The taxonomic position of the rare Selangor Mud Snake (Raclitia indica) Gray to other species of homalopsids has remained uncertain due to the scarcity of specimens in collections and the lack of genetic material for comparison. Here we report the first molecular phylogenetic examination of this species based on recently acquired material. The study recovered R. indica nested within the clade of advanced, fanged homalopsids and the sister species to Erpeton tentaculatus Lácèpede. We also present notes on variation observed in the new specimens as well as range extensions for the species.
A recently published study analyzed the phylogenetic relationship between the genera Centrodinium and Alexandrium, confirming an earlier publication showing the genus Alexandrium as paraphyletic. This most recent manuscript retained the genus Alexandrium, introduced a new genus Episemicolon, resurrected two genera, Gessnerium and Protogonyaulax, and stated that: "The polyphyly [sic] of Alexandrium is solved with the split into four genera". However, these reintroduced taxa were not based on monophyletic groups. Therefore this work, if accepted, would result in replacing a single paraphyletic taxon with several non-monophyletic ones. The morphological data presented for genus characterization also do not convincingly support taxa delimitations. The combination of weak molecular phylogenetics and the lack of diagnostic traits (i.e., autapomorphies) render the applicability of the concept of limited use. The proposal to split the genus Alexandrium on the basis of our current knowledge is rejected herein. The aim here is not to present an alternative analysis and revision, but to maintain Alexandrium. A better constructed and more phylogenetically accurate revision can and should wait until more complete evidence becomes available and there is a strong reason to revise the genus Alexandrium. The reasons are explained in detail by a review of the available molecular and morphological data for species of the genera Alexandrium and Centrodinium. In addition, cyst morphology and chemotaxonomy are discussed, and the need for integrative taxonomy is highlighted.
Three new species of Rhinophoridae (Aporeomyia elaphocerasp. nov., Baniassa pennatasp. nov. from the Oriental Region, and Phyto mambillasp. nov. from the Afrotropical Region) are described, illustrated and compared with congeners. Genus-level affiliation of the new species is based on a morphology-based phylogeny, preliminarily accepting a paraphyletic Phyto Robineau-Desvoidy awaiting incorporation of molecular data. Keys to the species of the genus Aporeomyia Pape & Shima as well as to the Afrotropical species of the genus Phyto Robineau-Desvoidy are given.
Rafflesia tuanku-halimii, a new species from Peninsular Malaysia, is herewith described and illustrated. It is related to
R. azlanii and R. sharifah-hapsahiae by coalesced warts on it lobes. Rafflesia tuanku-halimii is different from them in
having window covered by almost united rings and these rings almost wholly covering the window.
The taxonomic status of the Southeast Asian spotted barb, Barbodes binotatus (Teleostei: Cyprinidae), has puzzled researchers because of large but inconsistent geographic variation of its body melanin marking pattern. In this study, the authors appraise the differentiation of B. binotatus and two closely related species, Barbodes rhombeus and saddle barb, Barbodes banksi, in Peninsular Malaysia using mitochondrial and nuclear markers. The results of this study reveal that the Peninsular Malaysia populations of each of the three species form largely reciprocal monophyletic lineages that differ from each other by a minimum of 2.3% p-genetic distance using COI gene. Nonetheless, specimens of B. binotatus in Peninsular Malaysia are only distantly related to specimens of B. binotatus in Java (type locality). The monophyly of B. banksi is not refuted although specimens of Peninsular Malaysia are genetically distinct from those of Sarawak (type locality). The authors discuss alternative hypotheses whether each of these three valid species is a single species or each of the main five genetic lineages revealed in this study represents a distinct species. Preliminary investigations reveal a mito-nuclear discordance at one locality in Peninsular Malaysia where B. binotatus and B. banksi co-occur. Further studies should inform on the extent of reproductive porousness between these two lineages and others.
A new species of Argiope Audouin 1826, A. hoiseni new species is described from Perak and Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia based on morphology and DNA information of the mitochondrial (16S rRNA, COI and COII) and nuclear-encoded (H3A, 18S rRNA) molecular markers. Epigynal structure suggested Argiope hoiseni to be similar to A. jinghongensis Yin, Peng Wang 1994, A. luzona (Walckenaer 1841), A. pulchella Thorell 1881 and A. taprobanica Thorell 1887. Molecular sequence data including the new species inferred that it is monophyletic with an intraspecific variation of 0.87-3.59 % based on the 16S+COI+COII+H3A dataset. Phylogenetic analyses also revealed insights into the evolutionary lineages of Argiope species in Southeast Asia as well as corroborated recent taxonomic changes and species synonymies associated with Argiope. Two new distribution records were also reported for A. chloreis Thorell,1877 and A. doleschalli Thorell, 1873 in Peninsular Malaysia.
