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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are an important model species in biomedical research and reliable knowledge about their evolutionary history is essential for biomedical inferences. Ten subspecies have been recognized, of which most are restricted to small islands of Southeast Asia. In contrast, the common long-tailed macaque (M. f. fascicularis) is distributed over large parts of the Southeast Asian mainland and the Sundaland region. To shed more light on the phylogeny of M. f. fascicularis, we sequenced complete mitochondrial (mtDNA) genomes of 40 individuals from all over the taxon's range, either by classical PCR-amplification and Sanger sequencing or by DNA-capture and high-throughput sequencing.
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.
This study is the first report to suggest a morphological phylogenetic framework for the seven varieties of Ficus deltoidea Jack (Ficus: Moraceae) from the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia. Several molecular-based classifications on the genus Ficus had been proposed, but neither had discussed the relationship between seven varieties of F. deltoidea to its allies nor within the varieties. The relationship between seven varieties of F. deltoidea is still debated due to the extreme morphological variabilities and ambiguous boundaries between taxa. Thus, the correct identification of these varieties is important as several morphological characters are variety-specific. To test the monophyly and further resolved the relationship in F. deltoidea, a morphological phylogenetic analysis was conducted based on herbarium specimens representing the seven varieties of F. deltoidea that were collected from the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia, by using related species of the genus Ficus; F. grossularioides, F. ischnopoda and F. oleifolia as the outgroups. Parsimony and neighbour-joining analyses indicated that F. deltoidea is monophyletic, in that the seven varieties of F. deltoidea nested into two clades; clade subspecies deltoidea (var. deltoidea, var. bilobata, var. angustifolia, var. kunstleri and var. trengganuensis) and clade subspecies motleyana (var. intermedia and var. motleyana).
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.
Mycobacterium brisbanense is a member of Mycobacterium fortuitum third biovariant complex, which includes rapidly growing Mycobacterium spp. that normally inhabit soil, dust and water, and can sometimes cause respiratory tract infections in humans. We present the first whole-genome analysis of M. brisbanense UM_WWY which was isolated from a 70-year-old Malaysian patient. Molecular phylogenetic analyses confirmed the identification of this strain as M. brisbanense and showed that it has an unusually large genome compared with related mycobacteria. The large genome size of M. brisbanense UM_WWY (~7.7Mbp) is consistent with further findings that this strain has a highly variable genome structure that contains many putative horizontally transferred genomic islands and prophage. Comparative analysis showed that M. brisbanense UM_WWY is the only Mycobacterium species that possesses a complete set of genes encoding enzymes involved in the urea cycle, suggesting that this soil bacterium is able to synthesize urea for use as plant fertilizers. It is likely that M. brisbanense UM_WWY is adapted to live in soil as its primary habitat since the genome contains many genes associated with nitrogen metabolism. Nevertheless, a large number of predicted virulence genes were identified in M. brisbanense UM_WWY that are mostly shared with well-studied mycobacterial pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium abscessus. These findings are consistent with the role of M. brisbanense as an opportunistic pathogen of humans. The whole-genome study of UM_WWY has provided the basis for future work of M. brisbanense.
The fungus Corynespora cassiicola is primarily found in the tropics and subtropics, and is widely diverse in substrate utilization and host association. Isolate characterization within C. cassiicola was undertaken to investigate how genetic diversity correlates with host specificity, growth rate, and geographic distribution. C. cassiicola isolates were collected from 68 different plant species in American Samoa, Brazil, Malaysia, and Micronesia, and Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee within the United States. Phylogenetic analyses using four loci were performed with 143 Corynespora spp. isolates, including outgroup taxa obtained from culture collections: C. citricola, C. melongenae, C. olivacea, C. proliferata, C. sesamum, and C. smithii. Phylogenetic trees were congruent from the ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer region, two random hypervariable loci (caa5 and ga4), and the actin-encoding locus act1, indicating a lack of recombination within the species and asexual propagation. Fifty isolates were tested for pathogenicity on eight known C. cassiicola crop hosts: basil, bean, cowpea, cucumber, papaya, soybean, sweet potato, and tomato. Pathogenicity profiles ranged from one to four hosts, with cucumber appearing in 14 of the 16 profiles. Bootstrap analyses and Bayesian posterior probability values identified six statistically significant phylogenetic lineages. The six phylogenetic lineages correlated with host of origin, pathogenicity, and growth rate but not with geographic location. Common fungal genotypes were widely distributed geographically, indicating long-distance and global dispersal of clonal lineages. This research reveals an abundance of previously unrecognized genetic diversity within the species and provides evidence for host specialization on papaya.
We describe a new species of cascade frog of the genus Rana, from west Malaysia. Rana monjerai, new species is a medium-sized frog of the subgenus Odorrana (SVL of males, 38-43 mm; of one female, 75 mm), and is distinguished from all other members of this subgenus by the combination of: white lip stripe, dorsolateral fold, full web on the fourth toe, vomerine teeth, gular vocal pouch and relatively large tympanum in males, no dorsal marking, no clear light spots on rear of thigh, first finger subequal to second, finely tuberculated dorsum, and unpigmented ova. The significance of finding this species from peninsular Malaysia is discussed.
The Malayan gaur (Bos gaurus hubbacki) is one of the three subspecies of gaurs that can be found in Malaysia. We examined the phylogenetic relationships of this subspecies with other species of the genus Bos (B. javanicus, B. indicus, B. taurus, and B. grunniens). The sequence of a key gene, cytochrome b, was compared among 20 Bos species and the bongo antelope, used as an outgroup. Phylogenetic reconstruction was employed using neighbor joining and maximum parsimony in PAUP and Bayesian inference in MrBayes 3.1. All tree topologies indicated that the Malayan gaur is in its own monophyletic clade, distinct from other species of the genus Bos. We also found significant branching differences in the tree topologies between wild and domestic cattle.
The phylogenetic affinities of the fern genus Aenigmopteris have been the subject of considerable disagreement, but until now, no molecular data were available from the genus. Based on the analysis of three chloroplast DNA regions (rbcL, rps16-matK, and trnL-F) we demonstrate that Aenigmopteris dubia (the type species of the genus) and A. elegans are closely related and deeply imbedded in Tectaria. The other three species of genus are morphologically very similar; we therefore transfer all five known species into Tectaria. Detailed morphological comparison further shows that previously proposed diagnostic characters of Aenigmopteris fall within the range of variation of a broadly circumscribed Tectaria.