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      Life in the spray zone – overlooked diversity in West African torrent-frogs (Anura, Odontobatrachidae, Odontobatrachus)

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          Abstract

          West African torrent-frogs of the genus Odontobatrachus currently belong to a single species: Odontobatrachus natator (Boulenger, 1905). Recently, molecular results and biogeographic separation led to the recognition of five Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) thus identifying a species-complex. Based on these insights, morphological analyses on more than 150 adult specimens, covering the entire distribution of the family and all OTUs, were carried out. Despite strong morphological congruence, combinations of morphological characters made the differentiation of OTUs successful and allowed the recognition of five distinct species: Odontobatrachus natator, and four species new to science: Odontobatrachus arndti sp. n., O. fouta sp. n., O. smithi sp. n. and O. ziama sp. n. All species occur in parapatry: Odontobatrachus natator is known from western Guinea to eastern Liberia, O. ziama sp. n. from eastern Guinea, O. smithi sp. n. and O. fouta sp. n. from western Guinea, O. arndti sp. n. from the border triangle Guinea-Liberia-Côte d’Ivoire. In addition, for the first time the advertisement call of a West African torrent-frog (O. arndti sp. n.) is described.

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          Most cited references 35

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          Cryptic species as a window on diversity and conservation.

          The taxonomic challenge posed by cryptic species (two or more distinct species classified as a single species) has been recognized for nearly 300 years, but the advent of relatively inexpensive and rapid DNA sequencing has given biologists a new tool for detecting and differentiating morphologically similar species. Here, we synthesize the literature on cryptic and sibling species and discuss trends in their discovery. However, a lack of systematic studies leaves many questions open, such as whether cryptic species are more common in particular habitats, latitudes or taxonomic groups. The discovery of cryptic species is likely to be non-random with regard to taxon and biome and, hence, could have profound implications for evolutionary theory, biogeography and conservation planning.
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            Vast underestimation of Madagascar's biodiversity evidenced by an integrative amphibian inventory.

            Amphibians are in decline worldwide. However, their patterns of diversity, especially in the tropics, are not well understood, mainly because of incomplete information on taxonomy and distribution. We assess morphological, bioacoustic, and genetic variation of Madagascar's amphibians, one of the first near-complete taxon samplings from a biodiversity hotspot. Based on DNA sequences of 2,850 specimens sampled from over 170 localities, our analyses reveal an extreme proportion of amphibian diversity, projecting an almost 2-fold increase in species numbers from the currently described 244 species to a minimum of 373 and up to 465. This diversity is widespread geographically and across most major phylogenetic lineages except in a few previously well-studied genera, and is not restricted to morphologically cryptic clades. We classify the genealogical lineages in confirmed and unconfirmed candidate species or deeply divergent conspecific lineages based on concordance of genetic divergences with other characters. This integrative approach may be widely applicable to improve estimates of organismal diversity. Our results suggest that in Madagascar the spatial pattern of amphibian richness and endemism must be revisited, and current habitat destruction may be affecting more species than previously thought, in amphibians as well as in other animal groups. This case study suggests that worldwide tropical amphibian diversity is probably underestimated at an unprecedented level and stresses the need for integrated taxonomic surveys as a basis for prioritizing conservation efforts within biodiversity hotspots.
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              Multilocus species delimitation in a complex of morphologically conserved trapdoor spiders (mygalomorphae, antrodiaetidae, aliatypus).

              Species are a fundamental unit for biological studies, yet no uniform guidelines exist for determining species limits in an objective manner. Given the large number of species concepts available, defining species can be both highly subjective and biased. Although morphology has been commonly used to determine species boundaries, the availability and prevalence of genetic data has allowed researchers to use such data to make inferences regarding species limits. Genetic data also have been used in the detection of cryptic species, where other lines of evidence (morphology in particular) may underestimate species diversity. In this study, we investigate species limits in a complex of morphologically conserved trapdoor spiders (Mygalomorphae, Antrodiaetidae, Aliatypus) from California. Multiple approaches were used to determine species boundaries in this highly genetically fragmented group, including both multilocus discovery and validation approaches (plus a chimeric approach). Additionally, we introduce a novel tree-based discovery approach using species trees. Results suggest that this complex includes multiple cryptic species, with two groupings consistently recovered across analyses. Due to incongruence across analyses for the remaining samples, we take a conservative approach and recognize a three species complex, and formally describe two new species (Aliatypus roxxiae, sp. nov. and Aliatypus starretti, sp. nov.). This study helps to clarify species limits in a genetically fragmented group and provides a framework for identifying and defining the cryptic lineage diversity that prevails in many organismal groups.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Zoosystematics and Evolution
                ZSE
                Pensoft Publishers
                1860-0743
                1435-1935
                July 27 2015
                July 27 2015
                : 91
                : 2
                : 115-149
                Article
                10.3897/zse.91.5127
                © 2015
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