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      Four new species of Asian horned toads (Anura, Megophryidae, Megophrys) from southern China

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          Abstract

          Recent phylogenetic analysis encompassing multilocus nuclear-gene and matrilineal mtDNA genealogy has revealed a series of cryptic species of the subgenus Panophrys within genus Megophrys from southern and eastern China. This study demonstrates that the Panophrys specimens from the hilly areas among Guangdong, Guangxi and Hunan can be morphologically distinguished from all recognized congeners, thereby providing additional supports for the recognitions of four new species of Panophrys, namely Megophrys (Panophrys) mirabilis Lyu, Wang & Zhao, sp. nov. from northeastern Guangxi, Megophrys (Panophrys) shimentaina Lyu, Liu & Wang, sp. nov. from northern Guangdong, and Megophrys (Panophrys) xiangnanensis Lyu, Zeng & Wang, sp. nov. and Megophrys (Panophrys) yangmingensis Lyu, Zeng & Wang, sp. nov. from southern Hunan. The descriptions of these species take the number of Megophrys species to 101, 46 of which belong to the subgenus Panophrys.

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          Most cited references 18

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          A novel multilocus phylogenetic estimation reveals unrecognized diversity in Asian horned toads, genus Megophrys sensu lato (Anura: Megophryidae).

          The horned toad assemblage, genus Megophrys sensu lato, currently includes three groups previously recognized as the genera Atympanophrys, Xenophrys and Megophrys sensu stricto. The taxonomic status and species composition of the three groups remain controversial due to conflicting phenotypic analyses and insufficient phylogenetic reconstruction; likewise, the position of the monotypic Borneophrys remains uncertain with respect to the horned toads. Further, the diversity of the horned toads remains poorly understood, especially for widespread species. Herein, we evaluate species-level diversity based on 45 of the 57 described species from throughout southern China, Southeast Asia and the Himalayas using Bayesian inference trees and the Generalized Mixed Yule Coalescent (GMYC) approach. We estimate the phylogeny using both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA data. Analyses reveal statistically significant mito-nuclear discordance. All analyses resolve paraphyly for horned toads involving multiple strongly supported clades. These clades correspond with geography. We resurrect the genera Atympanophrys and Xenophrys from the synonymy of Megophrys to eliminate paraphyly of Megophrys s.l. and to account for the morphological, molecular and biogeographic differences among these groups, but we also provide an alternative option. Our study suggests that Borneophrys is junior synonym of Megophrys sensu stricto. We provide an estimation of timeframe for the horned toads. The mitochondrial and nuclear trees indicate the presence of many putative undescribed species. Widespread species, such as Xenophrys major and X. minor, likely have dramatically underestimated diversity. The integration of morphological and molecular evidence can validate this discovery. Montane forest dynamics appear to play a significant role in driving diversification of horned toads.
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            Evolutionary History of the Asian Horned Frogs (Megophryinae): Integrative Approaches to Timetree Dating in the Absence of a Fossil Record.

            Molecular dating studies typically need fossils to calibrate the analyses. Unfortunately, the fossil record is extremely poor or presently nonexistent for many species groups, rendering such dating analysis difficult. One such group is the Asian horned frogs (Megophryinae). Sampling all generic nomina, we combined a novel ∼5 kb dataset composed of four nuclear and three mitochondrial gene fragments to produce a robust phylogeny, with an extensive external morphological study to produce a working taxonomy for the group. Expanding the molecular dataset to include out-groups of fossil-represented ancestral anuran families, we compared the priorless RelTime dating method with the widely used prior-based Bayesian timetree method, MCMCtree, utilizing a novel combination of fossil priors for anuran phylogenetic dating. The phylogeny was then subjected to ancestral phylogeographic analyses, and dating estimates were compared with likely biogeographic vicariant events. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that previously proposed systematic hypotheses were incorrect due to the paraphyly of genera. Molecular phylogenetic, morphological, and timetree results support the recognition of Megophryinae as a single genus, Megophrys, with a subgenus level classification. Timetree results using RelTime better corresponded with the known fossil record for the out-group anuran tree. For the priorless in-group, it also outperformed MCMCtree when node date estimates were compared with likely influential historical biogeographic events, providing novel insights into the evolutionary history of this pan-Asian anuran group. Given a relatively small molecular dataset, and limited prior knowledge, this study demonstrates that the computationally rapid RelTime dating tool may outperform more popular and complex prior reliant timetree methodologies.
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              Prevalence of cryptic species in morphologically uniform taxa – Fast speciation and evolutionary radiation in Asian frogs

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                ZooKeys
                ZK
                Pensoft Publishers
                1313-2970
                1313-2989
                June 18 2020
                June 18 2020
                : 942
                : 105-140
                Article
                10.3897/zookeys.942.47983
                © 2020

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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