Research Article: The poverty of adult morphology: Bioacoustics, genetics, and internal tadpole morphology reveal a new species of glassfrog (Anura: Centrolenidae: Ikakogi) from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia

Date Published: May 8, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Marco Rada, Pedro Henrique Dos Santos Dias, José Luis Pérez-Gonzalez, Marvin Anganoy-Criollo, Luis Alberto Rueda-Solano, María Alejandra Pinto-E, Lilia Mejía Quintero, Fernando Vargas-Salinas, Taran Grant, Stefan Lötters.


Ikakogi is a behaviorally and morphologically intriguing genus of glassfrog. Using tadpole morphology, vocalizations, and DNA, a new species is described from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (SNSM), an isolated mountain range in northern Colombia. The new taxon is the second known species of the genus Ikakogi and is morphologically identical to I. tayrona (except for some larval characters) but differs by its genetic distance (14.8% in mitochondrial encoded cytochrome b MT-CYB; ca. 371 bp) and by the dominant frequency of its advertisement call (2928–3273 Hz in contrast to 2650–2870 Hz in I. tayrona). They also differ in the number of lateral buccal floor papillae, and the position of the buccal roof arena papillae. Additionally, the new species is differentiated from all other species of Centrolenidae by the following traits: tympanum visible, vomerine teeth absent, humeral spines present in adult males, bones in life white with pale green in epiphyses, minute punctuations present on green skin dorsum, and flanks with lateral row of small, enameled dots that extend from below eye to just posterior to arm insertion. We describe the external and internal larval morphology of the new species and we redescribe the larval morphology of Ikakogi tayrona on the basis of field collected specimens representing several stages of development from early to late metamorphosis. We discuss the relevance of larval morphology for the taxonomy and systematics of Ikakogi and other centrolenid genera. Finally, we document intraspecific larval variation in meristic characters and ontogenetic changes in eye size, coloration, and labial tooth-rows formulas, and compare tadpoles of related species. Ikakogi tayrona has been proposed as the sister taxon of all other Centrolenidae; our observations and new species description offers insights about the ancestral character-states of adults, egg clutches, and larval features in this lineage of frogs.

Partial Text

Glassfrogs, family Centrolenidae [1], are a charismatic group comprising 158 species restricted to the Neotropics from southern Mexico to northern Argentina [2]. They are renowned for their partially or totally transparent ventral skin, reproductive behavior closely associated with streams, and by the elaborated parental care performed by adult males [3–5] or females [6].

Anurans of the family Centrolenidae are a diverse clade of arboreal frogs distributed across the Neotropical region [24]. As currently known and including the species here in described, Centrolenidae contains 158 species, 50% of which occur in Colombia [24]. Recently, several species of centrolenids have been described or documented to occur in that country, and more are expected to be discovered as research continues in biologically unexplored and topographically complex regions (e.g. [12, 15, 16]).




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