Wednesday 30 September 2020

BBC: France announces 'gradual' ban on wild animals in circuses


18 minutes ago
A man cleans an elephant at the Medrano Circus, as the travelling circus set up his circus tent in LyonIMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES
image captionHundreds of wild animals are reported to belong to French circuses
France has said it will gradually ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses as part of sweeping new animal welfare measures.
On Tuesday, Ecology Minister Barbara Pompili said, "Our attitude to wild animals has changed."
She also announced a ban on farming minks for fur and on keeping dolphins and orcas in captivity in marine parks.
The move was hailed as "an historic victory" by leading animal rights groups.
"It is time to open a new era in our relationship with these [wild] animals," Ms Pompili said during a press conference. 
"It is time that our ancestral fascination with these wild beings no longer means they end up in captivity."

Tuesday 29 September 2020

BBC: Sir David Attenborough gets quizzed by kids after plea to world leaders to save nature

Sir David Attenborough may have just addressed a virtual United Nations event made up of world leaders, but he's also found time to face up to a remote audience of smaller VIPs: kids.

After telling BBC Breakfast his hope for the future of this planet lies in the hands of children, some were given the chance to ask their burning questions.

It's ahead of his new documentary, A Life on Our Planet, which looks back at his 94 years exploring planet Earth's wildest places.

Read on...

BBC: Lincolnshire Wildlife Park: Swearing parrots removed from view


46 minutes ago
image captionThe birds, including one called Tyson (pictured), are settling in to their new surroundings out of the earshot of visitors
Five parrots at a wildlife park have been removed from public display after they started swearing at visitors.
The African grey parrots were adopted by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park in Friskney in August and placed in quarantine together.
However, after being moved into the main outdoor aviaries the birds started ruffling a few feathers with their somewhat choice language.
They have now been moved into different colonies away from delicate ears.
The five parrots
image captionThe African grey parrots were adopted by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park in Friskney in August and placed in quarantine together
Jess Newton said it was very entertaining working with the birds when they first arrived.
However, she said it was hoped they would "kick the habit" when they were put outside.
Sadly, this did not quite go to plan, park chief executive Steve Nichols said.
The parrots "swear to trigger reaction or a response" so if people look shocked or laugh, it just encourages them to do it more, he said.

Monday 28 September 2020

NOVATAXA: Rasbora marinae • A New Species of Cyprinid Fish

[Ichthyology • 2020] Rasbora marinae • A New Species of Cyprinid Fish (Cypriniformes: Danionidae) from northwestern Borneo

 Rasbora marinae 
Tan & Kottelat, 2020


 Rasbora marinae, new species, is described from Brunei Darussalam and northern Sarawak, Borneo. It shares with R. cephalotaenia the colour pattern of a mid-lateral stripe from tip of snout to end of median caudal-fin rays and rows of black spots on the flank, including two rows along edges of the mid-lateral stripe; it differs from R. cephalotaenia in retaining the mid-lateral stripe in adults, and in the absence of a conspicuous black blotch at the middle of the caudal-fin base. 

Key words. Southeast Asia, biodiversity, taxonomy, Cypriniformes, peat swamps

Fig. 1. Rasbora marinae, ca. 60 mm SL; Sarawak: Tatau; freshly caught specimen; not preserved.

Fig. 2. Rasbora marinae, Brunei.
A, ZRC 51189, holotype, 97.1 mm SL;
B, ZRC 51190, paratype, 36.5 mm SL.

Fig. 3. Rasbora cephalotaenia, colouration of freshly caught specimens.
A, Kahayan basin, clear water stream, ca. 50 mm SL;
B, Sebangau basin, black water stream, ca. 60 mm SL.

Fig. 6. Distribution of Rasbora cephalotaenia (squares) and Rasbora marinae (circles) in Borneo and Belitung Island. Hollow symbols represent type localities.

Rasbora marinae, new species

Diagnosis. Rasbora marinae is differentiated from congeners by the following combination of characters: a mid-lateral black or dark brown stripe from the tip of the snout to the end of the median caudal-fin rays; rows of black spots on the flank, including two rows along the edges of the midlateral stripe; lateral line complete, with 30–31 + 1–2 scales; 12 circumpeduncular scale rows. Rasbora marinae is very similar to R. cephalotaenia from which it differs in retaining the mid-lateral stripe in adults (vs. stripe disappearing with increasing size, leaving only the 2 rows of black spots along its edges), and the absence of a conspicuous black blotch at the middle of the caudal-fin base (vs. presence).

