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Rio Pachitea, Foto: Jörn Köhler, HLMD

Neotropical biodiversity

Integrative taxonomy and systematics of Neotropical Anura occurring along the eastern Andean slopes and in the upper Amazon basin

Scientific background

Many nominal species of frogs occurring in the Amazon and in Andean montane rainforests actually represent complexes of multiple species. With the application of so-called integrative taxonomy, species diversity is deciphered and described, and phylogenetic relationships among these species are analysed.

Project description

The frog fauna of South America is highly diverse, but scientifically still inadequately known. Recent studies demonstrated that only a fraction of existing species have been recorded. This research project focusses geographically on montane rainforests of the eastern Andean slopes, isolated mountain ranges, as well as the upper Amazon basin. Own field research and that of Peruvian students and collaborators form the basis for investigation of the systematics of various frog groups using so-called integrative taxonomy. Molecular genetics and bioacoustic analyses are combined with morphological studies in order to distinguish between inter-specific crypsis and intra-specific variability. Currently, our studies focus on frogs of the genera Rhinella (Bufonidae) and Pristimantis (Strabomantidae) as well as those of the family Centrolenidae (glassfrogs). The results of this research provide insight to biogeographical patterns and historical evolutionary processes, and thus a better understanding of factors triggering species’ diversity and distribution. In addition, the identification of species boundaries and respective geographical ranges are essential for a proper IUCN Red List classification, which documents current threats and endangerment.

Responsible for the project at the Landesmuseum:

Dr. Jörn Köhler

Dendropsophus sarayacuensis, Foto: Jörn Köhler, HLMD


Prof. Dr. César Aguilar Puntriano (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Museo de Historia Natural, Lima) Prof. Dr. Miguel Vences (Technische Universität Braunschweig) Prof. Dr. José M. Padial (Universidad de Granada) Dr. Frank Glaw (Zoologische Staatssammlung München) Dr. Pablo Venegas (Instituto Peruano de Herpetología, Lima) a.o. Supported by BIOPAT, DAAD, ACP Panguana

Die Haupthalle im Eingangsbereich des Hessischen Landesmuseums

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