular evolution and the "island rule" on morphological traits in Comoran Lycodryas and in Liophidium mayottensis, another snake endemic to the Comoros. The absence of larger-bodied snakes may have promoted an increase in body size and the number of dorsal scale rows in these species. Finally, we discuss the subspecies concept, its applications and its significance for integrative taxonomy and for limiting taxonomic inflation. We emphasize that taxon descriptions should be based on an integrative approach using several lines of evidence, preferably in combination with statements on the underlying species concepts or operational criteria, to increase the objectivity and comparability of descriptions. © 2012 Hawlitschek et al.


Martynov A.,Moscow State University | Schrodl M.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2011

Organismic diversity, as well as distributional and ecological patterns, can be fully understood in an evolutionary framework only. Reliable phylogenetic trees are required to 'read history', but are not yet available for most marine invertebrate groups. Molecular systematics offers an enormous potential, but still fails for 'all-species approaches' on groups with species that are rare or occur in remote areas only, simply because there is no easily collectable material available for sequence analyses. Exploring morphologically aberrant corambid nudibranch gastropods as a case study, we assess whether or not morphology-based phylogenetic analyses can fill this gap and produce a tree that allows a detailed view on evolutionary history. Morphology-based parsimony analysis of corambids and potential relatives resulted in a well-resolved and remarkably robust topology. As an offshoot of kelp-associated onchidoridid ancestors, and obviously driven by the heterochronic shortening of life cycles and morphological juvenilization in an ephemeral habitat, the ancestor of corambids originated in cool northern Pacific coastal waters. A basal clade (the genus Loy) diverged there, adapting to live on soft bottoms under successive reversals of paedomorphic traits. The more speciose Corambe lineage radiated preying upon short-lived encrusting bryozoa in a high-energy kelp environment. Selection favoured transformation of the mantle into a cuticle-covered shield, and successive paedomorphic translocations of dorid anal gills to the protected ventral side of the body, where compensatory, multiple gills evolved. Corambe species probably first colonized tropical American seas, and then radiated in worldwide temperate waters: this is explained by the excellent long-distance dispersal abilities afforded by rafting on kelp, with the subsequent divergence of colonizers in allopatry. The competitive coexistence of Corambe pacifica MacFarland & O'Donoghue, 1929 and Corambe steinbergae (Lance, 1962) off California is the result of independent colonization events. The closing of the Isthmus of Panama separated the latter species from a flock that have radiated within warm Atlantic waters since then. Our case study shows that morphological structures, if investigated in depth, bear the potential for an efficient phylogenetic analysis of groups that are still elusive to molecular analyses. Tracing character evolution and integrating a wide range of geographic, biological, and ecological background information allowed us to reconstruct an evolutionary scenario for corambids that is detailed and plausible, and can be tested by future molecular approaches. © 2011 The Linnean Society of London.


Schmidt S.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich | Walter G.H.,University of Queensland
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2014

A calibrated phylogeny of the family Pergidae indicates that the major lineages within the family evolved during the fragmentation of the Gondwanan supercontinent. The split between the Pergidae and its sister group Argidae is estimated at about 153. Myr ago. No central dichotomous division between Australian and South American pergid sawflies was observed, showing that the major lineages within this group had already evolved by the time Australia had become completely isolated from Antarctica. The molecular dating analysis strongly indicates a co-radiation of Australian pergid sawflies with their Myrtaceae hosts and suggest that the two eucalypt-feeding clades, pergines and pterygophorines, colonised their eucalypt host plants independently during the Palaeocene, at the time when their hosts appear to have started radiating. The present analysis includes representatives of 13 of the 14 currently recognised subfamilies of Pergidae, almost all of which are supported by the molecular data presented here. Exceptions include the Euryinae (paraphyletic in respect to Perreyiinae), Acordulecerinae (paraphyletic to the Perginae), and the Australian Phylacteophaginae (placed within the Neotropical Acordulecerinae). The break-up of Gondwana and the timing of the subsequent climatic change in Australia, leading from vegetation adapted to a seasonal-wet conditions to the arid-adapted sclerophyll vegetation typical of Australia, suggest that the species-poor subfamilies occurring in rainforests represent remnants of more diverse groups that were decimated through loss of habitat or host species. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