Distribution. Rasbora marinae is currently found in Belait and Tutong Districts, Brunei Darussalam; and in Sarawak, north of Tatau basin including Lambir Hills, to Baram basin (see map in Fig. 6; Zakaria-Ismail, 1984; Parenti & Meisner, 1995; Sulaiman & Shahdan, 2003; Tan & Lim, 2007; unpublished data).

Etymology. This species is named for Marina Wong (Brunei Museum, retired) in appreciation of her contributions to the knowledge of the natural history of Southeast Asia and her generous help in organising fieldwork in Brunei for the first author and team.

Tan Heok Hui and Maurice Kottelat. 2020. Rasbora marinae, A New Species of Cyprinid Fish from northwestern Borneo (Teleostei: Danionidae). RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY. 68: 750–758. DOI: 10.26107/RBZ-2020-0086

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NOVATAXA: A New “Beakless” Halfbeak of the Genus Nomorhamphus

[Ichthyology • 2020] Nomorhamphus aenigma • A New “Beakless” Halfbeak of the Genus Nomorhamphus (Teleostei: Zenarchopteridae) from Sulawesi

Nomorhamphus aenigma 
Kobayashi, Masengi & Yamahira, 2020

A new viviparous halfbeak, Nomorhamphus aenigma, new species, from the upper stream of the Cerekang River in central Sulawesi, Indonesia is described. The new species is distinguished from all other zenarchopterids by the complete absence of elongate lower jaws. Although secondary loss of elongate jaws is also known from several hemiramphids, N. aenigma, new species, is clearly different from them by having no elongate jaws throughout ontogeny.

Fig. 2 Photographs of Nomorhamphus aenigma, new species, immediately after fixation.
 (A) MZB 25100, holotype (male, 34.7 mm SL),
(B) MZB 25103, paratype (female, 37.8 mm SL),
(C) NSMT-P 136106, paratype (female, 43.0 mm SL).

Nomorhamphus aenigma, new species
Diagnosis.—Nomorhamphus aenigma is distinguished from all other congeners by the absence of any elongation of the lower jaw throughout ontogeny. Nomorhamphus aenigma is also distinguished from all other congeners by a combination of the short and expanded teeth on gill rakers, 22–23 precaudal and 16–17 caudal vertebrae, 13–14 anal-fin rays, 12 segments in the male first anal-fin ray, and distal tips of the male second and third anal-fin rays having no contact with each other.

Fig. 4 Type locality of Nomorhamphus aenigma, Cerekang River, approximately 600 m downstream from Laroeha Village, Luwu Timur District, Regency of Wasuponda, Sulawesi Selatan. Photo taken 3 September 2019.

Distribution and habitat.—Nomorhamphus aenigma is known from the main stream of Cerekang River in Sulawesi Selatan, Indonesia (Fig. 1). The river belongs to the Malili River basin. The holotype was collected from a locality near Laroeha Village. The type locality (2°27′39.7″S, 121°04′03.0″E) is approximately 10 m in width and 1.5 m in depth, partially shaded by forest canopy, and has mud and gravel as substrates (Fig. 4). Nomorhamphus rex (Fig. 7), Oreochromis niloticusOryzias dopingdopingensisOsteochilus vittatusRedigobius penango, and Telmatherina sp. co-occurred.

Etymology.—The specific name “aenigma,” from ancient Greek noun for “riddle,” refers to the riddle raised by this species: “why are the mandibles of most halfbeaks long?” 

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MONGABAY: Rediscovery and Systematics of the Northeast Indian Snake Hebius pealii

[Herpetology • 2020] Herpetoreas pealii • Lost and Found: Rediscovery and Systematics of the Northeast Indian Snake Hebius pealii (Sclater, 1891) (Colubridae: Natricinae)

Herpetoreas pealii  (Sclater, 1891)

in Das, Gower & Deepak, 2020. Dhritiman Mukherjee

 We report the rediscovery of the keelback snake Hebius pealii after 129 years from Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. We designate a lectotype for the species, and provide the first description of a female, of colour in life, and aspects of its natural history. Multilocus phylogenetic analyses of two mitochondrial (1071 bp cytb, 508 bp 16s) and two nuclear (560 bp bdnf, 579 bp cmos) genes provides strong evidence for Hebius pealii being nested within the genus Herpetoreas instead of Hebius. We transfer this species to the genus Herpetoreas.

Key words: Eastern Himalaya, HerpetoreasHerpetoreas platyceps, Natricinae, phylogeny, snakes.

First photographs in life of Herpetoreas pealii (WII-ADR547).
animal in its natural habitat (photo by Dhritiman Mukherjee) 

First photographs in life of Herpetoreas pealii (WII-ADR547).
 full body profile (photo by Abhijit Das).

