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Systematics and taxonomy of the Scinax auratus species group (Anura: Hylinae: Scinaxini)

Grant number: 21/14476-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2022
Effective date (End): April 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Célio Fernando Baptista Haddad
Grantee:Pedro Marinho
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The genus Scinax is currently the most specious genus of Hylidae. It contains 126 species divided into two large clades: the S. ruber clade and the S. catharinae clade. The S. ruber clade species were recovered in eight species groups in the most inclusive phylogenetic study of Scinax (Araujo-Vieira et al. in prep.); one of these groups is the Scinax auratus group, composed of eight described and five candidate species. The species in this group present taxonomic problems. Their diagnostic characters are not functional to diagnose the most morphologically similar species and, as an aggravating circumstance, many of the species or undescribed lineages have a sympatric distribution, which highlights the need for a taxonomic review. Furthermore, the phylogenetic analysis of the group included only a few samples from the extensive distributions of the species and recovered the evolutionary relationships between some species with low support, which prevents further taxonomic decisions. This project represents the first systematic and taxonomic study of a group of Scinax species defined from a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis, endemic to the Atlantic Forest, and whose biodiversity is remarkably underestimated. The objectives are (I) to assess the taxonomic status of species from the Scinax auratus group; (II) redefine the diagnostic characters of all species; (III) phenotypically characterize candidate species, compare them with known species and assess their taxonomic status; and (IV) generate a phylogenetic analysis, based on multiple character systems for the S. auratus group, complementing the study of Araujo-Vieira et al. (in prep.), by coding missing characters and adding new species resulting from this study. (AU)

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