The structure and musculature of the male terminalia are described and illustrated in 11 genera of the tribe Cidariini (Lepidoptera, Geometridae, Larentiinae) from the Holarctic and Oriental regions. Nine genital muscles were identified: m1, m2(10), m3(2), m4, m5(7), m6(5), m7(6), m8(3) and m21. Variation in the insertion of the muscles m1, m3(2), m4, m5(7), m6(5) and m8(3) on the sclerites in several generic groups of the tribe Cidariini is discussed, revealing that the Thera species group does not share some apparently cidariine characters. A comparative analysis of the musculature in the tribes Cidariini and Xanthorhoini questions the sister relationship of these tribes that was suggested by earlier studies. The application of the terms 'anellus lobes' and 'labides' is discussed. © 2014 Magnolia Press.


The musculature of the male genitalia was reviewed for the tribe Xanthorhoini and related tribes (Lepidoptera, Geometridae, Larentiinae). The genitalia morphology of males of 11 species was discussed and illustrated, and nine paired and unpaired genital muscles identified. Muscles m1, m2(10), m5(7), m6(5), m7(6), m8(3) and m21 have similar position in all species considered in the paper. Comparative morphology of the male terminalia and position of extensors of the valvae m3(2) and flexors m4 confirmed the previously uncertain separation of Euphyiini and Scotopterygini. Cataclysmini share musculature characters with the tribe Xanthorhoini. The generic affiliation of Xanthorhoe biriviata (Borkhausen) is questionable considering an unusual location of muscles m4. Generally, the places of attachment of the muscles m3(2) and m4 to the sclerites afford valuable characters for the higher classification of this group. Copyright © 2013 Magnolia Press.


Glaw F.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich
Vertebrate Zoology | Year: 2015

Due to their often brilliant colours, diurnal activity, and fascinating behaviours there is a long lasting high demand for chameleons in the pet trade. Accordingly, the international trade of most chameleon genera is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Floras (CITES). In order to facilitate operating and control of these regulations by national and international nature conservation authorities an updated taxonomic checklist of the family Chamaeleonidae (202 species plus 23 subspecies in 12 genera) is provided. A comparison with the last taxonomic checklist published in 1997 (132 species plus 39 subspecies in six genera) demonstrates the enormous progress in chameleon taxonomy and systematics in recent years. Although a substantial number of the currently accepted taxa are well defined, the taxonomy of several species and subspecies is in need of revision and many new species both from Africa and Madagascar still await their scientific description. © Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, 2015.


Schrodl M.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich | Neusser T.P.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2010

The Acochlidia are unique among opisthobranch gastropods in combining extremely high morphological and ecological diversity with modest species diversity. The phylogeny of acochlidians has never been addressed by cladistic means, as their evolution has remained unknown. This study gives a first overview on more than 150 biological and morphological characters that are potentially useful for phylogenetic analysis. Based on 107 characters, a parsimony analysis (PAUP) was performed for all 27 valid acochlidian species together with 11 (plus two) outgroup taxa. The resulting strict consensus tree shows a moderate overall resolution, with at least some bootstrap support for most resolved nodes. The Acochlidia are clearly monophyletic, and originate from an unresolved basal opisthobranch level. The Acochlidia split into the Hedylopsacea (Tantulum (Hedylopsis (Pseudunela (Strubellia ('Acochlidium', 'Palliohedyle'))))) and Microhedylacea (Asperspina (Pontohedyle, 'Parhedyle', 'Microhedyle', (Ganitus, Paraganitus))). The formerly enigmatic Ganitidae, resembling sacoglossan opisthobranchs by having dagger-like rachidian radular teeth, are likely to be highly derived microhedylids. The paraphyly of some of the traditionally recognized family level taxa induced a preliminary reclassification. From the phylogenetic hypothesis obtained, we conclude that the acochlidian ancestor was marine mesopsammic. The colonization of limnic systems occurred twice, independently: first in the Caribbean (with the development of the small interstitial Tantulum elegans), and second in the Indo-Pacific, with a radiation of large-sized benthic acochlidian species. The evolution of extraordinary reproductive features, such as hypodermic impregnation by a complex copulative aparatus in hedylopsaceans, cutaneous insemination via spermatophores in microhedylaceans, and gonochorism in Microhedylidae s.l. (including Ganitidae), is discussed. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London.


