Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tooth-frogs – Life in the fast spray zone: Four new endemic species in West African Forests

28.07.2015

Within the only vertebrate family endemic to West Africa, the tooth-frogs, only a single species was known. Based on morphological and molecular results four new species have now been described.

Due to their habitat needs, currents in primary rain forests, and small distribution ranges, all tooth-frog species are at risk of extinction through ongoing habitat loss and require immediate conservation efforts. The paper is available in the open-access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution published by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.


Tooth-frog species Odontobatrachus fouta – named after the Fouta Djallon highland region in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa, a region with most probably more undescribed tooth-frog species.

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN)

The single West African tooth-frog species Odontobatrachus natator has only last year been recognized as representing a unique vertebrate family endemic to the forests of Upper Guinea. Recently, with molecular techniques, Dr. Michael Barej from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and his colleagues uncovered the possible existence of a complex of cryptic species.

In the featured work, this team assessed the morphological variation of all known populations of West African tooth-frogs and verified the presence of four species new to science. These insights are crucial for the conservation of the Upper Guinean biodiversity hotspot and highlight its vulnerability. All new species in this unique, endemic family are highly endangered.

A unique morphology with e.g. presence of their name-bearing tusk-like appendages in the lower and curved teeth in the upper mandible in adults or a sucker-like mouth in tadpoles, distinguishes West African tooth-frogs from all remaining frog families. However, due to a strong overall morphological similarity between all known populations, only a single species, O. natator, has been recognized for more than a century throughout the forests of West Africa.

Recently new analyses revealed an unexpected high genetic variation. This and complementary biogeographical patterns made the presence of additional species in this presumed monospecific (comprising only one species) frog family likely. The description of four new species by Dr. Barej’s team is based on combinative analyses of genetics and morphological characters.

The increase of species in this unique lineage and their distribution pattern further encourages other researchers to search for cryptic and undescribed species in the forests of the Upper Guinean biodiversity hotspot. Barej and colleagues also claim that “recognition and description of species is just a first step which provides the baseline for subsequent studies to gather further data on the ecology or behaviour – or simply: naming does not mean knowing a species”.

The presented results call for the IUCN Red List category “Endangered” for all of the newly described species. These frogs occur along strong currents, cascades and waterfalls in the few remaining patches of primary forests in West Africa.

The researchers fear that all “West African torrent-frog species are at risk of becoming extinct because of habitat loss in the Upper Guinean biodiversity hotspot, whose “true” biodiversity is still far from being completely known”. The study is published in the open-access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution published by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

Original publication:
Michael F. Barej, Andreas Schmitz, Johannes Penner, Joseph Doumbia, Laura Sandberger-Loua, Mareike Hirschfeld, Christian Brede, Mike Emmrich, N’Goran Germain Kouamé, Annika Hillers,7, Nono L. Gonwouo, Joachim Nopper, Patrick Joël Adeba, Mohamed A. Bangoura, Ceri Gage, Gail Anderson, Mark-Oliver Rödel (2015): Life in the spray zone – overlooked diversity in West African torrent-frogs (Anura, Odontobatrachidae, Odontobatrachus). Zoosyst. Evol. 91 (2): 115–149. DOI 10.3897/zse.91.5127

Weitere Informationen:

http://zse.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=5127

Dr. Andreas Kunkel | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>