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      Taxonomic revision of grass frogs (Ptychadenidae, Ptychadena) endemic to the Ethiopian highlands

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          Abstract

          Frogs of the genus Ptychadena that inhabit the Ethiopian highlands serve as a model system to understand biogeography, diversification, and adaptations to high elevations. Despite recent studies focusing on the systematics of this group, the taxonomy of the Ptychadena neumanni species complex remains only partially resolved, owing largely to the morphological resemblance of its members. Here, the taxonomy of this historically problematic group of frogs is revised by integrating morphological and molecular analyses on both century-old type specimens and more recently collected material. Based on these multiple lines of evidence, the P. neumanni species complex is shown to be more speciose than previously thought and four new species are described. With the aim of clarifying and stabilizing the taxonomy of the group, six species are also re-described and morphological and acoustic identification keys are provided. This study also establishes species distribution maps and reveals important differences in range size between the members of the P. neumanni complex, calling for adapted conservation measures across the Ethiopian highlands.

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          Most cited references 27

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          The use of bioacoustics in anuran taxonomy: theory, terminology, methods and recommendations for best practice.

          Vocalizations of anuran amphibians have received much attention in studies of behavioral ecology and physiology, but also provide informative characters for identifying and delimiting species. We here review the terminology and variation of frog calls from a perspective of integrative taxonomy, and provide hands-on protocols for recording, analyzing, comparing, interpreting and describing these sounds. Our focus is on advertisement calls, which serve as premating isolation mechanisms and, therefore, convey important taxonomic information. We provide recommendations for terminology of frog vocalizations, with call, note and pulse being the fundamental subunits to be used in descriptions and comparisons. However, due to the complexity and diversity of these signals, an unequivocal application of the terms call and note can be challenging. We therefore provide two coherent concepts that either follow a note-centered approach (defining uninterrupted units of sound as notes, and their entirety as call) or a call-centered approach (defining uninterrupted units as call whenever they are separated by long silent intervals) in terminology. Based on surveys of literature, we show that numerous call traits can be highly variable within and between individuals of one species. Despite idiosyncrasies of species and higher taxa, the duration of calls or notes, pulse rate within notes, and number of pulses per note appear to be more static within individuals and somewhat less affected by temperature. Therefore, these variables might often be preferable as taxonomic characters over call rate or note rate, which are heavily influenced by various factors. Dominant frequency is also comparatively static and only weakly affected by temperature, but depends strongly on body size. As with other taxonomic characters, strong call divergence is typically indicative of species-level differences, whereas call similarities of two populations are no evidence for them being conspecific. Taxonomic conclusions can especially be drawn when the general advertisement call structure of two candidate species is radically different and qualitative call differences are thus observed. On the other hand, quantitative differences in call traits might substantially vary within and among conspecific populations, and require careful evaluation and analysis. We provide guidelines for the taxonomic interpretation of advertisement call differences in sympatric and allopatric situations, and emphasize the need for an integrative use of multiple datasets (bio-acoustics, morphology, genetics), particularly for allopatric scenarios. We show that small-sized frogs often emit calls with frequency components in the ultrasound spectrum, although it is unlikely that these high frequencies are of biological relevance for the majority of them, and we illustrate that detection of upper harmonics depends also on recording distance because higher frequencies are attenuated more strongly. Bioacoustics remains a prime approach in integrative taxonomy of anurans if uncertainty due to possible intraspecific variation and technical artifacts is adequately considered and acknowledged.
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            ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Freshwater paths across the ocean: molecular phylogeny of the frog Ptychadena newtoni gives insights into amphibian colonization of oceanic islands

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              EQUIPMENT REVIEW

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Zookeys
                Zookeys
                2
                urn:lsid:arphahub.com:pub:45048D35-BB1D-5CE8-9668-537E44BD4C7E
                urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:91BD42D4-90F1-4B45-9350-EEF175B1727A
                ZooKeys
                Pensoft Publishers
                1313-2989
                1313-2970
                2021
                11 February 2021
                : 1016
                : 77-141
                Affiliations
                [1 ] New York University Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE New York University Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
                [2 ] Department of Biology, Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing, New York, USA City University of New York New York United States of America
                [3 ] Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute Addis Ababa Ethiopia
                [4 ] Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Addis Ababa University Addis Ababa Ethiopia
                Author notes

                Academic editor: A. Crottini

                Article
                59699
                10.3897/zookeys.1016.59699
                7892535
                Sandra Goutte, Jacobo Reyes-Velasco, Xenia Freilich, Abeje Kassie, Stephane Boissinot

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Categories
                Research Article
                Ptychadenidae
                Identification Key
                Phylogeny
                Systematics
                Taxonomy
                Ethiopia

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