Three new students joined our lab group this semester: Mr. Gajaba Ellepola, a lecturer from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, who is pursuing his Ph.D. work, Miss Sun Dan, a Ph.D. student from Ji Lin Province in China and Mr. Mao Ting Ru, a masters student from Nanning, China. As customary to welcome, we went out for a meal, but sans bijou.
We review and clear the taxonomy of the members of the genus Labeo of Sri Lanka. We used an integrative taxonomic analysis using morphology, morphometry, DNA and ecology. We see that the three Labeos of Sri Lanka do not form a monophyletic clade. This is indicative of multiple dispersal events from India to Sri Lanka. We describe and rename the species that was previously recognized as Labeo dussumieri of Sri Lanka as a new species. The newly described species is Labeo heladiva - heladiva is an ancient name for Sri Lanka. At lease two of the three Labeo species of the island need immediate conservation intervention. The work was inspired and supported by Rohan Pethiyagoda and led by Hiranya Sudasinghe. Full Text is available on Research Gate.
About seven years ago, when we were beginning to take a closer look at the vocalizations of frogs, from within the dark forested streams of the highest peaks of the Knuckles mountains, we came across a booming call that we had never hear before. We thought that it was a new species. One of my friends also brought this species to the notice soon afterwards. So we got together and started documenting the distribution, morphology, genetic characteristics and the bone structures of the Lankanectes populations across Sri Lanka. In almost all aspects we considered, the population that we heard was different from the rest of the Lankanectes of the island. So we described it as a new species - Lankanectes pera. We named the frog after the University of Peradeniya, the premier research and teaching university in Sri Lanka, which was celebrating her 75th anniversary last year. The alumni of this great university refer to her affectionately as "Pera". The frog is highly specialized for life in clear, cold, forest covered streams of the mountains, and together with a very sparse distribution, the future of the frog is uncertain. Hence we highlighted this frog to be critically endangered. We hope that identifying this frog will help direct conservation attention to both the habitat of this frog and the frog itself. The authors of the paper are Gayani Senevirathne, Pradeep Samarawickrama, Nayana Wijayathilaka, Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi, D. Samarawickrama and myself. The work was done at Pera. By Madhava Meegaskumbura