Yunnan half-toed tiger family adds “new member”

Recently, Ade Prasetyo Agung, an international graduate student of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (hereinafter referred to as Banna Botanical Garden), and his collaborators found that there were multiple “hidden species” in the specimens identified as Yunnan hemiphylla tiger through phylogenetic analysis and comparative study of morphological characteristics of mitochondrial fragments. Among them, the half-leaf tiger found in Yanshan County of Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture and Simao District of Pu’er City and Ning’er County were identified as two new species, H. yanshanensis and H. simaoensis, and the relevant results were published in Zoological Research.


The body color of the Yanshan half-leaf toed tiger. Positive pattern specimen in (A) in the figure on the left, male individual; (B, C, and D) Paratype specimens, female individuals. Photo courtesy of Banna Botanical Garden


Simao half-toed tiger body color. (A) Positive type specimens, male individuals; (B and D) paratype specimens, female individuals; (C) Paratype specimens, males. The specimens (A and B) were collected from Simao District, Pu’er City, and the specimens (C and D) were collected from Ning’er County. Photo courtesy of Banna Botanical Garden

Karst habitats in tropical and subtropical East Asia are one of the global biodiversity hotspots. Karst habitats tend to be fragmented, providing a unique niche for many karst-specific species. In particular, some small petolithophytes, such as the hemiphylla tiger, are more likely to be confined to fragmented karst habitats due to their limited mobility, resulting in a high degree of endemism.

According to reports, the karst habitat of Yunnan Province accounts for nearly 44% of the province’s land area, and it is likely that a large number of half-toed tiger species have evolved in this special habitat. Almost all species of the genus Semilodona in karst habitats in Yunnan Province have been identified as Yunnan Half-toed Tigers.

In this study, the researchers combined with the data published in GenBank to further analyze and show that the species of the genus Semi-toed tiger in Yunnan migrated in different historical periods through four different routes, showing the complexity of the biogeographic history of the species of the genus Semi-toed tiger in Yunnan. (Source: Hu Minqi, China Science News)

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