Allozyme and Genome Size Variation in Tree Frogs from the Caucasus, with Description of a New Subspecies Hyla arborea gumilevskii, from the Talysh Mountains

Spartak N. Litvinchuk, Leo J. Borkin, Jury M. Rosanov, Dmitry V. Skorinov


The genome size and allozyme (20 loci) variation in the European (Hyla arborea) and Middle Eastern (H. savignyi) tree frogs in the Caucasus was studied. Additional samples of these species from eastern Europe and Turkey, as well as a sample of the Far Eastern H. japonica, were used for comparison. According to genome size and allozyme data, three geographically distinct groups were revealed among the Caucasian tree frogs. The main territory of the Caucasian region, including the Great Caucasian Range, is inhabited by H. arborea, the Caucasus Minor — by H. savignyi, whereas the Talysh Mountains (Azerbaijan) situated in the extreme south-east of the region harbor another tree frog with reduced inguinal loop. The highest genetic difference was found between the Talysh tree frog and H. savignyi (D = 0.42), the middle one — between H. savignyi and H. arborea (D = 0.27 – – 0.38), and the lowest value between the Talysh tree frog and H. arborea (D = 0.13). The genetic distances between these West Palearctic species and H. japonica were relatively high (D = 0.43 – 0.59). Additionally, we found high genome size differences between the Talysh tree frog and H. arborea, as well as between the former one and H. savignyi. Based on these data, we recognized the Talysh tree frogs as a new subspecies, Hyla arborea gumilevskii, subsp. nov. Hyla arborea schelkownikowi was treated as a junior synonym of H. a. arborea.


Amphibia; Hylidae; genome size; nuclear DNA content; flow cytometry; allozymes; Hyla arborea; Hyla savignyi; Hyla japonica; Hyla arborea gumilevskii; subsp. nov

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