Diversification of African tree frogs (genus Leptopelis) in the highlands of Ethiopia

Jacobo Reyes-Velasco, Joseph D. Manthey, Xenia Freilich, Stephane Boissinot

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The frog genus Leptopelis is composed of ~50 species that occur across sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of these frogs are typically arboreal; however, a few species have evolved a fossorial lifestyle. Most species inhabit lowland forests, but a few species have adapted to high elevations. Five species of Leptopelis occupy the Ethiopian highlands and provide a good opportunity to study the evolutionary transition from an arboreal to a fossorial lifestyle, as well as the diversification in this biodiversity hot spot. We sequenced 14 nuclear and three mitochondrial genes, and generated thousands of SNPs from ddRAD sequencing to study the evolutionary relationships of Ethiopian Leptopelis. The five species of highland Leptopelis form a monophyletic group, which diversified during the late Miocene and Pliocene. We found strong population structure in the fossorial species L. gramineus, with levels of genetic differentiation between populations similar to those found between arboreal species. This could indicate that L. gramineus is a complex of cryptic species. We propose that after the original colonization of the Ethiopian highlands by the ancestor of the L. gramineus group, episodes of vicariance fragmented the ancestral populations of this group. We also report the re-evolution of arboreality in L. susanae, which evolved from a fossorial ancestor, a rare ecological switch in frogs that had previously been reported only once.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2256-2270
    Number of pages15
    JournalMolecular Ecology
    Volume27
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 1 2018

    Fingerprint

    Ethiopia
    Hylidae
    frog
    Anura
    frogs
    highlands
    lifestyle
    Life Style
    ancestry
    Mitochondrial Genes
    Africa South of the Sahara
    Biodiversity
    lowland forests
    Sub-Saharan Africa
    Population
    Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
    population structure
    biodiversity
    genetic variation
    arboreal species

    Keywords

    • amphibians
    • fossoriality
    • phylogeography
    • RAD sequencing

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Genetics

    Cite this

    Reyes-Velasco, J., Manthey, J. D., Freilich, X., & Boissinot, S. (2018). Diversification of African tree frogs (genus Leptopelis) in the highlands of Ethiopia. Molecular Ecology, 27(9), 2256-2270. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14573

    Diversification of African tree frogs (genus Leptopelis) in the highlands of Ethiopia. / Reyes-Velasco, Jacobo; Manthey, Joseph D.; Freilich, Xenia; Boissinot, Stephane.

    In: Molecular Ecology, Vol. 27, No. 9, 01.05.2018, p. 2256-2270.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Reyes-Velasco, J, Manthey, JD, Freilich, X & Boissinot, S 2018, 'Diversification of African tree frogs (genus Leptopelis) in the highlands of Ethiopia', Molecular Ecology, vol. 27, no. 9, pp. 2256-2270. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14573
    Reyes-Velasco, Jacobo ; Manthey, Joseph D. ; Freilich, Xenia ; Boissinot, Stephane. / Diversification of African tree frogs (genus Leptopelis) in the highlands of Ethiopia. In: Molecular Ecology. 2018 ; Vol. 27, No. 9. pp. 2256-2270.
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