Cenozoic biogeography and evolution in direct-developing frogs of Central America (Leptodactylidae: Eleutherodactylus) as inferred from a phylogenetic analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial genes.Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2005 Jun; 35(3):536-55.MP
We report the first phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data for the Central American component of the genus Eleutherodactylus (Anura: Leptodactylidae: Eleutherodactylinae), one of the most ubiquitous, diverse, and abundant components of the Neotropical amphibian fauna. We obtained DNA sequence data from 55 specimens representing 45 species. Sampling was focused on Central America, but also included Bolivia, Brazil, Jamaica, and the USA. We sequenced 1460 contiguous base pairs (bp) of the mitochondrial genome containing ND2 and five neighboring tRNA genes, plus 1300 bp of the c-myc nuclear gene. The resulting phylogenetic inferences were broadly concordant between data sets and among analytical methods. The subgenus Craugastor is monophyletic and its initial radiation was potentially rapid and adaptive. Within Craugastor, the earliest splits separate three northern Central American species groups, milesi, augusti, and alfredi, from a clade comprising the rest of Craugastor. Within the latter clade, the rhodopis group as formerly recognized comprises three deeply divergent clades that do not form a monophyletic group; we therefore restrict the content of the rhodopis group to one of two northern clades, and use new names for the other northern (mexicanus group) and one southern clade (bransfordii group). The new rhodopis and bransfordii groups together form the sister taxon to a clade comprising the biporcatus, fitzingeri, mexicanus, and rugulosus groups. We used a Bayesian MCMC approach together with geological and biogeographic assumptions to estimate divergence times from the combined DNA sequence data. Our results corroborated three independent dispersal events for the origins of Central American Eleutherodactylus: (1) an ancestor of Craugastor entered northern Central America from South American in the early Paleocene, (2) an ancestor of the subgenus Syrrhophus entered northern Central America from the Caribbean at the end of the Eocene, and (3) a wave of independent dispersal events from South America coincided with formation of the Isthmus of Panama during the Pliocene. We elevate the subgenus Craugastor to the genus rank.