Up to three nominal species of the cyprinid fish genus Poropuntius (i.e. P. deauratus [Valenciennes in Cuvier Valenciennes 1842], P. normani [Smith 1931], and P. smedleyi [de Beaufort 1933]) have been reported to occur in Peninsular Malaysian freshwater ecosystems. However, low morphological differentiation among species of Poropuntius causes confusion and it is still unknown how many valid species of Poropuntius occur in this region. The goal of this study is to review the taxonomic status of Poropuntius in Peninsular Malaysia by using morphological and molecular characters. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) on a morphometric dataset including 281 specimens of Poropuntius from Peninsular Malaysia and P. normani from Thailand (type locality) failed to identify non-overlapping clusters within sampled specimens. A phylogenetic tree based on cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) showed intraspecific levels of genetic differentiation within Poropuntius of Peninsular Malaysia and the specimens of P. normani from Thailand form a monophyletic group. Our results strongly support the presence of only one species of Poropuntius in Peninsular Malaysia, P. normani. We demonstrate that P. smedleyi described from Johor, southern Peninsular Malaysia, is a junior synonym of P. normani. The previous reports of the presence of P. deauratus in Peninsular Malaysia are doubtful because this species was described from Vietnam where, in all evidence, it is endemic.
Background: Dadih (fermented buffalo milk) is a traditional Indonesian food originating from West Sumatra province. The fermentation process is carried out by lactic acid bacteria (LAB), which are naturally present in buffalo milk. Lactic acid bacteria have been reported as one of potential producers of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA acts as a neurotransmitter inhibitor of the central nervous system. Methods: In this study, molecular identification and phylogenetic analysis of GABA producing LAB isolated from indigenous dadih of West Sumatera were determined. Identification of the GABA-producing LAB DS15 was based on conventional polymerase chain reaction. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis was used to identify LAB DS15. Results: PCR of the 16S rRNA gene sequence of LAB DS15 gave an approximately 1400 bp amplicon. Phylogenetic analysis showed that LAB DS15 was Pediococcusacidilactici, with high similarity of 99% at 100% query coverage to Pediococcusacidilactici strain DSM 20284. Conclusions: It can be concluded that GABA producing LAB isolated from indigenous dadih was Pediococcus acidilactici.
Morphotaxonomy based on phenotypic traits of immature hard ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) is a skill challenge and has prompted many inexperienced acarologists to adopt DNA-based methods for identifying and discriminating the species. The aim of this study is therefore to utilize COI gene for verifying the morphological status of Haemaphysalis ticks in Peninsular Malaysia. A total of 19 on-host ticks collected from four localities were first identified using specific illustrated taxonomic keys that lead to the genus of Haemaphysalis. Genotypic traits of tick species were then verified molecularly based on cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene using polymerase chain reaction and direct sequencing. Clustering analysis was carried out by constructing a phylogenetic tree to determine the genetic variation and diversity of local Haemaphysalis ticks. Based on external morphological characterizations, all immature ticks were successfully identified down to the genus level only. Molecular analysis of the genotypic using COI gene revealed 16 individuals (84%) as Haemaphysalis hystricis, and three individuals as H. humerosa with sequence homology of 97-99 and 86-87%, respectively. Haemaphysalis hystricis were clustered in their respective monophyletic group in the phylogeny trees with a bootstrap of 100%. Furthermore, a low intraspecific variation (<0.3%) was observed among Malaysian H. hystricis but high interspecific value (>15%) recorded. This study morphologically and molecularly confirms the presence of H. hystricis in Malaysia and the findings will add value to the existing knowledge in identification of ticks in this country.
Whole-genome duplications (WGDs) are widespread and prevalent in vascular plants and frequently coincide with major episodes of global and climatic upheaval, including the mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (c. 65 Ma) and during more recent periods of global aridification in the Miocene (c. 10-5 Ma). Here, we explore WGDs in the diverse flowering plant clade Malpighiales. Using transcriptomes and complete genomes from 42 species, we applied a multipronged phylogenomic pipeline to identify, locate, and determine the age of WGDs in Malpighiales using three means of inference: distributions of synonymous substitutions per synonymous site (Ks ) among paralogs, phylogenomic (gene tree) reconciliation, and a likelihood-based gene-count method. We conservatively identify 22 ancient WGDs, widely distributed across Malpighiales subclades. Importantly, these events are clustered around the Eocene-Paleocene transition (c. 54 Ma), during which time the planet was warmer and wetter than any period in the Cenozoic. These results establish that the Eocene Climatic Optimum likely represents a previously unrecognized period of prolific WGDs in plants, and lends further support to the hypothesis that polyploidization promotes adaptation and enhances plant survival during episodes of global change, especially for tropical organisms like Malpighiales, which have tight thermal tolerances.
An integrative taxonomic analysis of the Ptychozoon lionotum group across its range in Indochina and Sundaland recovers P. lionotum sensu lato Annandale, 1905 as paraphyletic with respect to P. popaense Grismer, Wood, Thura, Grismer, Brown, Stuart, 2018a and composed of four allopatric, genetically divergent, ND2 mitochondrial lineages. Multivariate and univariate analyses of continuous and discrete morphological and color pattern characters statistically and discretely diagnose each lineage from one another and together, with maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference analyses, provide the foundation for the recognition of each lineage as a new species-hypotheses corroborated with a Generalized Mixed Yule Coalescent species delimitation analysis. Ptychozoon cicakterbang sp. nov. ranges throughout Peninsular Malaysia to Pulau Natuna Besar, Indonesia; P. kabkaebin sp. nov. is endemic to northern and central Laos; and P. tokehos sp. nov. ranges from southern Thailand south of the Isthmus of Kra northward to Chiang Mai, fringing the Chao Phraya Basin and ranging southward through Cambodia to southern Vietnam. Ptychozoon lionotum sensu stricto ranges from northwestern Laos through southern Myanmar to eastern India. The phylogeographic structure within each species varies considerably with P. lionotum s.s. showing no genetic divergence across its 1,100 km range compared to P. cicakterbang sp. nov. showing upwards of 8.2% sequence divergence between syntopic individuals. Significant phylogeographic structure exists within P. tokehos sp. nov. and increased sampling throughout Thailand may require additional taxonomic changes within this species.
Leaf venation networks evolved along several functional axes, including resource transport, damage resistance, mechanical strength, and construction cost. Because functions may depend on architectural features at different scales, network architecture may vary across spatial scales to satisfy functional tradeoffs. We develop a framework for quantifying network architecture with multiscale statistics describing elongation ratios, circularity ratios, vein density, and minimum spanning tree ratios. We quantify vein networks for leaves of 260 southeast Asian tree species in samples of up to 2 cm2 , pairing multiscale statistics with traits representing axes of resource transport, damage resistance, mechanical strength, and cost. We show that these multiscale statistics clearly differentiate species' architecture and delineate a phenotype space that shifts at larger scales; functional linkages vary with scale and are weak, with vein density, minimum spanning tree ratio, and circularity ratio linked to mechanical strength (measured by force to punch) and elongation ratio and circularity ratio linked to damage resistance (measured by tannins); and phylogenetic conservatism of network architecture is low but scale-dependent. This work provides tools to quantify the function and evolution of venation networks. Future studies including primary and secondary veins may uncover additional insights.
The pteridophyte flora of Langkawi Archipelago consists of 130 species, 1 subspecies and 12 varieties in 68 genera and 27 families. This value represents 22.1% of the 647 taxa at the species level and below reported for Peninsular Malaysia. Of the 143 recorded taxa of pteridophytes at the species level and below, 8 species in 2 genera and 2 families are lycophytes and the other 135 taxa in 66 genera and 25 families are monilophytes or ferns.
