Tukeit Hill frog

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Tukeit Hill frog
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Neobatrachia
Family: Centrolenidae / Allophrynidae
Subfamily: Allophryninae
Goin, Goin, & Zug, 1978
Genus: Allophryne
Gaige, 1926
Species: A. ruthveni
Binomial name
Allophryne ruthveni
Gaige, 1926
Allophryne ruthveni range.PNG
Distribution of A. ruthveni (in black)

The Tukeit Hill frog (Allophryne ruthveni) is one of the two described species in the genus Allophryne (the other one being Allophryne resplendens,[1]) which in turn is the only member of the subfamily Allophryninae, a clade recently placed under the family Centrolenidae[2] (elevated by some authors to the rank of a separate family Allophrynidae[1]). These frogs live in Guyana, Venezuela, Surinam, Brazil and Bolivia. The holotype was discovered at Tukeit Hill, below Kaieteur Falls, Guyana, hence the common English name.

Description[edit]

The Tukeit Hill frog is a small frog of variable colouration, either black, with stripes and spots which can be golden or dull yellow, or a dull yellow or golden ventral surface, with black strips and spots. It has a flat body, and small, flat head. It has a single, submandibular vocal sac. The toe pads are enlarged, wider than the fingers, and the tympanum is visible. The Tukeit Hill frog is superficially similar to the tree frogs, but the ends of their phalanges differ in shape.

Taxonomy[edit]

A. ruthveni is part of a hitherto (see below) monotypic subfamily of anurans: Allophryninae. The evolutionary relationships of this species have always been controversial. It has been joined to families such as Hylidae, Bufonidae, and Leptodactylidae, but until recently, its closer relatives were unknown.

Allophryne is similar in its general shape to tree frogs of the family Hylidae, but differs by having the last phalanges of fingers and toes T-shaped, a character found in glassfrogs, while tree frogs have claw-shaped ones. When herpetologist G. K. Noble examined Allophryne, he suggested it was closely related to glassfrogs, a hypothesis later confirmed by recent phylogenetic studies, which have found Allophryne is the sister taxon of the glassfrog clade Centroleninae.[3]

The glassfrogs differ from Allophryne by having much more delicate skulls and by possessing intercalary elements between the last phalanges of fingers, a process on the third metacarpal, and nonexplosive breeding, among other characteristics. Both glassfrogs and the Allophrynidae are closely related to Leptodactylidae.

Recently, an undescribed species of frog, which probably belongs to the genus Allophryne, was discovered in Peru [1]. This suggests the genus is actually more widespread and more species await discovery. As A. ruthveni was assumed to be a northwestern Amazonian endemic, the Peruvian frog indicates the Allophrynidae might have been more widespread in prehistoric times, only later on disappearing from most of the Amazon Basin, and are actually a relict group. Alternatively, they might occur in the western Amazonas lowlands and simply have not been found yet, though this seems less likely.

Behaviour[edit]

The Tukeit Hill frog is semiarboreal, spending some times low in the trees, 1–3 m high, and some of the time on the ground. They are explosive breeders, taking advantage of small water ponds formed on the forest floor after periods of rain. This frog inhabits sparse forest, and may be restricted to forested areas, avoiding cleared land.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Santiago Castroviejo-Fisher; Pedro E. Peréz-Peña; Jose M. Padial & Juan M. Guayasamin (2012). "A second species of the family Allophrynidae (Amphibia, Anura)". American Museum Novitates. 3739: 1–17. doi:10.1206/3739.2. 
  2. ^ Frost, Darrel R.; Grant, Taran; Faivovich, Julián; Bain, Raoul H.; Haas, Alexander; Haddad, Celio F. B.; De Sa, Rafael O.; Channing, A.; Wilkinson, Mark; Donnellan, Stephen C.; Raxworthy, Christopher J.; Campbell, Jonathan A.; Blotto, Boris L.; Moler, Paul; Drewes, Robert C.; Nussbaum, Ronald A.; Lynch, John D.; Green, David M. & Wheeler, Ward C. (2006): The Amphibian Tree of Life]. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297: 1-370. PDF fulltext
  3. ^ (Austin et al. 2002, Frost et al. 2006).
  • Austin, J. D.; Lougheed, S. C.; Tanner, K; Chek, A. A.; Bogart, J. P. & Boag, P. T. (2002): A molecular perspective on the evolutionary affinities of an enigmatic neotropical frog, Allophryne ruthveni. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 134(3): 335–346. PDF fulltext
  • Cannatella, David (1996): The Tree of Life Web Project: Allophryne ruthveni. Version of 1 January 1996; retrieved 2007-JAN-06.
  • Cogger, H. G.; Zweifel, R. G. & Kirschner, D. (2004): Encyclopedia of Reptiles & Amphibians (2nd edition). Fog City Press. ISBN 1-877019-69-0
  • Frost, Darrel R.; Grant, Taran; Faivovich, Julián; Bain, Raoul H.; Haas, Alexander; Haddad, Celio F. B.; De Sa, Rafael O.; Channing, A.; Wilkinson, Mark; Donnellan, Stephen C.; Raxworthy, Christopher J.; Campbell, Jonathan A.; Blotto, Boris L.; Moler, Paul; Drewes, Robert C.; Nussbaum, Ronald A.; Lynch, John D.; Green, David M. & Wheeler, Ward C. (2006): The Amphibian Tree of Life]. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297: 1-370. PDF fulltext
  • InfoNatura (2005): Allophryne ruthveni Version 4.1, 28 June 2005. Retrieved 2007-JAN-06.
  • La Marca, E. & Azevedo-Ramos, C. (2004). "Allophryne ruthveni". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2006. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 12 May 2006.  Database entry includes a range map and a brief justification of why this species is of least concern