Globally, farmed seaweed production is expanding rapidly in shallow marine habitats. While seaweed farming provides vital income to millions of artisanal farmers, it can negatively impact shallow coral reef and seagrass habitats. However, seaweed farming may also potentially provide food subsidies for herbivorous reef fish such as the Siganidae, a valuable target family, resulting in increased catch. Comparisons of reef fish landings across the central Philippines revealed that the catch of siganids was positively correlated to farmed seaweed production whilst negatively correlated to total reef fish catch over the same period of time. We tested the generality of this pattern by analysing seaweed production, siganid catch, and reef fish catch for six major seaweed-producing countries in the tropics. We hypothesized that increased seaweed production would correspond with increased catch of siganids but not other reef fish species. Analysis of the global data showed a positive correlation between farmed seaweeds and siganids in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines) but not Africa (Tanzania and Zanzibar), or the Western Pacific (Fiji). In Southeast Asia, siganid catch increased disproportionately faster with seaweed production than did reef fish catch. Low continuity, sporadic production and smaller volumes of seaweed farming may explain the differences.
Wild chimpanzee populations are still declining due to logging, disease transmission and hunting. The bushmeat trade frequently leads to an increase in the number of orphaned primates. HELP Congo was the first project to successfully release wild-born orphan chimpanzees into an existing chimpanzee habitat. A collection of post monitoring data over 16 years now offers the unique opportunity to investigate possible behavioural adaptations in these chimpanzees. We investigated the feeding and activity patterns in eight individuals via focal observation techniques from 1997-1999 and 2001-2005. Our results revealed a decline in the number of fruit and insect species in the diet of released chimpanzees over the years, whereas within the same period of time, the number of consumed seed species increased. Furthermore, we found a decline in time spent travelling, but an increase in time spent on social activities, such as grooming, as individuals matured. In conclusion, the observed changes in feeding and activity patterns seem to reflect important long-term behavioural and ecological adaptations in wild-born orphan released chimpanzees, demonstrating that the release of chimpanzees can be successful, even if it takes time for full adaptation.
A survey on termite species composition was conducted in Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary, Sarawak in February 2015. Overall 19 species of termite belonging to 13 genera and 8 subfamilies was found in the sanctuary. It was recorded the subfamily of Termitinae had the highest number of species (6 species, equal to 31.58% of total species), followed by Nasutermitinae (3 species, 15.79%), Macrotermitinae, Amitermitinae, Rhinotermitinae, Coptotermitinae, (2 species, 10.53% respectively), and Heterotermitinae, Termitogetoninae (1 species, 5.26% respectively). Since this rapid survey is the first termite assemblage representation in Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary, the preliminary result may serve as the baseline data for termite composition in the area. Therefore, a whole coverage for the area within this sanctuary would definitely increase the number of termite species found in the sanctuary.
A newly discovered, diminutive, cave-dwelling, lowland species of the colubrid snake genus Lycodon Boie is described from a limestone cave along the Thai-Malaysian border in the state of Perlis, northwestern Peninsular Malaysia. Lycodon cavernicolus sp. nov. is most closely related to L. butleri Boulenger, an endemic, upland, forest-dwelling species from Peninsular Malaysia of the fasciatus group but is separated from L. butleri and all other species of the L. fasciatus group and the closely related L. ruhstrati group by having the combination of 245 (male) and 232 (female) ventral scales; 113 (male) and 92 (female) paired, subcaudal scales; a single precloacal plate; nine or 10 supralabials; 10 or 11 infralabials; a maximum total length of 508 mm (female); a relative tail length of 0.25-0.27; an immaculate venter in juveniles and dark-brown, posterior, ventral scale margins in adults; and dorsal and caudal bands in juveniles white. The discovery of L. cavernicolus sp. nov. adds to a rapidly growing list of newly discovered reptiles from karst regions and limestone forests of Peninsular Malaysia, underscoring the fact that these areas should be studied before they are quarried as they harbor a significant portion of the Peninsular Malaysia's herpetological diversity.
Opportunities to conduct large-scale field experiments are rare, but provide a unique opportunity to reveal the complex processes that operate within natural ecosystems. Here, we review the design of existing, large-scale forest fragmentation experiments. Based on this review, we develop a design for the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) Project, a new forest fragmentation experiment to be located in the lowland tropical forests of Borneo (Sabah, Malaysia). The SAFE Project represents an advance on existing experiments in that it: (i) allows discrimination of the effects of landscape-level forest cover from patch-level processes; (ii) is designed to facilitate the unification of a wide range of data types on ecological patterns and processes that operate over a wide range of spatial scales; (iii) has greater replication than existing experiments; (iv) incorporates an experimental manipulation of riparian corridors; and (v) embeds the experimentally fragmented landscape within a wider gradient of land-use intensity than do existing projects. The SAFE Project represents an opportunity for ecologists across disciplines to participate in a large initiative designed to generate a broad understanding of the ecological impacts of tropical forest modification.
