The Golden Tree Frog of Trinidad, Phyllodytes auratus (Anura: Hylidae): systematic and conservation status

  • Jowers M
  • Downie J
  • Cohen B
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Analyses of mitochondrial 12S and 16S rDNA sequences lead us to propose that the Neotropical hylid genus Phyllodytes is paraphyletic. The level of divergence between the Trinidadian endemic P. auratus and the two Brazilian Phyllodytes included in the analyses (Phyllodytes sp. and P. luteolus) is greater than that of inter-generic distances within the Lophiohylini. The molecular evidence here reported, behavioural differences and restriction to a single host plant in a geographically limited area differentiates Phyllodytes auratus from other supposed Phyllodytes evidencing its unique taxonomic status. We therefore propose a new genus, Phytotriades gen. nov., for Phyllodytes auratus. P. auratus mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences obtained from one locality (seven individuals) contained two haplotypes, one individual differing by a single transition. The other locality (one individual) had the commoner haplotype. The low genetic divergence between the two populations suggests recent isolation at these two localities.

Author-supplied keywords

  • DNA
  • Golden Tree Frog
  • Phyllodytes auratus
  • Phytotriades gen. nov.
  • Trinidad

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  • Michael J. Jowers

  • J. R. Downie

  • B. L. Cohen

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