Two species of poison dart frogs (Aromobatidae) are thought to occur on the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Until 1983, however, only one species was recognized and thought to occur on both islands (Mannophryne trinitatis). In 1983, Mannophryne olmonae was described as a new species endemic to Tobago, different from M. trinitatis. Some researchers have doubted the validity of M. olmonae, which was described on the basis of a few subtle morphological differences. We used molecular genetics to assess whether these species are indeed separate evolutionary lineages. Molecular genetics are being used increasingly in species delimitation, especially in situations where morphology is variable among wide spread populations. PCR fragments from mtDNA (using primers specific for the 16S and 12S rRNA genes) totaling 1170 bp were sequenced from frog populations in Trinidad (n = 12) and Tobago (n = 8). Maximum parsimony analysis resolved two clades, clustering all Trinidad localities sister to all Tobago localities. Intra-specific variance based on pairwise sequence differences was 1.04% in M. trinitatis and 1.19% in M. olmonae populations. Inter-specific pairwise sequence difference was 6.98%. Our data provide strong support for species delimitation between these two island populations.
Wojtowicz, Elizabeth, "Mitochondrial Genes Support the Existence of Two Poison Dart Frogs (Mannophryne, Aromobatidae) From Trinidad and Tobago" (2007). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 1369.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2007 Elizabeth Wojtowicz