Thursday, January 11, 2024

[Herpetology • 2024] Guibemantis ambakoana, G. rianasoa & G. vakoa • Unexpected Diversity and Co-occurrence of phytotelmic Frogs (Anura: Mantellidae: Guibemantis) around Andasibe, one of the most intensively surveyed Amphibian Hotspots of Madagascar, and Descriptions of Three New Species

Guibemantis vakoa 
G.  ambakoana
Gabriel, Rothe, Köhler, Rakotomanga, Edmonds, Galán, Glaw, Lehtinen, Rakotoarison & Vences, 2024

The area around the Malagasy village of Andasibe, which includes Analamazaotra-Mantadia National Park as well as other protected areas, is characterized by very species-rich and well-studied communities of animals and plants, but new species are still regularly discovered. Three species of phytotelmic frogs of the subgenus Pandanusicola in the genus Guibemantis are known from this area, G. flavobrunneus, G. liber, and G. pulcher. Further Pandanusicola frogs from this area have been provisionally assigned to G. bicalcaratus or G. albolineatus, pending detailed taxonomic review. During preliminary exploration of the ecology of these specialized frogs that live and reproduce in the leaf axils of Pandanus screw pines, we noticed the syntopic presence of two differently colored and differently sized Pandanusicola in Andasibe that could not be unambiguously assigned to any known species. A genetic screening revealed that these correspond to yet two further species in the area. Based on our data, seven species of Pandanusicola occur in Andasibe and nearby forests: (1) G. liber, the only non-phytotelmic species of the subgenus in the region; (2) G. flavobrunneus which is the largest species and characterized by a diagnostic yellowish brown dorsal pattern; (3) G. pulcher, characterized by translucent-green color with purplish brown spotting not observed in any other species in the area; (4) G. methueni, a brownish species usually lacking contrasted dorsolateral bands that differs from the other species in the area by emitting a characteristic trill-like advertisement call series (rather than clicks or chirps) and according to our data is widespread along Madagascar’s east coast; as well as three new species: (5) G. ambakoana sp. nov., a brownish species, typically with contrasted incomplete light dorsolateral bands and with single click-like advertisement calls; (6) G. vakoa sp. nov., a species that is equally brownish but lacks contrasted light dorsolateral bands and that has single click-like advertisement calls of very short duration; and (7) G. rianasoa sp. nov., a species that is smaller sized and has less distinct femoral glands than all the others, and emits a short series of soft chirp-like advertisement calls. All these species are genetically highly distinct, with >5% uncorrected pairwise distances in the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene, and lack of haplotype sharing in two nuclear-encoded genes. The co-occurrence of seven Pandanusicola frogs in a relatively small geographic area is unprecedented in Madagascar and calls for in-depth studies of a possible differentiation in habitat use and life history.

Key words: Amphibia, Anura, Mantellidae, Pandanusicola, Guibemantis rianasoa sp. nov., Guibemantis ambakoana sp.nov., Guibemantis vakoa sp. nov., Pandanus, bioacoustics, phytotelmic breeding, microendemism, sympatry, phylogeny, systematics, taxonomy 

Guibemantis rianasoa sp. nov.

Guibemantis ambakoana sp.nov. 

 Guibemantis vakoa sp. nov.

 Hugh Gabriel, Laila-Denise Rothe, Jörn Köhler, Sandratra Rakotomanga, Devin Edmonds, Pedro Galán, Frank Glaw, Richard M. Lehtinen, Andolalao Rakotoarison and Miguel Vences. 2024. Unexpected Diversity and Co-occurrence of phytotelmic Frogs (Guibemantis) around Andasibe, one of the most intensively surveyed Amphibian Hotspots of Madagascar, and Descriptions of Three New Species.  Zootaxa. 5397(4); 451-485. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.5397.4.1