Las Vegas Valley Leopard Frog
|Taxonomic Notes: This species long was thought to be extinct, and if it is restricted to its type locality in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, that is correct. In 2011 Hekkala, Saumure, Jaeger, Herrmann, Sredl, Bradford, Drabeck and Blum, in an open access article published in Conservation Genetics (DOI 10.1007/s10592-011-0229-6), showed that the closely related species Rana chiricahuensis includes two genetically distinct lineages. They were successful in obtaining sufficient genetic information from specimens of R. fisheri preserved in 1913 in ethanol and stored at the California Academy of Sciences to determine that it is a member of one of the two lineages, which is extant along the Mogollon Rim and White Mtns of central and eastern Arizona and extreme west-central New Mexico. The authors assigned this lineage to Rana fisheri, and accordingly, the species continues to exist. This species is placed in Lithobates by some authors, following Frost et al., 2006. This has been a controversial decision, because such well-known species as Rana catesbeiana, with an enormous literature, are made more obscure to many. What is not controversial is that Lithobates is the sister taxon of Rana, so the argument is simply one of Linnean ranks. AmphibiaWeb recommends treating Lithobates as a subgenus of Rana, with species names to be written as Rana (Lithobates) catesbeiana, as an example. This option preserves the maximal amount of phylogenetic information and preserves a long-standing taxonomy.|
Species Description: Stejneger, L. 1893. Annotated list of the reptiles and batrachians collected by the Death Valley Expedition in 1891, with descriptions of new species. North American Fauna 7: 159–228.
© 2013 Tara Sprankle (1 of 2)