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      Distribution modeling applied to deficient data species assessment: A case study with Pithecopus nordestinus (Anura, Phyllomedusidae)

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      Neotropical Biology and Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          The arboreal frog Pithecopus nordestinus is geographically present in almost all Brazilian Northeast territory and Minas Gerais State. It is currently classified as deficient data (DD) by IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, requiring further knowledge about its geographic distribution and population status. In this context, the species distribution modeling can be applied, since its basis uses species occurrence records and environmental variables related to bioclimatic and landscape features. This kind of method predicts the species suitability of certain organism in the geographic space. We obtained 159 P. nordestinus occurrence records, covering all the previously known distribution of the species. These records were collected from direct field sampling, scientific literature, museum collections, and available online databases. We used four species distribution modeling algorithms to obtain the potential range (extent of occurrence) and available habitat for this frog through habitat area analysis proposed by IUCN. The generated models can be considered as excellent, with mean AUC value of 0.981. The environmental variables related to temperature and radiation were the most important to the construction of this distribution model. Our results indicate that the forested areas of the Atlantic Forest domain and forest patches inside the Caatinga biome present the highest suitability values for the species occurrence and the major part of available habitats, a fact possibly related to the known arboreal habit of this amphibian. We thus provide a new distribution area for P. nordestinus more broadly than previously known and a new polygon for conservation purposes based on extent of occurrence, and an increase of occupancy based on habitat area analysis. The identification of additional areas where the P. nordestinus occurrence was not yet well known, new habitats for possible dispersal or recolonization; and the selection of conservation hotspots applied to this species are direct applications from our study. In addition, the methodological procedures used here may serve as a baseline tool for new investigations with focus on still deficient data species and its ecological and conservation planning requirements.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Neotropical Biology and Conservation
                NBC
                Pensoft Publishers
                2236-3777
                June 10 2020
                June 10 2020
                : 15
                : 2
                : 165-175
                Article
                10.3897/neotropical.15.e47426
                © 2020

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