Thursday, April 4, 2013

[Herpetology • 2013] Taxonomic review of the tree frog genus Rhacophorus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from the Western Ghats, India | Rhacophorus calcadensis, R. lateralis, R. malabaricus and R. pseudomalabaricus, with description of ontogenetic colour changes and reproductive behaviour


Rhacophorus calcadensis Ahl, R. lateralis Boulenger,
R. malabaricus
Jerdon, and R. pseudomalabaricus Vasudevan & Dutta
Remarkable Transformation of Coat Colour from Juvenile to Adult  

Abstract 
A taxonomic revision of the Western Ghats species from the genus Rhacophorus is presented. Based on museum studies and new collections from localities spanning the known range of Western Ghats Rhacophorus, we review the four known species of this genus, their type specimens, current taxonomic status and their geographic distribution on the basis of morphological and molecular data. The holotypes of Rhacophorus calcadensis, R. lateralis and R. malabaricus are redescribed. The previously unidentified holotype of Rhacophorus malabaricus is herein fixed. Descriptions of ontogenetic colour change (OCC) in the Western Ghats Rhacophorus are provided and we conjecture the taxonomic utility of OCC. Additionally we provide observations on nesting behaviour of each species, and report multiple male participation during amplexus, oviposition and foam nest construction in R. lateralis and R. malabaricus

Keywords: Rhacophorus, taxonomy, phylogeny, ontogenetic colour change, polyandry, Western Ghats, biodiversity, conservation


Remarkable Transformation of Coat Colour from Juvenile to Adult in Rhacophorus from the Western Ghats, India

Introduction
The Old World tree frog family Rhacophoridae Hoffman, consisting of 350 species in 16 genera, is one of the most diverse anuran families in the world (Frost 2013, AmphibiaWeb 2013). Within the genus Rhacophorus Kuhl & Van Hasselt (sensu stricto), 85 nominal species are currently recognised making it the most species-rich rhacophorid genus (Frost 2013; AmphibiaWeb 2013). The primary centre of Rhacophorus radiation is in the tropical and temperate zones of East and South East Asia (Inger 1999; Chan & Grismer 2010). In India, 14 Rhacophorus species have been reported though some of the species records from north and northeast India require taxonomic scrutiny (SDB, personal observation). The Western Ghats mountain range is considered a distinct biogeographic unit (Biju & Bossuyt 2003; Bossuyt et al. 2004, 2006; Roelants et al. 2004; Bocxlaer et al. 2009), and contains four species of Rhacophorus viz., Rhacophorus calcadensis Ahl, R. lateralis Boulenger, R. malabaricus Jerdon, and R. pseudomalabaricus Vasudevan & Dutta, that are endemic to this chain of mountains.

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2013. Taxonomic review of the tree frog genus Rhacophorus from the Western Ghats, India (Anura: Rhacophoridae), with description of ontogenetic colour changes and reproductive behaviour. Zootaxa. 3636(2): 257–289. 

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