Molecular Phylogeny and Genetic Identification of Populations of Two Species of Feirana Frogs (Amphibia: Anura, Ranidae, Dicroglossinae, Paini) Endemic to China

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Biological Sciences

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Using mitochondrial 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA, and ND2 sequences, we investigated phylogenetic relationships among populations of two frog species endemic to China, both referred to the genus Feirana. A sister-group relationship between the two species was supported moderately in a maximum likelihood analysis and significantly in a Bayesian analysis, but not in a maximum parsimony analysis, of combined data for the three genes. Pending resolution of this incongruence, we provisionally maintain these species in the genus Feirana. Two major clades with a deep divergence are concordant with the species F. quadranus and “F.taihangnica. In the present work, some populations from the Qinling Mountains and all those from the Funiu and the Zhongtiao-southern Taihang Mountains are referred to “F.taihangnica rather than F. quadranus, whereas others are referred to F. quadranus. Consequently, the main body of the Qinling Mountains was identified as a large contact zone between these two species. On the basis of phylogenetic relationships and the distribution pattern of populations, we propose a hypothesis for the divergence of “F.taihangnica: the ancestral species might have inhabited the westernmost Qinling Mountains and dispersed to the main Qinling Mountains, and then to the Zhongtiao-southern Taihang and Funiu Mountains. In contrast, two alternative hypotheses are suggested for F. quadranus: if the two species are confirmed as sister groups, F. quadranus might have dispersed from the westernmost Qinling to the Longmen, Qinling, Daba, and northern Wuling Mountains; alternatively, F. quadranus might have come from the northern Wuling Mountains and then dispersed to the Daba, Qinling, and Longmen mountains.


This article was originally published in Zoological Science. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Zoological Science


© 2009 Zoological Society of Japan