Friday, May 16, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] DNA Barcoding reveals Unprecedented Diversity in Dancing Frogs of India (Micrixalidae, Micrixalus): A Taxonomic Revision with Description of 14 New Species

In this study, we investigate species level diversity in the monotypic frog family Micrixalidae, which is endemic to the Western Ghats of Peninsular India. Attempting the first nearcomplete taxon sampling of Indian dancing frogs from the entire Western Ghats, we use 138 tissue samples collected from 70 localities over the last 12 years for DNA barcoding. Our results of multiple mitochondrial gene (16S and COI) barcoding reveal unexpectedly high species level diversity in the genus Micrixalus. Based on molecular and morphological evidence, we herein describe 14 new species, leading to a more than two-fold increase in the number of known species in this ancient lineage. Additionally, certain taxonomic uncertainties about the status of previously known taxa in this genus are resolved. Micrixalus narainensis and M. swamianus are considered as junior subjective synonyms of M. kottigeharensis, whereas M. herrei is resurrected from synonymy of M. fuscus and confirmed as a valid species. Taxonomic accounts of three species—M. elegans, M. silvaticus and M. thampi—are provided for the first time after their original descriptions. For nomenclatural stability, M. fuscus, M. saxicola and M. silvaticus are lectotypified, and M. elegans and M. kottigeharensis are neotypified. Detailed descriptions, morphological and genetic comparisons, illustrations, data on distribution, and natural history are provided for all species. We also provide the first osteological description of M. fuscus, the type species of the genus Micrixalus, and we report foot-flagging behavior in a total eight species, including two for which it has been studied previously. Overall, our results highlight the underestimation of true diversity in several amphibian groups of the Western Ghats, suggesting that spatial patterns of amphibian richness and endemism in this region need to be further re-examined.

Keywords: Micrixalus; Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot; endemic family; foot-flagging; osteology; ancient lineage

Figure 5. Schematic illustration of breeding behaviour in Micrixalus:
A. male calling and foot tapping, B. male foot flagging with simultaneous calling, C. male kicking another intruding male, D. female approaching a calling male, E. male and female in amplexus, moving inside the water, F. amplected pair with their heads emerging out of water, and female digging a cavity on the stream bed with the help of hindlimbs, G. female releasing eggs inside the cavity, H. male detaching from the female, I. female covering the eggs with sand and gravel using hindlimbs.
In the illustration, male is shown in light grey, and female in dark grey.



SD Biju, Sonali Garg, KV Gururaja, Yogesh Shouche, Sandeep A Walujkar. 2014. DNA Barcoding reveals Unprecedented Diversity in Dancing Frogs of India (Micrixalidae, Micrixalus): A Taxonomic Revision with Description of 14 New Species.  Ceylon Journal of Science (Bio. Sci.). 43(1); 

14 NEW SPECIES of Dancing Frogs: Today our article ‘DNA barcoding reveals unprecedented diversity in Dancing Frogs of India (Micrixalidae, Micrixalus): a taxonomic revision with description of 14 new species’ got published. This extensive work was done over the period of last 12 years and by the year 2013 we had some exciting results. Finally today our work is published. Authors: SD Biju, Sonali Garg, KV Gururaja, Yogesh Shouche, Sandeep Walujkar.

Digging for dancing FROGS: Researchers uncover 14 new species via @MailOnline