A new frog family (Anura: Terrarana) from South America and an expanded direct-developing clade revealed by molecular phylogeny

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsHeinicke MP, Duellman WE, Trueb L, Means DB, MacCulloch RD, Hedges SB
Keywordsamphibia ceuthomantidae guyana hemiphractidae nobleobatrachia orthobatrachia terrarana caribbean biogeography marsupial frogs eleutherodactylus evolution leptodactylidae amphibia mitochondrial behavior history nuclear
AbstractThree frogs of a new species found in cloud forests on two nearby mountains in Guyana were included in a molecular phylogeny of 17 nuclear and mitochondrial genes (10,739 aligned sites) that revealed that their closest relative is Terrarana (Brachycephalidae, Craugastoridae, Eleutherodactylidae, and Strabomantidae) and their next-closest relative is Hemiphractidae (marsupial frogs). We place these frogs in a new family, genus, and species which is strongly supported as the basal clade within Terrarana: Ceuthomantidae n. fam., Ceuthomantis smaragdinus n. gen, n. sp. Morphological evidence supports the placement of two other species from the Guiana Highlands, Pristimantis aracamuni (Barrio-Amoros & Molina) and P. cavernibardus (Myers & Donnelly), in the new family and genus. This close phylogenetic relationship of terraranans and marsupial frogs, nearly all of which have direct development, supports an hypothesis that direct development evolved early in the evolution of this huge clade (similar to 1000 species), for which we propose the unranked taxonomic epithet Orthobatrachia.