Tuesday, August 6, 2019

[Herpetology • 2019] Phylogenomic Reconstruction of the Neotropical Poison Frogs (Dendrobatidae) and Their Conservation

in Guillory, Muell, Summers & Brown, 2019
 DOI: 10.3390/d11080126  

The evolutionary history of the Dendrobatidae, the charismatic Neotropical poison frog family, remains in flux, even after a half-century of intensive research. Understanding the evolutionary relationships between dendrobatid genera and the larger-order groups within Dendrobatidae is critical for making accurate assessments of all aspects of their biology and evolution. In this study, we provide the first phylogenomic reconstruction of Dendrobatidae with genome-wide nuclear markers known as ultraconserved elements. We performed sequence capture on 61 samples representing 33 species across 13 of the 16 dendrobatid genera, aiming for a broadly representative taxon sample. We compare topologies generated using maximum likelihood and coalescent methods and estimate divergence times using Bayesian methods. We find most of our dendrobatid tree to be consistent with previously published results based on mitochondrial and low-count nuclear data, with notable exceptions regarding the placement of Hyloxalinae and certain genera within Dendrobatinae. We also characterize how the evolutionary history and geographic distributions of the 285 poison frog species impact their conservation status. We hope that our phylogeny will serve as a backbone for future evolutionary studies and that our characterizations of conservation status inform conservation practices while highlighting taxa in need of further study.

Keywords: UCE; phylogenetics; amphibians; Dendrobatidae; Aromobatidae; frogs; systematics

Figure 1. Time-calibrated genus-level phylogeny of Dendrobatidae produced using BEAST.
Node labels indicate divergence times (mya). This figure is reduced to one tip per genus from the species-level chronogram in Figure S3. Art by W. X. Guillory.

Wilson X. Guillory, Morgan R. Muell, Kyle Summers and Jason L. Brown. 2019. Phylogenomic Reconstruction of the Neotropical Poison Frogs (Dendrobatidae) and Their Conservation. Diversity. 11(8) [the Special Issue Systematics and Conservation of Neotropical Amphibians and Reptiles]. DOI: 10.3390/d11080126