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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2005 Feb;34(2):299-314. Epub 2004 Dec 8.

Phylogeny of the New World true frogs (Rana).

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Section of Integrative Biology and Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA.

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  • Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Dec;41(3):735.


Phylogenetic relationships among the species of true frogs (Rana) from North, South, and Central America were investigated based on the sequences of approximately 2 kb from the mitochondrial genome, sampled from most of the described species, as well as eight undescribed species. This analysis, combined with previous studies of the phylogeny of New World Rana, served as the basis for a revised classification of the group. The American species of Rana are not monophyletic; the western North American Amerana is more closely related to the R. temporaria group of Eurasia (together, these frogs form the group Laurasiarana). The remaining species from the Americas form the monophyletic group Novirana, which includes: R. sylvatica; Aquarana (the R. catesbeiana group); Ranula (the R. palmipes group, including the mostly upland Levirana species and the mostly lowland Lithobates species); Torrentirana (the R. tarahumarae group, or Zweifelia, plus R. sierramadrensis), Stertirana (the R. montezumae group, or Lacusirana, plus R. pipiens), Nenirana (the R. areolata group), and Scurrilirana (most of the southern and tropical leopard frogs). The mitochondrial sequences supported many of the previous hypotheses of relationships of New World Rana, although there were some differences involving the placement of the species R. pipiens, R. sierramadrensis, and R. sylvatica. Parametric bootstrap analyses indicated significant support for the relationships inferred from the mtDNA sequences, and rejected the previous hypotheses of relationships for these three species.

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