Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Green-eyed tree frogs
This is a green-eyed tree frog Litoria serrata from Queensland's Wet Tropics. A couple of days ago, it was still known as L. genimaculata, but a paper published in the 8 March 2010 edition of the online systematics journal Zootaxa has restricted that name to the New Guinea population.
It is not a new species. Litoria serrata was originally described in 1916 from specimens collected in Atherton, Carrington and Malanda on the Atherton Tablelands. It resembles both L. genimaculata and L. eucnemis and has been synonymised with both. This new paper has extracted it from synonymy and re-established it as a separate species.
Nothing is ever that simple, of course. Molecular studies show that there are odd things going on within the populations. That's apart from a new species (Litoria myola) with a very, very limited range (Kuranda), which had previously been mixed up in that froggy mess.
Litoria serrata has two distinct populations — north and south. (From a quick look at the paper, I suspect there are actually three populations. But I don't have the data, so that's nothing more than a wild guess.) They are currently being studied and may yet turn out to be different species. The good news is that, if they do turn out to be different, the species that hangs around here will retain the name L. serrata.
Litoria serrata is the 'house frog' in the rainforest. It has a particular fondness for bathrooms, but may turn up anywhere in the building. This one was viewing its domain from patio.
Hoskin, C.J. (2007). Description, biology and conservation of a new species of Australian tree frog (Amphibia: Anura: Hylidae: Litoria) and an assessment of the remaining populations of Litoria genimaculata Horst, 1883: systematic and conservation implications of an unusual speciation event. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 91: 549–563
Richards, S.J., Hoskin, C.J., Cunningham, M.J., McDonald, K. & Donnellan, S.C. (2010). Taxonomic re-assessment of the Australian and New Guinean green-eyed treefrogs Litoria eucnemis, L. genimaculata and L. serrata (Anura: Hylidae). Zootaxa 2391: 33–46.