Herpetoreas pealii comb. nov.

  Tropidonotus pealii – Sclater (1891a: 241); Sclater (1891b:41); Boulenger (1893: 214) 
Natrix pealii – Wall (1923: 600) 
Natrix peali [sic] – Smith (1943: 291) 
Amphiesma peali [sic] – Malnate (1960: 50 & 52); Sharma (2007: 206 & 210) 
Amphiesma pealii – Das et al. (1998:151); Das (2003: 473); Whitaker & Captain (2004: 25); Ahmed et al. (2009: 19); Das (2010: 42 &73); Purkayastha (2013: 59); Wallach et al. (2014: 32) 
Hebius pealii – Das & Das (2017: 168); Das et al. (2019: 125); Purkayastha & David (2019: 86)

Common name. Assam keelback (Uetz, 2020), 
Peal’s Keelback (Whitaker & Captain, 2004; Das & Das, 2017), 
Bark Brown Keelback (Sharma, 2007)

Diagnosis. A member of Herpetoreas that differs from other species of the genus in having fewer ventrals (136 and 142) than H. sieboldii (180), H. platyceps (174–217), H. xenura (158–165), and H. burbrinki (172). Herpetoreas pealii also has fewer subcaudals (69 and 77) than H. platyceps (86–107), H. xenura (82–105), and H. burbrinki (96). Herpetoreas pealii further differs from H. platyceps and H. sieboldii: in having nine (versus eight) supralabials and from H. sieboldii and H. platyceps in having laterally darkly blotched (verses immaculate) ventrals. Herpetoreas pealii differs from H. xenura in having paired (versus unpaired) subcaudals.

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NOVATAXA: Pseudanthias timanoa • A New Fairy Basslet


[Ichthyology • 2020] Pseudanthias timanoa • A New Fairy Basslet (Serranidae: Anthiadinae) from New Caledonia, South Pacific

Pseudanthias timanoa  
Victor, Teitelbaum & Randall, 2020

A new fairy basslet, Pseudanthias timanoa n. sp., is described from 21 specimens, 50.0-79.1 mm SL, collected recently from New Caledonia, in the southwestern corner of the tropical Pacific Ocean. The new species is typically found on deep coral-reef slopes, at depths of 50-100 m. One of many slender, brightly colored fairy basslets found throughout the Indo-West Pacific Ocean, P. timanoa is part of the Pseudanthias lori species complex. It is distinguished from its congeners by the live color pattern, which is bright reddish pink with a series of 7 red-orange bars along the upper body followed by a deeper-red rectangular saddle on the caudal peduncle. Mature males develop a greatly elongated third dorsal-fin spine, up to about 1.5 times head length and long, trailing caudal-fin filaments. The sequence of the mtDNA barcode marker COI for the new species is 10.3% divergent (p-distance) from the nearest relative in the Barcode of Life Database, P. lori, from the Coral Sea and Philippines. The new species appears in the aquarium trade as the Sunrise Anthias. With this discovery, there are now 16 species of Pseudanthias documented from New Caledonia.

Key words: taxonomy, ichthyology, coral-reef fishes, DNA barcoding, goldies, Sunrise Anthias.

MONGABAY: where we should grow more forest

New study shows where we should grow more forest to fight climate change

Reforestation is a major tool in the arsenal against global warming, but just how much it can help is still a bit of a mystery. But a new study published…

MONGABAY: Liberian trailcam

Watch: Rare wildlife caught on camera in a remote Liberian rainforest

A camera trap survey has captured 23 different species of wildlife walking through a remote rainforest in eastern Liberia, including western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) and the elusive pygmy hippopotamus…]]


Sunday 27 September 2020

USA. TEXAS: "Chupacabra look-alike"

The rancher said he saved the animal and is planning on getting it mounted by a taxidermist for his ranch to have its own Chupacabra.

2000-Year-Old Monkeys Buried Like 'Sleeping Babies'

Consequently, there is a thriving, though illegal, wild animal black market, and some buyers willingly pay enormous sums to own a big cat monkey.

Saturday 26 September 2020

BBC: ‘Killer whales attacked my yacht for 45 minutes’


Media captionThe orcas repeatedly rammed the yacht

A Scottish yacht owner has described how his boat was attacked by three killer whales off the coast of Spain.

Graeme Walker, his wife Moira and their friend Stephen Robinson were targeted early on Tuesday morning. 

Mr Walker, from Helensburgh in Argyll and Bute, felt a sudden jolt as he was at the helm of the 48ft yacht, before spotting one of the orcas.

The retired chief financial officer told BBC Scotland: "We realised they were after the boat."

Read on...

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