Just out | Phylogeny and biogeography of South Chinese brown frogs (Ranidae, Anura) @ PLOS one

Just out @ PLOS one

Phylogeny and biogeography of South Chinese brown frogs (Ranidae, Anura)


Yu Zhou, Sirui Wang, Hedan Zhu, Pipeng Li , Baotian Yang , Jianzhang Ma


Few studies have explored the role of Cenozoic tectonic evolution in shaping the patterns and processes of extant animal distributions in and around East Asia. In this study, we selected South Chinese brown frogs as a model to examine the phylogenetic and biogeographical consequences of Miocene tectonic events within South China and its margins. We used mitochondrial and nuclear molecular data to reconstruct phylogenetic interrelationships among Chinese brown frogs using Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses. The phylogeny results show that there are four main clades of Chinese brown frogs. Excepting the three commonly known Chinese brown frog species groups, R. maoershanensis forms an independent clade nearest to the R. japonica group. Phylogeny and P-distance analyses confirmed R. maoershanensis as a valid species. Among South Chinese brown frogs, there are four subclades associated with four geographical areas: (I) R. maoershanensis; (II) R. japonica; (III) R. chaochiaoensis; and (IV) other species of the R. longicrus species group. Divergence times, estimated using mitochondrial sequences, place the vicariance events among the four subclades in the middle to late Miocene epoch. Our results suggest that (1) South Chinese brown frogs originated due to a vicariance event separating them from the R. chensinensis species group at the time of the Geological movement (~18 million years ago, Ma) in southern Tibet and the Himalayan region; (2) the separation and speciation of R. maoershanensis from the R. japonica group occurred due to the dry climate at approximately 16 Ma; (3) South Chinese brown frogs migrated from South China to Japan at the time (~10.8 Ma) that the global sea-level fell and the East China Sea Shelf Basin was swamp facies, when a land gallery may have formed across the sea to connect the two areas; and (4) R. chaochiaoensis separated from other species of the R. longicrus species group during the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau at approximately 9.5 Ma.



Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)