Undocumented translocations spawn taxonomic inflation in Sri Lankan fire rasboras (Actinopterygii, Cyprinidae)
Fire Rasboras of Sri Lanka was thought to comprise of four species: R. vaterifloris, R. nigromarginatus, R. pallidus and R. rohani. Here, using an integrative-taxonomic analysis of morphometry, meristics and mitochondrial DNA sequences we show that R. nigromarginatus is a synonym of R. vaterifloris, and that R. rohani is a synonym of R. pallidus. The creation and recognition of unnecessary taxa (‘taxonomic inflation’) was in this case a result of selective sampling confounded by a disregard of allometry. The population referred to R. rohani in the Walawe river basin represents an undocumented trans-basin translocation of R. pallidus, and a translocation into the Mahaweli river of R. vaterifloris, documented to have occurred ca 1980, in fact involves R. pallidus. A shared haplotype suggests the latter introduction was likely made from the Bentara river basin and not from the Kelani, as claimed. To stabilize the taxonomy of these fishes, the two valid species, R. vateriflorisand R. pallidus, are diagnosed and redescribed, and their distributions delineated. We draw attention to the wasteful diversion of conservation resources to populations resulting from undocumented translocations and to taxa resulting from taxonomic inflation. We argue against translocations except where mandated by a conservation emergency, and even then, only when supported by accurate documentation. peerj.com/articles/6084/?td=bl
Systematic revision of Microhyla (Microhylidae) frogsof South Asia: a molecular, morphological, and acoustic assessment
This study presents a systematic revision of South Asian members of the taxonomically challenging genus Microhyla Tschudi, 1838. Species relationships and diagnostic characters are determined by integrating molecular, morphological, and acoustic approaches, through which we also recognize six groups of closely related species. In addition, a new species from the southern Western Ghats of India is formally described as Microhyla darreli sp. nov. Species accounts of all the 16 recognized members from South Asia include current taxonomic status, metric and meristic characters, divergence in mitochondrial DNA, phylogenetic relationships, acoustic characters, re- vised geographical distributions, and natural history notes. Molecular and morphological relationships of three poorly known members — M. chakrapanii, M. karunaratnei, and M. zeylanica M. berdmorei and another potential new species close to M. heymonsi in India corrected. For comparative purposes, molecular, morphological, and acoustic relationships are also discussed for eight closely related East and Southeast Asian species. Consequently, insights from this study will facilitate a much-needed comprehensive revision of the Pan-Asian frog genus Microhyla.
Diversification of shrub frogs (Rhacophoridae, Pseudophilautus) in Sri Lanka – Timing and geographic context
This paper is about the diversification of shrub frogs on the hills on the island of Sri Lanka - origins, patterns and rates. Hope this will help future research on this remarkable group
•Pseudophilautus diversification, begins during Oligocene (31 MYA)
•A stately pace of lineage accumulation despite orogeny and climate change.
•Assemblages in most regions comprise of species arising from diverse clades.
•MRCA of a back-migrating clade to India (8.8 MYA), reconstructs as a lowland form.
•Island’s mountains serve as species pumps and refuges for Pseudophilautus evolution.
Three new students joined our lab group this semester: Mr. Gajaba Ellepola, a lecturer from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, who is pursuing his Ph.D. work, Miss Sun Dan, a Ph.D. student from Ji Lin Province in China and Mr. Mao Ting Ru, a masters student from Nanning, China.
We review and clear the taxonomy of the members of the genus Labeo of Sri Lanka. We used an integrative taxonomic analysis using morphology, morphometry, DNA and ecology. We see that the three Labeos of Sri Lanka do not form a monophyletic clade. This is indicative of multiple dispersal events from India to Sri Lanka. We describe and rename the species that was previously recognized as Labeo dussumieri of Sri Lanka as a new species. The newly described species is Labeo heladiva - heladiva is an ancient name for Sri Lanka. At lease two of the three Labeo species of the island need immediate conservation intervention. The work was inspired and supported by Rohan Pethiyagoda and led by Hiranya Sudasinghe. Full Text is available on Research Gate.
About seven years ago, when we were beginning to take a closer look at the vocalizations of frogs, from within the dark forested streams of the highest peaks of the Knuckles mountains, we came across a booming call that we had never hear before. We thought that it was a new species. One of my friends also brought this species to the notice soon afterwards. So we got together and started documenting the distribution, morphology, genetic characteristics and the bone structures of the Lankanectes populations across Sri Lanka. In almost all aspects we considered, the population that we heard was different from the rest of the Lankanectes of the island. So we described it as a new species - Lankanectes pera. We named the frog after the University of Peradeniya, the premier research and teaching university in Sri Lanka, which was celebrating her 75th anniversary last year. The alumni of this great university refer to her affectionately as "Pera". The frog is highly specialized for life in clear, cold, forest covered streams of the mountains, and together with a very sparse distribution, the future of the frog is uncertain. Hence we highlighted this frog to be critically endangered. We hope that identifying this frog will help direct conservation attention to both the habitat of this frog and the frog itself. The authors of the paper are Gayani Senevirathne, Pradeep Samarawickrama, Nayana Wijayathilaka, Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi, D. Samarawickrama and myself. The work was done at Pera. By Madhava Meegaskumbura