Mitochondrial Introgression, Color Pattern Variation, and Severe Demographic Bottlenecks in Three Species of Malagasy Poison Frogs, Genus Mantella

Crottini, Angelica; Orozco-terWengel, Pablo; Rabemananjara, Falitiana C. E.; Hauswaldt, Susanne GND; Vences, Miguel ORCID

Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot particularly rich in amphibian diversity and only a few charismatic Malagasy amphibians have been investigated for their population-level differentiation. The Mantella madagascariensis group is composed of two rainforest and three swamp forest species of poison frogs. We first confirm the monophyly of this clade using DNA sequences of three nuclear and four mitochondrial genes, and subsequently investigate the population genetic differentiation and demography of the swamp forest species using one mitochondrial, two nuclear and a set of nine microsatellite markers. Our results confirm the occurrence of two main mitochondrial lineages, one dominated by Mantella aurantiaca (a grouping supported also by our microsatellite-based tree) and the other by Mantella crocea + Mantella milotympanum. These two main lineages probably reflect an older divergence in swamp Mantella. Widespread mitochondrial introgression suggests a fairly common occurrence of inter-lineage gene flow. However, nuclear admixture seems to play only a limited role in this group, and the analyses of the RAG-1 marker points to a predominant incomplete lineage sorting scenario between all five species of the group, which probably diverged relatively recently. Our demographic analyses show a common, severe and recent demographic contraction, inferred to be in temporal coincidence with the massive deforestation events that took place in the past 1000 years. Current data do not allow to conclusively delimit independent evolutionary units in these frogs, and we therefore refrain to suggest any taxonomic changes.

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Crottini, Angelica / Orozco-terWengel, Pablo / Rabemananjara, Falitiana C E / et al: Mitochondrial Introgression, Color Pattern Variation, and Severe Demographic Bottlenecks in Three Species of Malagasy Poison Frogs, Genus Mantella. 2019. MDPI.

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