Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One or two? How to decide how many species you have got

Date:
April 2, 2014
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
It is often difficult to decide whether two animals belong to the same or two distinct species. This can be especially challenging for animals which externally look very similar. In a recent study, scientists use genetic data and calls analysis to test if treefrogs from West and Central Africa belong to different or the same species.

This image shows Leptopelis aubryi one of the species studied.
Credit: Mark-Oliver Rödel et. al.

It is often difficult to decide whether two animals belong to the same or two distinct species. This can be especially challenging for animals which externally look very similar. In a recent study, published in the open access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution, scientists from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin use genetic data and sound analysis to test if treefrogs from West and Central Africa belong to different or the same species.

Due to the fact that, when external characters are used, only size is useful to distinguish these frogs the scientists employed additional characters to determine species affiliations. One the one hand, they used genetics, and, on the other, advertisement calls of different populations. Male frogs have to attract their females via species specific calls, so call characteristics (e.g. duration, frequency) reliably tell whether animals belong to one or several species.

The two sets of populations have been previously declared as belonging to the same species based on morphological, meaning external, similarities. With their work the researchers from Berlin proved their expectations right, and revealing they were in fact working with four and not two species: two different sets of one large and one small specie, which live in West and Central Africa respectively.

In order to facilitate other researchers the verification of these results, not only genetic but also acoustic data are publicly available and the latter can be downloaded from the animal sound archive of the Museum für Naturkunde.

Species are the basis for all biological questions. Therefore, they are not only important for taxonomists but also a reference parameter for physiologists, ecologists or conservationists. Thus it is of central importance to be able to distinguish whether animals of two different populations belong to one or two distinct species. A clear showcase is an example, which was examined in a recent publication by zoologist from Berlin and Geneva.

"A colleague grouped animals to two species which were formerly known as four species, each now with a distribution across West and Central Africa. However, this contradicted known zoogeographical facts which found that forest frogs live either in West or in Central Africa but very rarely simultaneously in both regions. The clarification of that question is for example important to understand how the landscapes in these regions have developed over the past millions of years." explains Dr. Rödel, one of the authors if the recent study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mark-Oliver Roedel, Mike Emmrich, Johannes Penner, Andreas Schmitz, Michael Barej. The taxonomic status of two West AfricanLeptopelisspecies:L. macrotisSchiøtz, 1967 andL. spiritusnoctisRödel, 2007 (Amphibia: Anura: Arthroleptidae). Zoosystematics and Evolution, 2014; 90 (1): 21 DOI: 10.3897/zse.90.7120

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "One or two? How to decide how many species you have got." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402121600.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2014, April 2). One or two? How to decide how many species you have got. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402121600.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "One or two? How to decide how many species you have got." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402121600.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins