Sorting out Moss Frogs: mtDNA Data on Taxonomic Diversity and Phylogenetic Relationships of the Indochinese Species of the Genus Theloderma (Anura, Rhacophoridae)

Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Jr., Nikolai L. Orlov, Anna V. Moiseeva, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Thiti Ruangsuwan, Anna B. Vassilieva, Eduard A. Galoyan, Tao Thien Nguyen, Svetlana S. Gogoleva


We discuss phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic diversity of the rhacophorid frogs of the genus Theloderma in sight of the novel phylogenetic data obtained from the Bayesian analysis of the up to 1987 bp length fragment of mtDNA (12S rRNA, tRNAval, and 16S rRNA) from the 90 specimens of 21 nominal species of Theloderma and 3 species of Nyctixalus. Our data suggest monophyly of the tribe Nyctixalini, including Th. moloch, and indicate deep divergence between the three major clades: Th. horridum + Th. stellatum group, Nyctixalus and the rest of the Theloderma species (Theloderma sensu stricto). We establish new subgenus Stelladerma subgen. nov. for Th. horridum + Th. stellatum group and discuss provisional taxonomy of Nyctixalini. We also indicate that the taxonomic status of the certain Indochinese Theloderma requires reassessment. In particular, our data suggest deep divergence between Malayan and Indochinese taxa of Th. asperum group and indicate non-monophyly of Th. asperum sensu lato; we resurrect the name Th. albopunctatum (Liu et Hu, 1962) for the Indochinese species. We provide molecular evidence for synonimization of Th. chuyangsinense Orlov et al., 2012 with Th. palliatum Rowley et al., 2011; as well as morphological and genetic evidence for syninomization of Th. bambusicola Orlov et al., 2012 with Th. laeve (Smith, 1924). We indicate a deep morphological and genetic differentiation within the Th. truongsonense (Orlov et Ho, 2005) complex. Finally, we report on the deep divergence within Th. stellatum Taylor, 1962 from eastern Thailand, southern Cambodia, and Vietnam, and describe a new species, Theloderma vietnamense sp. nov., based on morphological, acoustic and genetic lines of evidence.


mitochondrial DNA; molecular phylogeny; sequence divergence; morphology; morphometrics; advertisement call; cryptic species; Vietnam

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