Phylogenetic relationships of the Rhacophorus everetti-group and implications for the evolution of reproductive modes in Philautus (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae)

Please be informed of this newly published journal article by RMBR honorary research affiliate Dr Indraneil Das in Zoologica Scripta.

Dr Indraneil Das

Hertwig, Stefan T., I. Das, M. Schweizer, R. Brown, A. Haas (2011) Phylogenetic relationships of the Rhacophorus everetti-group and implications for the evolution of reproductive modes in Philautus (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae). Zoologica Scripta, DOI: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.2011.00499.x.

Its abstract as follows:

This study presents the first phylogenetic analysis of the enigmatic Rhacophorus everetti species group and the first description of its unique tadpole. A total sample of 95 12S and 16S mitochondrial rDNA sequences were compiled including new sequence data from 28 rhacophorid species. Based on 1332 and 1407bp, respectively, and on the gap coding method applied, a new hypothesis about the phylogeny of rhacophorid tree frogs from Sundaland was obtained. While Rhacophorus was uncovered as a polyphyletic assemblage, the monophyly of the Bush Frogs of the genus Philatus, including the Rhacophorus everetti-group, is robustly supported. We, therefore, transfer the everetti-group to the genus Philautus. As a second step, we recognise Philautus macroscelis (comb. nov.) from Borneo and P. everetti (comb. nov.) from Palawan as distinct allopatric species. Molecular and morphological evidence clearly indicates that each is a distnict lineage with a unique ancestry and discrete taxa from outside Borneo were recovered; P. everetti and P. macroscelis being the only one example. These by repeated dispersal and vicariance events between the Asian mainland and the Sunda islands. Finally, a single tadpole discovered on Gunung Kinabalu was matched genetically to P. macroscelis. Features of its peculiar external morphology suggest that this larva is endotrophic and possibly nidiculous. A comparable reproductive biology was formerly unknown in rhacophorid tree frogs. The presence of a free-swimming character unambiguously shared by all members of this genus. The implications for the evolution of reproductive modes in Bush Frogs are discussed in a phylogenetic context. 2011 The Authors. Zoologica Scripta 2011 The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

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