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Article
Published: 2021-10-20

Seen only once: an evolutionarily distinct species of Toadlet (Uperoleia: Myobatrachidae) from the Wessel Islands of northern Australia

School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia. Ecology & Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Acton, ACT, Australia
Ecology & Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Acton, ACT, Australia
Amphibia Anura endemism Uperoleia gurrumuli sp. nov. phylogenetic species concept

Abstract

There is a high rate of recent species discovery in remote regions of northern Australia, especially for amphibians and reptiles. The Wessel Islands, located in the northeastern corner of the Northern Territory, has recently been identified as a region of high species and phylogenetic endemism based on samples collected during the sole reptile and amphibian survey there in 1993. Using a phylogenetic approach, we describe a new, evolutionarily distinct species of Uperoleia endemic to the Wessel Islands. This description is based on three specimens, one female and two juveniles, which represent the only confirmed vouchers of the species. Due to the low number of specimens, this new species cannot be diagnosed morphologically from other closely related Uperoleia, and nothing is currently known about the mating call or basic biology. The discovery of this species provides further evidence for the islands’ importance as an area of endemism and identifies an urgent need for further surveys to document the unique biological diversity of the Wessel Islands.

 

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