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

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>