Tree autotrophic respiratory processes, especially stem respiration or stem CO2 efflux (Estem), are important components of the forest carbon budget. Despite efforts to investigate the controlling processes of Estem in recent years, a considerable lack in our knowledge remains on the abiotic and biotic drivers affecting Estem dynamics. It has been strongly advocated that long-term measurements would shed light onto those processes. The expensive scientific instruments needed to measure gas exchange have prevented Estem measurements from being applied on a larger temporal and spatial scale. Here, we present an automated closed dynamic chamber system based on inexpensive and industrially broadly applied CO2 sensors, reducing the costs for the sensing system to a minimum. The CO2 sensor was cross-calibrated with a commonly used gas exchange system in the laboratory and in the field, and we found very good accordance of these sensors. We tested the system under harsh tropical climatic conditions, characterized by heavy tropical rainfall events, extreme humidity and temperatures, in a moist lowland forest in Malaysia. We recorded Estem of three Dyera costulata (Miq.) trees with our prototype over various days. The variation of Estem was large among the three tree individuals and varied by 7.5-fold. However, clear diurnal changes in Estem were present in all three tree individuals. One tree showed high diurnal variation in Estem, and the relationship between Estem and temperature was characterized by a strong hysteresis. The large variations found within one single tree species highlight the importance of continuous measurement to quantify ecosystem carbon fluxes.
A new gall-inducing genus and species of felt scales (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Eriococcidae) found on the leaves and twigs of Matayba guianensis (Sapindaceae) in Brazil is described: Bystracoccus Hodgson gen n. and B. mataybae Hodgson, Isaias & Oliveira sp. n. This is the first record of an eriococcid inducing leaf and stem galls on Sapindaceae and is only the second example of a member of the Eriococcidae to induce stem galls in which the insects diapause during the dry (winter) season. Only the adult female, second-instar female and crawler are known. The species overwinters as the first-instar nymph in pit galls on the twigs but spends the rest of the year associated with two-chambered galls on the leaves. It has recently become clear that South America has a rich felt-scale insect fauna many of which induce galls. It has proved very difficult to place this new genus in a family as it appears to fall between the Eriococcidae and Beesoniidae but is here placed in the eriococcids based on the similarity of the first-instar nymphs and the abundance of this family in the Neotropics. However, the dorsum of the abdomen of the mature adult female becomes heavily sclerotised, forming a round plug-like structure that completely fills the gall orifice. This structure shows remarkable morphological similarities to that of the beesoniid Danumococcus parashoreae Takagi & Hodgson found on Parashorea tomentella (Dipterocarpaceae) in Sabah, Malaysia, with which it is compared along with other eriococcid genera known from South America.
Pycnotarsobrentus inuiae Maruyama & Bartolozzi, gen. nov. and sp. nov. (Brentinae: Eremoxenini) is described from the Lambir Hills National Park, Borneo (Sarawak, Malaysia) based on specimens collected from Crematogaster difformis F. Smith, 1857 ant nests in the myrmecophytic epiphytic ferns Platycerium crustacea Copel. and Lecanopteris ridleyi H. Christ. A second species of Pycnotarsobrentus is known from Malaysia but is represented by only one female and consequently not yet described pending discovery of a male. Pycnotarsobrentus belongs to the tribe Eremoxenini and shares some character states with the African genus Pericordus Kolbe, 1883. No species of Eremoxenini with similar morphological modifications are known from the Oriental region.
As part of an ongoing effort to revise the taxonomy of air-breathing, marine, onchidiid slugs, a new genus, Laspionchis Dayrat & Goulding, gen. nov., is described from the mangroves of South-East Asia. It includes two new species, Laspionchis boucheti Dayrat & Goulding, sp. nov., and Laspionchis bourkei Dayrat & Goulding, sp. nov., both distributed from the Malacca Strait to the Philippines and Australia. This study is based on extensive field work in South-East Asia, comparative anatomy, and both mitochondrial (COI and 16S) and nuclear (ITS2 and 28S) DNA sequences. The two new species are found in the same habitat (mud surface in mangrove forests) and are externally cryptic but are distinct anatomically. Both species are also strongly supported by DNA sequences. Three cryptic, least-inclusive, reciprocally-monophyletic units within Laspionchis bourkei are regarded as subspecies: L. bourkei bourkei Dayrat & Goulding, ssp. nov., L. bourkei lateriensis Dayrat & Goulding, ssp. nov., and L. bourkei matangensis Dayrat & Goulding, ssp. nov. The present contribution shows again that species delineation is greatly enhanced by considering comparative anatomy and nuclear DNA sequences in addition to mitochondrial DNA sequences, and that thorough taxonomic revisions are the best and most efficient path to accurate biodiversity knowledge.
