The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 08. Refuting the revalidation of Telmatobius laevis Philippi 1902

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pp. 63-72

Authors: Claudio Correa Q

Abstract:  The taxonomy and systematics of Andean frogs of the genus Telmatobius have been considered complex, due mainly to the high levels of inter and intraspecific variation in morphological characters. Recently, Cuevas (2013) revalidated the species T. laevis Philippi 1902, which was originally described from two syntypes (one currently lost) collected in the late nineteenth century, based on photographs of the only preserved specimen. He also used bibliographic material showing that the original type material constituted two different taxa and that its type locality, previously not located, is Potrero Grande in the Andes Range of central Chile (33°28’S). Biogeographically, this implies a geographic distribution extension for the genus of more than 450 km on the other side of Andes, and that T. laevis inhabits within the distribution range of the phenotypically similar Alsodes montanus. Here I critically review the arguments of Cuevas (2013) and show that his main evidence for revalidating T. laevis, the location of its type locality, is based on an erroneous interpretation of the literature. Moreover, I point out several deficiencies and inconsistencies of the description and redescriptions of this taxon that were not addressed by Cuevas (2013). Reanalysing the literature and photographs of the only known specimen, and incorporating new geographic data, I suggest instead that the only known specimen of T. laevis belongs to T. marmoratus, its original designation, and came from an undetermined place within the traditional known range of the genus in Chile. However, this proposal is problematic due to the high degree of morphological variation exhibited by T. marmoratus, the uncertain taxonomic status of its Chilean populations and the unclear origin of the specimen. Therefore, I consider T. laevis as a species inquirenda until these issues are clarified or new biological material is obtained. Furthermore, I provide photographic and geographic data of frogs from Potrero Grande belonging to the genus Alsodes.

Key words: Alsodes, Andes Range, species inquirenda, taxonomy, Telmatobius

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