Monday, June 27, 2011

[Herpetology • 2009] Ghatophryne • new endemic Genus of Toad (formerly India's "Ansonia") from the Western Ghats of India

Ghatophryne ornata specimen SDB 6361, adult male, SVL 29.2 mm, collected from Kurichiyarmala, 11°35'N, 75°58'E, Wayanad, Kerala.
Biju et al. BMC Research Notes 2009 2:241 doi:10.1186/1756-0500-2-241

Ansonia ornata Günther, 1876 "1875"
is transferred to Ghatophryne gen. nov.

Background: Bufonidae are a large family of toads with a subcosmopolitan distribution. Recent molecular phylogenetic analyses have revealed a radiation of toads (Adenominae) with distinct adultand larval ecomorphs on the Southern parts of the Indian subcontinent. The Indian torrential species "Ansonia" ornata has a basal position in this clade and does not group with South-East Asian Ansonia. Additionally, the nested position of "Bufo" koynayensis and an undescribed sister species,and their distinct ecologies including a non-typical egg-laying strategy within bufonids, support the recognition of a second distinct genus. In this paper we describe two new genera and one new species from the Adenominae clade.

Findings: Ansonia ornata Günther, 1876 "1875" is transferred to Ghatophryne gen. nov., a genus of torrentially adapted toads that are endemic to the Western Ghats of India. On the basis of close morphological resemblance and distribution,Ansonia rubigina Pillai and Pattabiraman, 1981 is provisionally transferred to this new genus. The Western Ghats endemic toad Bufo koynayensis Soman, 1963 is transferred to a new genus Xanthophryne gen. nov. Based on molecular and morphological evidence, we additionally describe a new species, Xanthophryne tigerinus sp. nov., from Amboli in the Western Ghats.

Conclusion: The descriptions and subsequent taxonomic changes we propose result in three genera of bufonids recognised as being endemic to the Western Ghats (Ghatophryne gen. nov.,Xanthophryne gen. nov. and Pedostibes), and one to Sri Lanka (Adenomus). The spatial distribution, and arrangement of these lineages at the base of Adenominae diversification, reflectstheir Early Neogene isolation in the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka hotspot.

Biju, Van Bocxlaer, Giri, Loader & Bossuyt, 2009 : Two new endemic genera and a new species of toad (Anura: Bufonidae) from the Western Ghats of India. BMC Research Notes, vol. 2, n. 241, p. 1-10 doi:10.1186/1756-0500-2-241