A new species of Philautus is described from western Sarawak. The new species was collected in lower montane forest in two national parks in Sarawak and recorded from another park. It differs from its congeners by a unique combination of morphological characters, including a long, acuminate snout, long legs, and comparatively extensive toe webbing. The advertisement call of the new species differs from all calls of other species that have been analyzed so far. Comparison of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene sequence corroborates its distinct specific status.
A new species of caprellid, Aciconulatinggiensis (Amphipoda, Senticaudata, Caprellidae) was discovered from Pulau Tinggi, Sultan Iskandar Marine Park (SIMP), South China Sea, Malaysia. The new Malaysian species can be distinguished from the other Aciconula species by the combination of the following characters: 1. the presence of a very small suture between head and pereonite 1; 2. antenna 1 flagellum with 4 articles; 3. inner lobe of lower lip unilobed; 4. gnathopod 2 palm of propodus with a large proximal projection (stretching from the proximal margin of the palm to nearly mid-way of palm); 5. pereopods 3-4 with 2 articles (article 1 subrectangular, article 2 conical or tapering at the tip with 1 plumose seta and 2 normal setae) and; 6. pereopod 5 covered with relatively dense and long setae. An updated identification key for the five known species in the genus, including information on the respective geographical distribution and habitat, is presented.
We describe a new species of torrent-dwelling ranid frog of the genus Meristogenys from the Crocker Range, western Sabah, northern Borneo. The new species, Meristogenys maryatiae, differs from congeners by the combination of: small body, males 31-37 mm and females 65-66 mm in snout-vent length; head narrower than long; eyes moderate, diameter subequal to snout; iris unicolored; legs long; ventral surface of tibia without heavy pigmentation; rear of thigh blotched dark brown and cream; toes fully webbed; outer metatarsal tubercle present; larval dental formula 7(4-7)/6(1).
A newly discovered species of homalopsid snake from the genus Gyiophis Murphy & Voris is described from the lowlands of Mawlamyine District in Mon state, southeastern Myanmar. Gyiophis salweenensis sp. nov. is presumed to be closely related to G. maculosa Blanford and G. vorisi Murphy based on the similarities in pholidosis and patterning but can be separated from G. maculosa by the shape of its first three dorsal scale rows that are square, ventral scale pattern that lacks a central spot, and a faint stripe on dorsal scale rows 1-4. It can be further distinguished from G. vorisi by its lower number of ventral scales (129 vs. 142-152), lower number of subcaudals (30/29 vs. 41-58), narrow rostral scale, and having more rows of spots on the dorsum (four vs. three). A preliminary molecular analysis using 1050 base pairs of cytochrome b (cytb) recovered G. salweenensis sp. nov. as the sister species to the Chinese Mud Snake (Myrrophis chinensis). G. maculosa and G. vorisi were unavailable for the analysis. The discovery of G. salweenensis sp. nov. highlights the need for more surveys into the herpetological diversity of eastern Myanmar which remains very much underestimated.
A new species in the rhacophorid genus Philautus is described on the basis of five male specimens collected from the Matang Range, a herpetologically well-surveyed area of the lowland of Sarawak, western Borneo. The species possesses a cutaneous pectoris muscle but lacks vomerine teeth, and is assigned to the aurifasciatus group of Philautus. It is superficially similar to some other species of the same group, but can be differentiated from them by a combination of several morphological characters, including lack of a nuptial pad and lingual papilla, and more significantly, by a distinct advertisement call. This discovery underscores the immediate necessity for detailed surveys in the already well-explored lowlands of Borneo.
ABSTRACT A new black fly species, Simulium (Comphostilbia) langkawiense, is described based on adult female, adult male, pupal, and larval specimens collected from Langkawi Island, Malaysia. This new species is similar in the configuration of the pupal gill to Simulium (Comphostilbia) gombakense Takaoka & Davies, 1995, originally described from Peninsular Malaysia, but differs from the latter species by the female genital fork with an anterolaterally angulated plate on each arm, the female tarsal claw tooth shorter than one half of the claw, the small number of male upper-eye large facets, the ventral plate with its ventral margin nearly flat in the middle when viewed posteriorly, and the inflated structure of the pupal gill with a less produced middle portion (width of middle inflated portion: length of inflated structure = 0.24). Taxonomic notes are also given to separate this new species from two other related species from Nepal and India. This represents another example of a unique species of black fly on one of the continental islands of Peninsular Malaysia.
