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PeerJ. 2018 Jul 9;6:e4941. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4941. eCollection 2018.

A Pan-Amazonian species delimitation: high species diversity within the genus Amazophrynella (Anura: Bufonidae).

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Laboratory of Evolution and Animal Genetics, Department of Genetics, ICB, Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Brazil.
Laboratoire Ecologie, Evolution et Interactions des Systèmes Amazoniens, Centre de recherche de Montabo, Cayenne, French Guiana.
Museo de Zoología, Escuela de Biología, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador.
Laboratório de Zoologia, Faculdade de Ciências Biológicas, Campus Universitário de Altamira, Universidade Federal do Pará, Altamira, Para, Brazil.
Departamento de Vertebrados, Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Coleccion de anfibios y reptiles, Museo de la Biodiversidad, Cusco, Peru.
Museo de Historia Natural, Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad, Cusco, Peru.
CEQUA, Coordenação de Biodiversidade, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.
Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Regional do Cariri, Crato, Ceara, Brazil.
Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Belem, Para, Brazil.
Departamento de Biologia, ICB, Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.


Amphibians are probably the most vulnerable group to climate change and climate-change associate diseases. This ongoing biodiversity crisis makes it thus imperative to improve the taxonomy of anurans in biodiverse but understudied areas such as Amazonia. In this study, we applied robust integrative taxonomic methods combining genetic (mitochondrial 16S, 12S and COI genes), morphological and environmental data to delimit species of the genus Amazophrynella (Anura: Bufonidae) sampled from throughout their pan-Amazonian distribution. Our study confirms the hypothesis that the species diversity of the genus is grossly underestimated. Our analyses suggest the existence of eighteen linages of which seven are nominal species, three Deep Conspecific Lineages, one Unconfirmed Candidate Species, three Uncategorized Lineages, and four Confirmed Candidate Species and described herein. We also propose a phylogenetic hypothesis for the genus and discuss its implications for historical biogeography of this Amazonian group.


Amazon; Amphibians; Cryptic diversity; Integrative taxonomy; Species delimitation

Conflict of interest statement

Tomas Hrbek is an Academic Editor for PeerJ. All other authors declare that there are no competing interests.

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