Taxonomy, diversity, and biogeography of the herpetofauna of Eastern Panama

  • Panama, a small country between the major continents of North and South America, is one of the lesser studied regions in Central America, but is recognized for its mega-biodiversity. This is particularly true for Eastern Panama, which I am considering as the easternmost portion of the country, covering the area from the Chepo, which is also the beginning of the San Blas mountain range, towards east, up to the Darien Mountain range on the border with its neighboring country Colombia. In the lowland region I visited two physiographic areas: the Isthmian-Atlantic Moist Forests (IAMF) and the Chocó-Darién Moist Forests (CDMF). In the IAMF I worked at the localities of Río Mono, Wacuco, La Moneda, Arretí, Metetí, Filo del Tallo, and Laguna de Matusagaratí. In the CDMF I visited the localities of Cruce de Mono, Cana, Garachiné, Sambú, and Pavarandó. And I have worked in the highlands of Darién (DM), Majé (MM), Jingurudó-Sapo (JSM), Pirre (PM) and San Blas (SSM) in the highlands. Before my research, 138 reptile and 104 amphibian species had been reported for EP. From 2008 to 2013, I collected specimens to evaluate the diversity of amphibians and reptiles for this region. I applied an integrative approach to evaluate the taxonomy, diversity, biogeography, and conservation of the herpetofauna of EP. I included analyses of morphometrics, molecular genetics (e.g. barcoding), biogeography, bioacoustics (in anurans), hemipenial morphology (in squamates), and ecology. This is the first regional evaluation of the biodiversity in EP applying integrative taxonomy. Aside from morphological and bioacoustic data, my work is based on the barcoding of 608 specimens, from which I obtained 16S mtDNA for 486 specimens and COI mtDNA for 455. In total I have got sequences for 69.2 %of the amphibian and 48.6 % of the reptile species present in EP. For the morphological analyses, I compared 1597 specimens, including my samples complemented by specimens obtained from various museums. The bioacoustic data were obtained from the analysis of 1504 calls of 27 species of frogs. Based on specimens collected in EP and according to external morphology, I could identify 65 species of amphibians and 72 reptiles, but after applying an integrative approach these numbers increased to 79 amphibians and 88 reptiles described species within my collected specimens. Additionally, I uncovered 33 taxonomic units that could not be assigned to any described species until now, 22 of them represent confirmed candidate species (CCS), and 11 were classified as Unconfirmed candidate species (UCS). Thus, increasing the known species of amphibian by 19.4 % and of reptiles by 4.8 %. Currently, there are 145 reptiles and 129 amphibians known to occur in EP. Based on my results, I have initiated several projects to solve taxonomic uncertanties, including the species of the genera Bolitoglossa, Diasporus, Dactyloa, Ecnomiohyla, Lepidoblepharis, and the taxonomic status of the species Pristimantis caryophyllaceus and Norops tropidogaster. Out of the 22 CCS I found, I described nine species new to science with type locality in EP, six amphibians and four reptiles. Among these is a new species of Bolitoglossa described from Cerro Chucantí, Cordillera de Majé, Provincia de Darién, Panama. Additionally, I include comments on the other species of congeneric salamanders known to occur in the region. Among the tink frogs, only Diasporus quidditus was known to occur in EP. During my field work I collected six additional species of this genus, four of which are new to science, plus two species new for this region. I also described one new species of Dactyloa (giant anole lizards) related to the former D. chocorum. I synonymized D. chocorum with D. purpurescens, and included information about the other species of the group from EP. The new species of Dactyloa resembles D. ibanezi, D. limon, and D. purpurescens in external morphology but differs from these species in dewlap coloration, dorsal color pattern, morphometrics, and scalation. I discovered one species of the genus Ecnomiohyla, which exhibits significant genetic distances (16S mtDNA gene) and morphological differences to all known Ecnomiohyla species. Along with the description of the new Ecnomiohyla species, I provide detailed comparisons of morphological and molecular characters of almost all members of the genus in Lower Central America, as well as an identification key for the entire genus. Two new species of the genus Lepidoblepharis from EP were described. In the corresponding work, I include an analysis of Lepidoblepharis spp. in the region, including phylogeography and taxonomy. One of the new species, Lepidoblepharis emberawoundule, can be differentiated from most species in the genus by its small size and its low number of lamellae under the fourth toe and finger. The other species described from EP, Lepidoblepharis rufigularis, can be differentiated from all species in the genus by its small size and the reddish throat in males.

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Author:Abel Antonio Batista RodríguezGND
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Gunther KöhlerORCiDGND, Jörg OehlmannORCiDGND
Advisor:Gunther Köhler
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2016/09/07
Year of first Publication:2016
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2016/08/30
Release Date:2016/09/07
Page Number:308
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlung Biologie / Biologische Hochschulschriften (Goethe-Universität)
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht