Cocca, W., G. M. Rosa, F. Andreone, G. Aprea, P. E. Bergò, F. Mattioli, V. Mercurio, J. E. Randrianirina, D. Rosado, M. Vences & A. Crottini

In Issues 2018

The herpetofauna (Amphibia, Crocodylia, Squamata, Testudines) of the Isalo Massif, Southwest Madagascar: combining morphological, molecular and museum data. pp. 178-200 plus Supplementary Material.

Abstract. This study summarizes the data of multiple surveys carried out at the Isalo Massif (southwestern Madagascar), both within and outside the National Park limits between 2004 and 2014, providing an updated list of the amphibians and non-avian reptiles present within the area. We used an integrative taxonomic approach, combining morphological and molecular data sets to identify collected samples as either described species, or as undescribed candidate species. We here report on one new amphibian candidate species (Mantidactylus sp. aff. multiplicatus Ca65 “Isalo”), and two new amphibian distribution records (Mantella sp. aff. expectata “South”, Scaphiophryne sp. aff. calcarata Ca02) compared to the former inventories of the area. Additionally, we provide molecular reference sequences for 23 of the 24 amphibian taxa and for 40 of the 47 reptile taxa known to occur in the area, combining all available sources. With this study, we validate Isalo as an important centre of biodiversity and micro-endemism within Madagascar, with four described endemic amphibian (Gephyromantis azzurrae,
Mantella expectata, Mantidactylus nora lottae, and Scaphiophryne gottlebei) and one reptile species (Trachylepis nancycoutuae). Of the taxa here listed for Isalo, seven amphibians and six reptiles are new candidate species, and among them at least one amphibian (Mantidactylus sp. aff. multiplicatus Ca65 “Isalo”) and three reptiles (Lygodactylus sp. aff. tuberosus Ca02 “Isalo”,
Paroedura sp. aff. bastardi Ca02 “Isalo” and P. sp. aff. bastardi Ca03 “Ilakaka”) are currently known only from Isalo. The unique biodiversity of the Isalo Massif was likely favoured by the confluence of different biomes in the area and/or its role as a refugium during palaeoclimatic oscillations. Our study highlights the crucial importance of applying molecular taxonomic identification in updating the species lists even of previously well surveyed areas, and of maintaining and increasing museum voucher collections as a permanent and accessible testimony of the biodiversity inventory.

Key words. Dry forest, museum specimens, species survey, integrative taxonomy, candidate species, 16S rRNA, COI.

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