A new species of Sesiidae, tribe Osminiini from Peninsular Malaysia, Heterosphecia pahangensis Skowron, displaying numerous bee-mimicking features, is described. DNA barcodes showed significant differences with related taxa. However, the paucity of Sesiidae barcodes from Southeast Asia prevents meaningful taxonomic comparisons. The closest match out of published data on Sesiidae barcodes is Heterosphecia bantanakai, Arita & Gorbunov (2000a) from the tribe Osminiini, which has 9.98% sequence divergence from Heterosphecia pahangensis. Photographs of the moth in its natural habitat are shown. Behavioural aspects, such as mud-puddling and mode of flight, are described and presented in a video.
Study of Ephemeroporus Frey, 1982 populations from Peninsular Malaysia revealed a new species. Ephemeroporus malaysiaensis sp. nov. is characterized by the presence of four-five large denticles on anal margin of postabdomen instead of two-three, and five distinctive pigmented spots on each valve. Pigmented spots on the valves were never recorded for any species of family Chydoridae. E. malaysiaensis sp. nov. seems to be another endemic Chydoridae species of South-East Asia. E. malaysiaensis sp. nov. is a rare species, associated with emergent macrophytes in the littoral zone of shallow lake. Most of Ephemeroporus populations from Peninsular Malaysia belong to eurybiotic Paleotropical species Ephemeroporus barroisi (Richard, 1984).
A new species of Bent-toed Gecko, Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis sp. nov. of the sworderi complex, is described from Hutan Lipur Gunung Senyum, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia and is differentiated from all other species in the sworderi complex by having a unique combination of characters including a maximum SVL of 74.7 mm; low, rounded, weakly keeled, body tubercles; 34-40 paravertebral tubercles; weak ventrolateral body fold lacking tubercles; 38-41 ventral scales; an abrupt transition between the posterior and ventral femoral scales; 20-23 subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe; enlarged femoral scales; no femoral or precloacal pores; no precloacal groove; wide caudal bands; and an evenly banded dorsal pattern. Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis sp. nov. is a scansorial, karst forest-adapted specialist endemic to the karst ecosystem surrounding Gunung Senyum and occurs on the vertical walls of the limestone towers as well as the branches, trunks, and leaves of the vegetation in the associated karst forest. Cyrtodactylus gunungsenyumensis sp. nov. is the seventh species of karst forest-adapted Cyrtodactylus and the sixteenth endemic species of karst ecosystem reptile discovered in Peninsular Malaysia in the last seven years from only 12 different karst forests. This is a clear indication that many species remain to be discovered in the approximately 558 isolated karst ecosystems in Peninsular Malaysia not yet surveyed. These data continue to underscore the importance of karst ecosystems as reservoirs of biodiversity and microendemism and that they constitute an important component of Peninsular Malaysia's natural heritage and should be protected from the quarrying interests of foreign industrial companies.
A new species of Bent-toed Gecko Cyrtodactylus guakanthanensis sp. nov. of the C. sworderi complex is described from a limestone forest in Perak, Peninsular Malaysia whose karst formations at the type locality are within an active quarry. Cyrtodactylus guakanthanensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other Sundaland species by having the following suite of character states: adult SVL 77.7-82.2 mm; moderately sized, conical, weakly keeled, body tubercles; tubercles present on occiput, nape, and limbs, and extend posteriorly beyond base of tail; 37-44 ventral scales; no transversely enlarged, median, subcaudal scales; proximal subdigital lamellae transversely expanded; 19-21 subdigital lamellae on fourth toe; abrupt transition between posterior and ventral femoral scales; enlarged femoral scales; no femoral or precloacal pores; precloacal groove absent; wide, dark postorbital stripes from each eye extending posteriorly to the anterior margin of the shoulder region thence forming a transverse band across the anterior margin of the shoulder region; and body bearing five (rarely four) wide, bold, dark bands. Destruction of the karst microhabitat and surrounding limestone forest will extirpate this new species from the type locality and perhaps drive it to complete extinction given that it appears to be restricted to the particular microhabitat structure of the type locality and is not widely distributed throughout the karst formations. As with plants and invertebrates, limestone forests are proving to be significant areas of high herpetological endemism and should be afforded special conservation status rather than turned into cement.
A new species of karst-adapted gekkonid lizard of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch is described from Gua Gunting and Gua Goyang in a karst region of Merapoh, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia whose unique limestone formations are in immediate danger of being quarried. The new species differs from all other species of Cnemaspis based on its unique suite of morphological and color pattern characters. Its discovery underscores the unique biodiversity endemic to karst regions and adds to a growing list of karst-adapted reptiles from Peninsular Malaysia. We posit that new karst-adapted species endemic to limestone forests will continue to be discovered and these regions will harbor a significant percentage of Peninsular Malaysia's biodiversity and thusly should be conserved rather than quarried.