Sunday, July 5, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Three New Species of Spiny Throated Reed Frogs (Anura: Hyperoliidae: Hyperolius) from Evergreen Forests of Tanzania; Hyperolius burgessi, H. davenporti & H. ukwiva

Figure 6 Colour in life of: (top row) Hyperolius burgessi from Nguru (left male, right female);
(second row) H. davenporti from Livingstone Mts. (left male, right female);
(third row left) H. ukwiva; (third row, right) H. spingularis from Malawi;
 (fourth row, left) H. minutissimus from Udzungwa Mts.; (fourth row, left) and H. tanneri from West Usambara.


The East African spiny-throated reed frog complex (Hyperolius spinigularis, H. tanneri, and H. minutissimus) is comprised of morphologically similar species with highly fragmented populations across the Eastern Afromontane Region. Recent genetic evidence has supported the distinctiveness of populations suggesting a number of cryptic species. We analyse newly collected morphological data and evaluate the taxonomic distinctiveness of populations.

We find three new distinct species on the basis of morphological and molecular evidence. The primary morphological traits distinguishing species within the Hyperolius spinigularis complex include the proportions and degree of spinosity of the gular flap in males and snout-urostyle length in females. Other features allow the three species to be distinguished from each other (genetics). We refine the understanding of H. minutissimus which can be found in both forest and grassland habitats of the Udzungwa Mountains, and provide more details on the call of this species. Further details on ecology are noted for all species where known.

Three new species are described and we narrow the definition and distribution of Hyperolius spinigularis and H. minutissimus in East Africa. The spiny-throated reed frogs have highly restricted distributions across the fragmented mountains of the Eastern Afromontane region. Given the newly defined and substantially narrower distributions of these spiny-throated reed frog species, conservation concerns are outlined.

Simon P Loader, Lucinda Lawson, Daniel M Portik and Michele Menegon. 2015. Three New Species of Spiny Throated Reed Frogs (Anura: Hyperoliidae) from Evergreen Forests of Tanzania. BMC Research Notes. 04/2015; 8. DOI: 10.1186/s13104-015-1050-y