Contents of Proceedings of the Zoological Institute

Volume 324 (1), 2020

Date of publication — March 24, 2020

100th Anniversary of the Department of Herpetology of the Zoological Institute RAS
(instead of the foreword)

Sergey Alexandrovich Chernov (1903–1964): biography of herpetologist

The scientific biography of the outstanding herpetologist and specialist in zoogeography Sergei Alexandrovich Chernov (1903–1964) was reconstructed on the base the study of archival materials and literature sources. The text is divided into four parts, reflecting the main stages of his biography: 1903–1930 – Kharkiv, the beginning of the scientific career; 1930–1941 – relocation to Leningrad, Tajik-Pamir expedition; 1941–1945 – Great Patriotic War and evacuation; 1945–1964 – period after the Great Patriotic War. In the paper, we emphasize the line of teacher–student continuity begun by A.M. Nikolsky and S.A. Chernov in the herpetology department of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The appendix contains a list of his publications (52 titles), taxa, described by him (11) and named in his honor (6). In majority of his publications, Chernov was the sole author; most of them were published in Russian; only one paper was written in a foreign (German) language. One of the main achievements of Chernov should be recognized a publication of the Guide of amphibians and reptiles of the USSR together with P.V. Terentyev. He made the greatest contribution to the study of the systematics of lizards and snakes, composition, zoogeography, and the history of the formation of the herpetofauna of Central Asia. According to his studies, the fauna of Central and Central Asia are subsidiaries of the once united region, what contradicted the views of his teacher Nikolsky, who developed the concept of M.A. Menzbir about the young postglacial origin of the Aral-Caspian deserts and the ancient, Eocene origin of the deserts of Central Asia.

Taxonomy of the Lonchodectidae (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea)

The pterodactyloid family Lonchodectidae includes three genera, Lonchodectes Hooley, 1914, Lonchodraco Rodrigues et Kellner, 2013, and Ikrandraco Wang et al., 2014, and four species, Lonchodectes compressirostris (Owen, 1851), Lonchodraco giganteus (Bowerbank, 1846), Ikrandraco avatar Wang et al., 2014, and Ikrandraco machaerorhynchus (Seeley, 1870) comb. nov. [=Ornithocheirus microdon Seeley, 1870 syn. nov.]. The holotype of Lonchodectes compressirostris (NHMUK PV 39410) consists of two fragments of the anterior rostrum, not the mandibular and rostrum fragments as was supposed previously. The difference between Lonchodectes and Ikrandraco is not clear and the taxa could be synonyms. The diagnostic characters for the Lonchodectidae are the presence of the palatal ridge, elevated alveolar margin of the upper and lower jaws, small teeth that are not varying in size, and a prominent mandibular crest (unknown for Lonchodectes). The family includes taxa with long and low rostrum and prominent mandibular crest (Ikrandraco and, possibly, Lonchodectes), or with both premaxil­lary and mandibular crests (Lonchodraco). Various phylogenetic analyses place the Lonchodectidae within the Ornithocheiroidea, frequently as a sister taxon to the Anhangueria. The family is known from the mid-Cretaceous (Albian-Turonian) of England (Lonchodectes compressirostris, Lonchodraco giganteus, Ikrandracomachaero­rhynchus), the Lower Cretaceous (Aptian) of China (Ikrandraco avatar), and the Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian) of European Russia (Lonchodraco (?) sp.). The putative records of the Lonchodectidae from the Lower Cretaceous of England (Serradraco sagittirostris (Owen, 1874), BEXHM 2015.18, and Palaeornis cliftii Mantell, 1844), Spain (Prejanopterus curvirostris Fuentes Vidarte et Meijide Calvo, 2010), and Brazil (Unwindia trigonus Martill, 2011) are reviewed. None of them can be attributed to that group.

Cytochrome b mitochondrial gene analysis-based phylogeography of a Sand lizard in the Crimea: ancient refugium at the peninsula, late expansion from the North, and first evidence of Lacerta agilis tauridica and L. a. exigua (Lacertidae: Sauria) hybridization

