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German Journal of Herpetology

Jeon, J.Y., S. Cho, H.Y. Suk, C.H. Lee, A. Borzée, J-Y. Song, H. Lee & M.-S. Min

In Issues 2021

Resolving the taxonomic equivocacy and the population genetic structure of Rana uenoi – insights into dispersal and demographic history. pp. 529-540 plus Supplementary material.

Abstract. Rana uenoi, a common brown frog inhabiting South Korea and the Japanese Tsushima Island, has a long history of taxonomic discussion. Although R. uenoi was described in 2014 as being distinct from R. dybowskii, the taxonomic status and distribution of the South Korean clade of R. uenoi has remained uncertain, particularly with respect to the related species R. dybowskii. Considering the species’ importance as a biological indicator of climate change, resolving the taxonomic equivocacy and clarifying its genetic structure is a matter of urgency. To do this, we  included samples from across its distribution in South Korea, sequenced and analyzed Cytochrome b sequences, and developed novel microsatellite markers for population genetic analyses. Our phylogenetic analyses verified the absence of R. dybowskii or another species in South Korea and confirmed the genetic divergence between R. uenoi and R. dybowskii. Population genetic analyses showed two distinct groups within R. uenoi, one on the Korean mainland and Japanese Tsushima Island and the second on Jeju Island, with the likely scenario being the Jeju Island population originating from mainland Korea during the Pleistocene. Demographically, we found evidence of population bottleneck events. Based on these results, we propose the English common
name “Korean large brown frog” and a Korean common name “큰산개구리” [keun-san-gaeguri] for R. uenoi. These results provide an important baseline data for understanding future climate change impacts.

Key words. Amphibia, Anura, Ranidae, Rana uenoi, R. dybowskii, brown frogs, taxonomic review, population genetic analysis, bottleneck, Jeju Island.

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