Boophis ulftunni is a small frog, with males having an SVL of 21.8 to 24.2 mm, and females ranging from 32.0 to 37.1 mm in SVL. This frog has a slender body, with the head as long as it is wide, and also wider than the body. The snout is rounded in dorsal profile, and slightly truncate in lateral profile, with lateral nostrils located closer to the tip of the snout than to the eyes. The tympanum is distinct, rounded and measures approximately 40% the diameter of the eye. No supratympanic fold is present. The canthus rostralis and loreal region are slightly concave. Vomerine teeth are distinct and located posteromedian to the small and rounded choanae. The limbs are slender with single subarticular tubercles under the fingers and no recognizable metacarpal tubercles on the hands. The fingers are weakly webbed, and have moderately enlarged discs. Males have small, unpigmented nuptial pads on the inner side of the first finger. The relative length of the fingers is as follows: 1<2<4<3. On the feet, there is a distinct inner metarsal tubercle but no outer metatarsal tubercle. Toe discs are also slightly enlarged, with a relative toe length of 1<2<5=3<4. The skin is smooth, with the exception of the belly and around the cloacal opening, where the skin is glandular.
Dorsally, this frog is translucent green, with a dorsolateral metallic-cream white line. Pink spots accompany the dorsolateral white line and extend posteriorly from the snout tip, converging at the urostyle. On the top of the head, the supraorbital reddish-brown to pink spots merge into a single Y-shaped blotch in the middle. Irregular pink spots and blotches are also scattered on the dorsum, flanks, knees, and upper limbs, occasionally accompanied by metallic-cream white marks. The iris has an outer yellow and inner purple area. Toes and finger discs are green. A blue hue was observed on the thighs and posterior dorsum of specimens from Marojejy National Park, as well as a thin brownish-pink dorsolateral line reaching each nostril.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar
This frog occurs in northeastern Madagascar, and may be widespread throughout the northeastern region. It is known from the Masoala Peninsula, as well as Tsararano, Anjanaharibe-Sud, and Marojejy. It is found both within and outside low- and mid-altitude rainforests, in pristine or re-grown secondary forests, and in forest corridors. The holotype was collected at an altitude of 610-630 m in the Masoala Peninsula. Paratypes were collected from 600-1326 m. Specimens from Marojejy Park were found at elevations approximately 1300 m above sea level.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Individuals were heard at night calling from high perches (2-4 m). Boophis ulftunni calls are trills (single notes with a series of short pulses, varying in interpulse duration), repeated at irregular intervals. A single or double click sound was sometimes also noted to occur between calls. No significant frequency modulation was observed. The dominant frequency was between 5247 and 6413 Hz, varying by geographic location (but the variation may also have been due to calling in choruses vs. in isolation).
Trends and Threats
This is a newly described species, so no data exist on population trends. It occurs in two protected areas, Marojejy National Park and Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve.
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Specimens were collected from two protected areas in Madagascar, but genetic divergence suggest more than one species may currently be included within what is currently considered "Boophis ulftunnis".
Molecular analysis of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene suggests B. ulftunni appears to be most closely related to the B. microtympanum group, but is itself a distinct evolutionary lineage. While B. ulftunni shows strong phenotypic similarities (reddish-pink dorsal blotches, a Y-shaped head blotch, and translucent green body color) to the B. rappiodes group, B. ulftunni is smaller and does not have transparent ventral skin, and pairwise genetic distances between the two groups are too high to consider them sister taxa.
The single specimen from Marojejy National Park showed pairwise genetic divergence of 5% with the type specimen of B. ulftunni, as well as morphological differences from the holotype in webbing formula, having nostrils closer to the eye, increased pink spotting, and blue coloration on the thighs and posterior dorsum. Therefore, it is possible that, as it currently stands, B. ulftunni represents more than one species.
Wollenberg, K. C., Andreone, F., Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2008). ''Pretty in pink: A new treefrog species of the genus Boophis from north-eastern Madagascar.'' Zootaxa, 1684, 58-68.
Written by Matan Shelomi (mshelomi AT fas.harvard.edu), Harvard University
First submitted 2008-04-23
Edited by Kellie L. Whittaker, Ph.D. (2008-05-17)
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