The contact zones of the distribution ranges of closely related reptile taxa are the source of valuable data on the microevolutionary processes in populations, the history of regional faunas origin, and the environmental preferences of the studied forms. Our study is focused on the genetic structure of the populations of sand lizard, Lacerta agilis Linnaeus, 1758, at the Crimean peninsula. This lacertid species inhabits the mountain (afforested) and plain (steppe) parts of the Crimea, being abundant or common in many areas. Lacerta agilis is represented in the Crimea by two subspecies: the widely distributed Eastern (L. a. exigua Eichwald, 1831) inhabiting a large part of Northern Eurasia, and the endemic (L. a. tauridica Suchow, 1927) residing in the Crimean mountains. Mitochondrial haplogroup affiliation corresponding to one of the subspecies (L. a. tauridica, L. a. exigua or L. a. chersonensis) was established for 225 L. agilis individuals from 81 localities in the Crimea and adjacent mainland territories. The nucleotide sequences of the complete cytochrome b gene of mitochondrial DNA (1143 bp) were studied in 75 L. agilis individuals from 68 localities. The genetic distance between both subspecies inhabiting the Crimea revealed by used molecular marker comprised 2.8%, which indicates their early divergence approximately at the transition of Early to Middle Pleistocene (ca. 1 Mya). L. a. tauridica is characterized by a comparatively deep genetic structure. Haplotypes occupying isolated positions on the phylogenetic tree of this subspecies were found in the south-western part of the Crimean Mountains, what might be explained by the localization of L. agilis microrefugia in areas least affected by the Late Pleistocene cooling. Genetic structure of L. a. exigua is more homogeneous. Another important result of our study was an identification of zones of haplogroups «exigua» and «tauridica» coexistence localized along the northern and eastern margins of the Crimean Mountains. The portion of the «exigua» haplogroup in local populations decreases southward and westward. The observed pattern of the spatial distribution of haplogroups seems to be a result of the hybridization zone formation between the sand lizard subspecies during the Holocene expansion of L. a. exigua. Ecological niches modeling for L. agilis subspecies and analysis of morphological variability of the lizards support the hypothesis of L. a. exigua and L. a. tauridica hybridization in the area of contact of their ranges in the eastern part of the Crimean Mountains.

Results and perspectives of cyto- and genetic studying of “cryptic” group of the Lacertidae

Results of chromosomal and molecular studies of the lizard Zootoca vivipara (Lichtenstein, 1823) (Lacertidae) from many geographically separate populations of Europe and Asia have been generalized. The questions of ka­ryotype differences within the species, of diversity of its Zw and multiple Z1Z2W sex chromosome, their reorganizations and evolutionary consequences have been briefly considered. Stability of forming karyotypes is as an integrating factor which allow to identify the specimens and unite them into the groups possessing the distinct distribution areas. There are a correlation between chromosomal, mt DNA and nuclear DNA data. Finally all data obtained allow to draw a conclusion that Z. vivipara represents a cryptic group of cryptic taxa. Besides new data about the behavior of multiple sex chromosomes (SC, synaptonemal complexes) in early meiosis and molecular-cytogenetic data on transposable elements (TE) in the genome of Z. vivipara, their localization in the definite regions of chromosomes may suggest that they play a role in active speciation process by formation of cryptic taxa.

The anomaly P syndrome in green frogs: the history of discovery, morphological features and possible causes

The anomaly P in green frogs was firstly found in 1952 in France by French writer and scientist Jean Rostand. Mild form of anomaly P manifestation includes polydactyly, while complex morphological transformations affect the fore and hindlimbs and include combinations of traits: polydactyly, brachymely, hind limb flexion, small additional limbs, bone outgrowths, tumors and edema in the hind limbs. Rostand experimentally showed that this anomaly is not inherited and is caused by some environmental factors. It was recorded only in Western Palearctic green frogs of the genus Pelophylax and was absent in other amphibian species, despite their syntopic occurrence. The severe cases of anomaly P were not found for a long time by researchers and were re-discovered after half a century since its last observation. A new record was made in 2016 in the central part of Russia in the Privolzhskaya Lesostep’ nature reserve. The morphological features of the anomalous frogs in the study area turned out to be similar to those described by Rostand. Symmetric polydactyly, brachymely, hind limb flexion, edema of hind limbs, small additional limbs in thighs, outgrowths, and concomitant anomalies – mandibular hypoplasia, unmoved hind limb, open opercular chamber. The frequency of occurrence of the anomaly in the studied population reached 24.7% (n = 384). Moreover, the “severe forms” of the anomaly P were noted in 4.7% of cases, and the “light” (polydactyly) in 20.0%. Growing tadpoles together with freshwater mollusks allowed us to obtain the anomaly P in the laboratory. It was revealed that the mollusks Planorbarius corneus are the intermediate hosts (vectors) for the “infectious agent” of this anomaly. As the most possible cause of the anomaly, the infection by trematodes species is considered.

