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New microhylid frog genus from Peninsular India with Southeast Asian affinity suggests multiple Cenozoic biotic exchanges between India and Eurasia

By Sonali Garg and S. D. Biju


Abstract Anurans in Peninsular India exhibit close biogeographical links with Gondwana as well as Laurasia, often explainable by the geological history of the Indian subcontinent; its breakup from Gondwanan landmasses followed by long isolation that resulted in diversification of endemic lineages, and subsequent land connections with Asia that enabled dispersal of widespread groups. Although widely distributed, the frog subfamily Microhylinae mostly comprises of geographically restricted genera found either in Southeast and East Asia or Peninsular India and Sri Lanka. Here we report a previously unknown microhylid from the Western Ghats in Peninsular India with closest relatives found over 2,000‚ÄČkm away in Southeast Asia. Based on integrated evidence from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, adult and tadpole morphology, hand musculature, male advertisement call, and geographical distance, we recognize this enigmatic frog as a distinct new species and genus endemic to the Western Ghats. The discovery of Mysticellus franki gen. et sp. nov. and its close evolutionary relationship with the Southeast Asian genus Micryletta also provide insights on the biogeography of Microhylinae. Genus-level divergences within the subfamily suggest multiple Cenozoic biotic exchange events between India and Eurasia, particularly through postulated Eocene land bridges via Southeast Asia prior to accretion of the two landmasses

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Year: 2019
DOI identifier: 10.1038/s41598-018-38133-x
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