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      Diamond in the rough: a new species of fossorial diamond frog (Rhombophryne) from Ranomafana National Park, southeastern Madagascar

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      Zoosystematics and Evolution

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          We describe a new species from the cophyline microhylid genus Rhombophryne, a group of fossorial and terrestrial frogs endemic to Madagascar. Found during herpetofaunal surveys of moist montane forest in the remote north of Ranomafana National Park, Rhombophryne nilevina sp. n. exemplifies two difficulties that hinder taxonomic progress in Malagasy cophyline frogs: micro-endemicity and highly secretive habits. Known from only two adult male specimens, this new species is nonetheless easily distinguishable from all other known Rhombophryne using morphological data, and osteological data collected here via X-ray Micro-Computed Tomography, or “micro-CT”. This species is now the largest known Rhombophryne, and the only one known from Ranomafana National Park, which will make it the southern-most member of the genus pending a forthcoming taxonomic revision involving Plethodontohyla and Rhombophryne. Pairwise distances of the mitochondrial 16s rRNA marker show a minimum genetic distance of 4.9% from other nominal Rhombophryne. We also describe recordings of an advertisement call, emitted from a burrow by the holotype. Rhombophryne nilevina sp. n. is not known to be found syntopically with other Rhombophryne, nor to be present elsewhere in Ranomafana National Park, but it probably does co-occur with a few ecologically similar Plethodontohyla species. Although the type locality is within a protected area, we suggest an IUCN listing of Data Deficient for R. nilevina sp. n., as its area of occupancy is largely undetermined within the park.

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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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            Embedding 3D models of biological specimens in PDF publications.

            By providing two examples, the option for embedding 3D models in electronic versions of life science publications is presented. These examples, presumably representing the first such models published, are developmental stages of an evertebrate (Patella caerulea, Mollusca) and a vertebrate species (Psetta maxima, Teleostei) obtained from histological section series reconstruction processed with the software package Amira. These surface rendering models are particularly suitable for a PDF file because they can easily be transformed to a file format required and components may be conveniently combined and hierarchically arranged. All methodological steps starting from specimen preparation until embedding of resulting models in PDF files with emphasis on conversion of Amira data to the appropriate 3D file format are explained. Usability of 3D models in PDF documents is exemplified and advantages over 2D illustrations are discussed, including better explanation capabilities for spatial arrangements, higher information contents, and limiting options for disguising results by authors. Possibilities for additional applications reaching far beyond the examples presented are suggested. Problems such as long-term compatibility of file format and hardware plus software, editing and embedding of files, file size and differences in information contents between printed and electronic version will likely be overcome by technical development and increasing tendency toward electronic at the cost of printed publications. Since 3D visualization plays an increasing role in manifold disciplines of science and appropriate tools for the popular PDF format are readily available, we propose routine application of this way of illustration in electronic life science papers.
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              The ilio-sacral articulation in frogs: form and function

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Zoosystematics and Evolution
                ZSE
                Pensoft Publishers
                1860-0743
                1435-1935
                February 24 2017
                February 24 2017
                : 93
                : 1
                : 143-155
                Article
                10.3897/zse.93.10188
                © 2017

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