Two new frog species (Microhylidae: Cophixalus) from the Australian Wet Tropics region, and redescription of Cophixalus ornatus

Hoskin, Conrad J. (2012) Two new frog species (Microhylidae: Cophixalus) from the Australian Wet Tropics region, and redescription of Cophixalus ornatus. Zootaxa, 3271. pp. 1-16.

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In Australia the frog family Microhylidae is largely restricted to tropical rainforests of the Wet Tropics region in the north-east of the country, but in that region the family is diverse. Only one species, Cophixalus ornatus, is widespread in the Wet Tropics but there has been suspicion that it may comprise multiple species. A recent study (Hoskin et al. 2011) assessed genetic and phenotypic variation across the range of C. ornatus, finding three deeply divergent genetic lineages that differ in mating call and some aspects of morphology. Two of these lineages abutt in the central Wet Tropics and in that area hybridization was found to be very limited despite sympatry at high densities. Based on multiple lines of data, Hoskin et al. (2011) concluded that the three genetic lineages represent biological species. The taxonomy of these three lineages is resolved here. I describe two new species, Cophixalus australis sp. nov. and Cophixalus hinchinbrookensis sp. nov., and redescribe C. ornatus. The three species are not distinguishable based on any single morphological or call trait and are best identified by genetics or locality. The distributions of the three species are largely allopatric. Cophixalus ornatus is found in rainforest in the northern Wet Tropics, C. australis sp. nov. occurs in rainforest and adjacent wet sclerophyll forests in the central and southern Wet Tropics, and C. hinchinbrookensis sp. nov. inhabits rainforest and montane heath on Hinchinbrook Island. All three species are common. Cophixalus australis sp. nov. contains three genetic subgroups that are considered a single species based on phenotypic similarity and high levels of hybridization at contact zones. The description of Cophixalus australis sp. nov. and Cophixalus hinchinbrookensis sp. nov. brings the number of Australian Cophixalus species to 18, 15 of which are restricted to the Wet Tropics region.

Item ID: 28965
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1175-5334
Keywords: Cophixalus australis, Cophixalus hinchinbrookensis, rainforest, heath, Australia
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Open Access at publisher's website

Funders: Australian Biological Resources Study , Australian Research Council (ARC), National Science Foundation, James Cook University, University of Queensland, Australian National University
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2013 06:39
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060301 Animal Systematics and Taxonomy @ 80%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography @ 10%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 10%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960803 Documentation of Undescribed Flora and Fauna @ 80%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 20%
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