Mitogenomics of historical type specimens clarifies the taxonomy of Ethiopian Ptychadena Boulenger, 1917 (Anura, Ptychadenidae)

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e taxonomy of the Ptychadena neumanni species complex, a radiation of grass frogs inhabiting the Ethi- opian highlands, has puzzled scientists for decades because of the morphological resemblance among its members. Whilst molecular phylogenetic methods allowed the discovery of several species in recent years, assigning pre-existing and new names to clades was challenged by the unavailability of molecular data for century-old type specimens. We used Illumina short reads to sequence the mitochondrial DNA of type specimens in this group, as well as ddRAD-seq analyses to resolve taxonomic uncertainties surrounding the P. neumanni species complex. e phylogenetic reconstruction revealed recurrent confusion between Ptychadena erlangeri (Ahl, 1924) and P. neumanni (Ahl, 1924) in the literature. e phylogeny also estab- lished that P. largeni Perret, 1994 represents a junior synonym of P. erlangeri (Ahl, 1924) and distinguished between two small species, P. nana Perret, 1994, restricted to the Arussi Plateau, and P. robeensis Goutte, Reyes-Velasco, Freilich, Kassie & Boissinot, 2021, which inhabits the Bale Mountains. e phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial DNA from type specimens also corroborate the validity of seven recently de- scribed species within the group. Our study shows how modern molecular tools applied to historical type specimens can help resolve long-standing taxonomic issues in cryptic species complexes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-149
StatePublished - 2021


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