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      A new limestone-dwelling species of Micryletta (Amphibia: Anura: Microhylidae) from northern Vietnam


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          We report on a new species of the genus Micryletta from limestone karst areas in northern Vietnam, which is described on the basis of molecular and morphological evidence. Micryletta nigromaculata sp. nov. is restricted to narrow areas of subtropical forests covering karst massifs in Cat Ba National Park (Hai Phong Province) and Cuc Phuong National Park (Ninh Binh Province) at elevations of 90–150 m a.s.l. In the phylogenetic analyses, the new species is unambiguously positioned as a sister lineage to all remaining species of Micryletta. We also discuss genealogical relationships and taxonomic problems within the genus Micryletta, provide molecular evidence for the validity of M. erythropoda and discuss the taxonomic status of M. steinegeri. We suggest the new species should be considered as Endangered (B1ab(iii), EN) following the IUCN’s Red List categories. A discussion on herpetofaunal diversity and conservation in threatened limestone karst massifs in Southeast Asia is provided.

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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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              Deciphering amphibian diversity through DNA barcoding: chances and challenges.

              Amphibians globally are in decline, yet there is still a tremendous amount of unrecognized diversity, calling for an acceleration of taxonomic exploration. This process will be greatly facilitated by a DNA barcoding system; however, the mitochondrial population structure of many amphibian species presents numerous challenges to such a standardized, single locus, approach. Here we analyse intra- and interspecific patterns of mitochondrial variation in two distantly related groups of amphibians, mantellid frogs and salamanders, to determine the promise of DNA barcoding with cytochrome oxidase subunit I (cox1) sequences in this taxon. High intraspecific cox1 divergences of 7-14% were observed (18% in one case) within the whole set of amphibian sequences analysed. These high values are not caused by particularly high substitution rates of this gene but by generally deep mitochondrial divergences within and among amphibian species. Despite these high divergences, cox1 sequences were able to correctly identify species including disparate geographic variants. The main problems with cox1 barcoding of amphibians are (i) the high variability of priming sites that hinder the application of universal primers to all species and (ii) the observed distinct overlap of intraspecific and interspecific divergence values, which implies difficulties in the definition of threshold values to identify candidate species. Common discordances between geographical signatures of mitochondrial and nuclear markers in amphibians indicate that a single-locus approach can be problematic when high accuracy of DNA barcoding is required. We suggest that a number of mitochondrial and nuclear genes may be used as DNA barcoding markers to complement cox1.

                Author and article information

                PeerJ Inc. (San Francisco, USA )
                4 October 2018
                : 6
                [1 ]Faculty of Biology, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Moscow State University , Moscow, Russia
                [2 ]Laboratory of Tropical Ecology, Joint Russian-Vietnamese Tropical Research and Technological Center , Hanoi, Vietnam
                [3 ]Save Vietnam’s Wildlife , Ninh Binh, Vietnam
                [4 ]Institute of Research and Development, Duy Tan University , Da Nang City, Vietnam
                [5 ]Vietnam National Museum of Nature, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology , Hanoi, Vietnam
                [6 ]Kadoorie Conservation China, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden , Hong Kong, China
                © 2018 Poyarkov et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

                Funded by: Joint Russian-Vietnamese Tropical Research and Technological Center, Hanoi, Vietnam
                Funded by: Russian Science Foundation
                Award ID: 14-50-00029
                Fieldwork was supported by the Joint Russian-Vietnamese Tropical Research and Technological Center, Hanoi, Vietnam. Molecular experiments, phylogenetic analyses, specimen storage and examination were carried out with the financial support of Russian Science Foundation (RSF grant No. 14-50-00029). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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