While the importance of local-scale habitat niches in shaping tree species turnover along environmental gradients in tropical forests is well appreciated, relatively little is known about the influence of phylogenetic signal in species' habitat niches in shaping local community structure. We used detailed maps of the soil resource and topographic variation within eight 24-50 ha tropical forest plots combined with species phylogenies created from the APG III phylogeny to examine how phylogenetic beta diversity (indicating the degree of phylogenetic similarity of two communities) was related to environmental gradients within tropical tree communities. Using distance-based redundancy analysis we found that phylogenetic beta diversity, expressed as either nearest neighbor distance or mean pairwise distance, was significantly related to both soil and topographic variation in all study sites. In general, more phylogenetic beta diversity within a forest plot was explained by environmental variables this was expressed as nearest neighbor distance versus mean pairwise distance (3.0-10.3 % and 0.4-8.8 % of variation explained among plots, respectively), and more variation was explained by soil resource variables than topographic variables using either phylogenetic beta diversity metric. We also found that patterns of phylogenetic beta diversity expressed as nearest neighbor distance were consistent with previously observed patterns of niche similarity among congeneric species pairs in these plots. These results indicate the importance of phylogenetic signal in local habitat niches in shaping the phylogenetic structure of tropical tree communities, especially at the level of close phylogenetic neighbors, where similarity in habitat niches is most strongly preserved.
Elucidating the phylogenetic relationships of the current but problematic Dasyatidae (Order Myliobatiformes) was the first priority of the current study. Here, we studied three molecular gene markers of 43 species (COI gene), 33 species (ND2 gene) and 34 species (RAG1 gene) of stingrays to draft out the phylogenetic tree of the order. Nine character states were identified and used to confirm the molecularly constructed phylogenetic trees. Eight or more clades (at different hierarchical level) were identified for COI, ND2 and RAG1 genes in the Myliobatiformes including four clades containing members of the present Dasyatidae, thus rendering the latter non-monophyletic. The uncorrected p-distance between these four 'Dasytidae' clades when compared to the distance between formally known families confirmed that these four clades should be elevated to four separate families. We suggest a revision of the present classification, retaining the Dasyatidae (Dasyatis and Taeniurops species) but adding three new families namely, Neotrygonidae (Neotrygon and Taeniura species), Himanturidae (Himantura species) and Pastinachidae (Pastinachus species). Our result indicated the need to further review the classification of Dasyatis microps. By resolving the non-monophyletic problem, the suite of nine character states enables the natural classification of the Myliobatiformes into at least thirteen families based on morphology.
The emergence of a third wave of COVID-19 infection in Malaysia since September 2020 has led to imminent changes in public health prevention and control measures. As high as 96.2% of registered COVID-19 cases and 88.5% of confirmed deaths in Malaysia occurred during this third wave of infection. A phylogenomic study on 258 SARS-CoV-2 full genomes from February 2020-February 2021 has led to the discovery of a novel Malaysian lineage B.1.524. This lineage contains another spike mutation A701V that co-exists with the D614G spike mutation that was predominant in most of the third-wave clusters. The study provides vital genomic insights on the rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 variants in Malaysia in conjunction with the presence of a dominant SARS-CoV-2 lineage during the third wave of COVID-19 infection.
Molecular techniques are invaluable for investigation on the biodiversity of Anopheles mosquitoes. This study aimed at investigating the spatial-genetic variations among Anopheles mosquitoes from different areas of Peninsular Malaysia, as well as deciphering evolutionary relationships of the local Anopheles mosquitoes with the mosquitoes from neighbouring countries using the anopheline ITS2 rDNA gene.
Blood cockles are among the most economically important brackish water invertebrates found in Malaysia. However, our knowledge of blood cockle phylogeny and systematics is rudimentary, especially for the species Tegillarca granosa. It is unclear, for instance, whether the cockles occurring on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia constitute a single species, or multiple, phylogenetically distinct species. We performed the first DNA molecular phylogenetic analysis of T. granosa to distinguish it from other related species found in other parts of the world and to create a DNA database for the species. An approximately 585-nucleotide fragment of the mitochondrial DNA (cytochrome oxidase I, COI) was sequenced for 150 individual cockles, representing 10 populations: three from the north, four from the central part and three from the southern part of peninsular Malaysia. Phylogenetic analyses of the resulting dataset yielded tree topologies that not only showed the relationship between T. granosa and its closest relatives but its position in the evolutionary tree. Three mitochondrial clades were evident, each containing an individual genus. Using the mutation rate of the COI gene, the divergence time between T. granosa and its closest related species was estimated to be 460 thousand years ago. This study provides a phylogenetic framework for this ecologically prominent and commercially important cockle species.