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Title: A new, morphologically cryptic species of fanged frog, genus Limnonectes (Amphibia: Anura: Dicroglossidae), from Mindoro Island, central Philippines.
We describe a new species of fanged frog (genus Limnonectes) from Mindoro and Semirara Islands, of the Mindoro Pleistocene Aggregate Island Complex, of the central Philippines. Although morphologically indistinguishable from its closest relative, Limnonectes acanthi, of the Palawan faunal region, the two species can be readily diagnosed on the basis of spectral (dominant frequency) and temporal (pulse number and structure) properties of their advertisement calls, and their allopatric insular geographic ranges on permanently separate geological platforms which have not been connected by dry land in the recent geological past—all of which we interpret as congruent and independent lines of evidence supporting our recognition of two independently evolving evolutionary lineages (species). Ribosomal RNA mitochondrial gene sequences were used to provide genetic identification of specimens and estimate phylogenetic relationships; genetic divergences between Palawan and Mindoro faunal regions exceed those estimated among other, uncontroversial, phenotypically distinct Philippine species with equivalent levels of allopatry and biogeographic isolation. The recognition of the new species further emphasizes the degree to which even well-studied Philippine landmasses still harbor unrecognized biodiversity, and suggests that other widespread Philippine fanged frogs should be scrutinized for non-traditional diagnostic character differences (mate-recognition signal divergence, ecological differences, larval characteristics, life-history trait variation), especially when their geographic ranges span the archipelago’s permanent, deep-water trenches, which define its well-characterized more » Pleistocene Aggregate Island Complexes « less
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