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.
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.
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
Dr. Andreas Kunkel | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter
An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
21.02.2017 | University of Utah
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
21.02.2017 | Life Sciences
21.02.2017 | Life Sciences
21.02.2017 | Life Sciences