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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2001 Dec;21(3):398-407.

Out of Asia: mitochondrial DNA evidence for an Oriental origin of tiger frogs, genus Hoplobatrachus.

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1
Abteilung Okologie, Institut für Zoologie, Universität Mainz, Saarstrasse 21, 55099 Mainz, Germany.

Abstract

Most examples of intercontinental dispersal events after the Miocene contact between Africa and Asia involve mammal lineages. Among amphibians, a number of probably related groups are known from both continents, but their phylogenies are so far largely unresolved. To test the hypothesis of Miocene dispersal against a Mesozoic vicariance scenario in the context of Gondwana fragmentation, we analyzed fragments of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene (572 bp) in 40 specimens of 34 species of the anuran family Ranidae. Results corroborated the monophyly of tiger frogs (genus Hoplobatrachus), a genus with representatives in Africa and Asia. The African H. occipitalis was the sister group of the Asian H. crassus, H. chinensis, and H. tigerinus. Hoplobatrachus was placed in a clade also containing the Asian genera Euphlyctis and Nannophrys. Combined analysis of sequences of 16S and 12S rRNA genes (total 903 bp) in a reduced set of taxa corroborated the monophyly of the lineage containing these three genera and identified the Asian genus Fejervarya as its possible sister group. The fact that the African H. occipitalis is nested within an otherwise exclusively Asian clade indicates its probable Oriental origin. Rough molecular clock estimates did not contradict the assumption that the dispersal event took place in the Miocene. Our data further identified a similar molecular divergence between closely related Asian and African species of Rana (belonging to the section Hylarana), indicating that Neogene intercontinental dispersal also may have taken place in this group and possibly in rhacophorid treefrogs.

PMID:
11741382
DOI:
10.1006/mpev.2001.1034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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