Nagy Z.T.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Sonet G.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Glaw F.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich | Vences M.,TU Braunschweig
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: DNA barcoding of non-avian reptiles based on the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene is still in a very early stage, mainly due to technical problems. Using a newly developed set of reptile-specific primers for COI we present the first comprehensive study targeting the entire reptile fauna of the fourth-largest island in the world, the biodiversity hotspot of Madagascar. Methodology/Principal Findings: Representatives of the majority of Madagascan non-avian reptile species (including Squamata and Testudines) were sampled and successfully DNA barcoded. The new primer pair achieved a constantly high success rate (72.7-100%) for most squamates. More than 250 species of reptiles (out of the 393 described ones; representing around 64% of the known diversity of species) were barcoded. The average interspecific genetic distance within families ranged from a low of 13.4% in the Boidae to a high of 29.8% in the Gekkonidae. Using the average genetic divergence between sister species as a threshold, 41-48 new candidate (undescribed) species were identified. Simulations were used to evaluate the performance of DNA barcoding as a function of completeness of taxon sampling and fragment length. Compared with available multi-gene phylogenies, DNA barcoding correctly assigned most samples to species, genus and family with high confidence and the analysis of fewer taxa resulted in an increased number of well supported lineages. Shorter marker-lengths generally decreased the number of well supported nodes, but even mini-barcodes of 100 bp correctly assigned many samples to genus and family. Conclusions/Significance: The new protocols might help to promote DNA barcoding of reptiles and the established library of reference DNA barcodes will facilitate the molecular identification of Madagascan reptiles. Our results might be useful to easily recognize undescribed diversity (i.e. novel taxa), to resolve taxonomic problems, and to monitor the international pet trade without specialized expert knowledge. © 2012 Nagy et al.


Hawlitschek O.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich | Glaw F.,Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich
Zoologica Scripta | Year: 2013

Oceanic islands have attracted special attention from evolutionary biologists because their mostly species-poor, but highly endemic biota are exposed to selection regimes different to those of their mainland relatives. While many groups of oceanic islands worldwide have been used as natural laboratories of evolutionary biology, few such studies have been performed on the Comoros Archipelago in the Western Indian Ocean. We study Paroedura sanctijohannis Günther 1879, a nocturnal gecko endemic to this archipelago as only species of an otherwise Malagasy endemic genus. According to our phylogeny, P. sanctijohannis is not monophyletic, the population of the geologically oldest island Mayotte is clustering with related Malagasy species. We describe this population as Paroedura stellata sp.n. and provide morphological evidence distinguishing it from other Paroedura species. A molecular clock analysis shows that genetic divergence within P. sanctijohannis of the youngest island Grand Comoro is higher than expected based on its geological age. Additionally, this population is paraphyletic with respect to the population of the older island Anjouan, suggesting that the latter island was colonized long after its initial emergence, possibly after extinction of an original Paroedura population. Furthermore, we find that P. stellata sp.n. and P. sanctijohannis are more similar to each other than to other Paroedura species regarding adult coloration and juvenile coloration. Because these two species are not each other's closest relatives, we discuss possible explanations for this pattern and suggest that it represents convergent adaptation to a relaxed insular selection regime. © 2012 The Authors Zoologica Scripta © 2012 The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

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