Neotropical diversification seen through glassfrogs

Authors

  • Santiago Castroviejo-Fisher,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Herpetology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, USA
    2. Laboratório de Sistemática de Vertebrados, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
    • Correspondence: Santiago Castroviejo-Fisher, Laboratório de Sistemática de Vertebrados, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Av. Ipiranga, 6681, Prédio 40, sala 110, Porto Alegre, RS 90619-900, Brazil.

      E-mail: castroviejo.fisher@gmail.com

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Juan M. Guayasamin,

    1. Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica, Centro de Investigación de la Biodiversidad y el Cambio Climático, Quito, Ecuador
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Alejandro Gonzalez-Voyer,

    1. Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics Group, Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC), Seville, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Carles Vilà

    1. Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics Group, Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC), Seville, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Aim

We used frogs of the clade Allocentroleniae (Centrolenidae + Allophrynidae; c. 170 species endemic to Neotropical rain forests) as a model system to address the historical biogeography and diversification of Neotropical rain forest biotas.

Location

Neotropical rain forests.

Methods

We used an extensive taxon (109 species) and gene (seven nuclear and three mitochondrial genes) sampling to estimate phylogenetic relationships, divergence times, ancestral area distributions, dispersal–vicariance events, and the temporal pattern of diversification rate.

Results

The Allocentroleniae started to diversify in the Eocene in South America and by the early Miocene were present in all major Neotropical rain forests except in Central America, which was colonized through 11 late range expansions. The initial uplifts of the Andes during the Oligocene and early Miocene, as well as marine incursions in the lowlands, are coincidental with our estimates of the divergence times of most clades of Allocentroleniae. Clades with broad elevational distributions occupy more biogeographical areas. Most dispersals involve the Andes as a source area but the majority were between the Central and the Northern Andes, suggesting that the Andes did not play a major role as a species pump for the lowlands. The diversification of glassfrogs does not follow a south-to-north pattern of speciation for Andean clades, and the establishment of a transcontinental Amazon drainage system is coincidental in time with the isolation of the Atlantic Forest glassfrogs. Diversification analyses indicated that a model of constantly increasing diversity best fits the data, compatible with the ‘evolutionary museum’ hypothesis or ‘ancient cradle’ hypothesis.

Main conclusions

Our work illustrates how the different geological and climatic historical events of the Neotropics shaped, at different levels of the phylogeny, the diversity of a species-rich clade, highlighting the importance of studying large evolutionary radiations at a continental scale.

Ancillary