Thursday, December 16, 2021

[Herpetology • 2021] Schismaderma branchi • A New Species of Red Toad, Schismaderma Smith, 1849 (Anura: Bufonidae), from central Angola

Schismaderma branchi
 Baptista, Pinto, Keates, Edwards, Rödel & Conradie, 2021

A new species of red toad, from the previously monotypic genus Schismaderma, is described. The new species was found in Malanje Province, and seems endemic to central Angola, occurring approximately 500 km west of the closest known records of Schismaderma carens. Unusual adult colouration and geographical distance to remaining S. carens populations suggested specific differentiation. In an integrative approach, we compared the red toads from central Angola with S. carens from across the entire range, including molecular data, morphology of adults and tadpoles, and male advertisement calls. Phylogenetic analysis based on mitochondrial (12S, 16S, COI) and nuclear (CXCR4, RAG1) markers, retrieved the Angolan clade as monophyletic, and revealed intra-specific substructuring among the remaining Schismaderma. Genetic distances supported specific differentiation of the central Angolan material compared with other S. carens. Adults from the new Angolan species have bolder ventral patterning and smaller body size than S. carens. No obvious differences were detected between the tadpoles and the advertisement calls of the two Schismaderma species. This discovery adds to the knowledge of the herpetofauna of the Angolan Miombo woodlands, a poorly understood ecoregion, and likely more biodiverse than previously assumed. The result of past river basin dynamics in central Angola likely led to the evolution of this new species of Schismaderma.

Keywords: Amphibia, allopatric speciation, cryptic diversity, endemism, integrative taxonomy, Angolan Miombo woodlands.


Ninda L. Baptista, Pedro Vaz Pinto, Chad Keates, Shelley Edwards, Mark-Oliver Rödel and Werner Conradie. 2021. A New Species of Red Toad, Schismaderma Smith, 1849 (Anura: Bufonidae), from central Angola. Zootaxa. 5081(3); 301-332. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.5081.3.1