Late Pleistocene and Holocene small mammal (Lipotyphla, Rodentia, Lagomorpha) remains from Medvezhyi Klyk Cave in the Southern Russian Far East

Late Pleistocene-Holocene faunal complexes of small mammals (Lipotyphla, Rodentia, and Lagomorpha) from the Russian Far East are described for the first time. We used material from the Medvezhyi Klyk Cave, located in Southern Sikhote-Alin. The numerous fossil findings from the cave display a remarkable taxonomic diversity and high degree of preservation. AMS 14C dating used for determination of deposits age. The Holocene sediments were divided into three periods: Early, Middle, and Late. The Pleistocene deposits age was not exactly determined, but under approximately estimation it can reach 50–60 ka. Thirty-nine species were found, including one member of the extinct genus of arvicolins. There are six faunal complexes identified from the studied Late Pleistocene and Holocene deposits. In general, the faunal complexes characterized by the dominance of Craseomys rufocanus within rodents, Sorex caecutiens within lipotyphlans; and relatively stability composition of most number of the dominant, codominant and subdominant species. Accordingly, the faunal complexes were described by means of two determining criteria only: relative number of species; and presence or absence of certain species. The dominant species are eurytopic and so they cannot use for reconstruction of the paleoenvironment.

New insights into the molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of the family Issidae (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Fulgoroidea)

The phylogenetic relationships among major lineages of the planthopper family Issidae were explored by analyzing a molecular dataset of nine fragments (COI, CytB, 12S, H3, 16S, 18SII, 18SIII, 28S D3–D5, 28S D6–D7) and 48 terminal taxa. Bayesian and Maximum likelihood analyses yielded similar and mostly well-resolved trees with moderate to high support for most branches. The obtained results suggest subdivision of the family Issidae Spinola into two subfamilies, Issinae Spinola, 1839 (= Thioniinae Melichar, 1906, = Hemisphaeriinae Melichar, 1906) and Hysteropterinae Melichar, 1906. The Issinae was clustered into the tribes Issini Spinola, 1839, with the subtribes Issina Spinola, 1839 and Thioniina Melichar, 1906, Sarimini Wang, Zhang et Bourgoin, 2016, Parahiraciini Cheng et Yang, 1991, Hemisphaeriini Melichar, 1906, and Kodaianellini Wang, Zhang et Bourgoin, 2016. The Hysteropterinae incorporates the rest of Western Palaearctic taxa except Issina. Chimetopini Gnezdilov, 2017, stat. nov. is elevated to tribe from the subtribal level. Most well-supported clades showed clear geographical pattering. Newly obtained data contradicts the scenario of an early split of American Thioniinae from other Issidae and possible origin of the family in the New World, while the combination of Palaearctic Issus Fabricius and Latissus Dlabola with Oriental and American taxa in one well supported clade may serve as an evidence for a common ancestor for extant Oriental, American, and Palaearctic issids.

Structure and functioning of phytoplankton in the Neva estuary in 2011–2016

Long-term observations (since 1982), which had been carried out in the Neva River estuary, have shown that in 2011–2016 the general nature of distribution, species composition and abundance of phytoplankton differed from those that were recorded earlier. The greatest changes are noted in the central part close by northern coast of the Neva Bay. With observed eutrophication in the Neva Bay (st. 12) and in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland (st. 19), different groups of algae dominated in the summer phytoplankton (late July – early August). The main mechanism regulating the species composition of phytoplankton were hydrological conditions observed in different parts of the estuary. Also Shallow water, wind activity, oxygen deficiency and temperature stratification, nutrient supply were favorable conditions for development of chlorococcal green, cryptophyte, euglenic and other algae groups. With a high Shannon index (3.8–4.0) in the Neva Bay, the largest share to the total biomass was given by chlorococcal algae. In the resort area of the Gulf of Finland at the end of July – early August, direct temperature stratification was usually established, with enough nutrients creating conditions for the development of stagnophilic planktonic algae with a predominance of cyanobacteria in the epilimion. Here, more often, were periods of surface “blooms”. For the most eutrophied areas of the Neva Bay and the inner estuary the average structural, functional, and relative indicators of plankton were compared with average values for the entire water area. The main characteristics of phytoplankton: biomass, primary production, chlorophyll concentration and total phosphorus content in the northern zone of the Neva Bay, were 2–3 times higher than the average values on the Gulf. The species composition of algae corresponded to a sufficiently high trophic state. In the resort area of inner estuary of the Gulf of Finland (st. 19), the observed mean values also slightly exceeded the average values for the estuary, but the relative indicators differed little from those calculated for the rest of the water area. The structural and functional characteristics of phytoplankton indicated that during eutrophication in different parts of the estuary, in Summer, conditions wer favorable to promote the development of different groups plankton algae.



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Last modified: March 24, 2020