Species Description: Koehler J, Glaw F, Vences M. 2007. A new green treefrog, genus Boophis Tschudi 1838 (Anura Mantellidae), from arid western Madagascar: phylogenetic relationships and biogeographic implications. Tropical Zoology 20(2): 215-227
© 2010 Joern Koehler (1 of 1)
Boophis tampoka is in the Boophis luteus group. This species is characterized by minute scattered red dots on the dorsum and light dorsolateral and canthal lines (also known only in B. andohahela and B. septentrionalis), though molecular analysis reveals that B. tampoka is the sister taxon of B. luteus. The latter mainly differs from B. tampoka by iris colouration in life (red outer iris ring versus golden iris; Kohler et al. 2007). However, it is important to note that external morphology does not appear to be a reliable character in determining species within the B. luteus group (Glaw and Vences 2002). Boophis tampoka can be distinguished from other green Boophis species by a few key morphological differences. Boophis tampoka differs from members of the B. albilabris group and B. microtympanum by translucent green dorsal coloration life (versus opaque green). It differs from the B. rappiodes and B. mandraka species groups by the presence of lateral dermal fringes along lower arm and tarsus (versus absent) and a pigmented ventral side (versus transparent ventral skin). It differs from species of the B. albipunctatus group by having a bi-lobed inflated vocal sac (versus a single vocal sac) and by the larger size of males (30 - 35 versus 24 - 33 mm; Kohler et al. 2007).
In life, the top of the head, flanks, and dorsum are a translucent green with blue tint. On certain parts of the dorsum, scattered yellowish or white dots may be present. Tiny indistinct red dots are found on the dorsum and head, though sometimes these can also be found on the dorsal surfaces of limbs. Boophis tampoka's upper eyelid is covered by a reddish brown fleck. A yellow line, which can be incomplete or interrupted, runs from the eye to the nostril, continuing to the tip of snout. A dorsolateral line of the same color runs several millimeters posteriorly from the posterior corner of the eye and usually fades at the midbody; this line is indistinct or almost absent in a few specimens. The iris is golden with an irregularly shaped brown inner ring and has a blue periphery. The venter is white and ventral surfaces of arms and legs are bluish-green. The throat is pale bluish-green and the webbing between digits is yellowish-green; the toe and finger discs are bluish-green (based on color slides of four males and one female). In preservative, this species is typically uniformly yellowish-white dorsally and ventrally, with the exception of each nostril being marked with a minute brown spot and diffuse bronze tan flecks covering the upper eyelids (Kohler et al. 2007).
The morphology of the paratypes is very similar to the holotype. However, the relation of head width and length appears to be a variable parameter; a few specimens having head width greater than head length. It is possible that differences in this character might be due to measurement error. In life, the red dots on head and dorsum are very indistinct in some specimens, although always detectable. In addition, the yellow dorsolateral line is strongly interrupted or faint in some specimens, and is sometimes virtually absent (Kohler et al. 2007).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar
Most specimens and calls were collected near shallow, sandy streams and rivers in areas with varying tree cover, ranging from thick gallery forest to greatly degraded areas (Vences et al. 2011). Overall, the climate is much drier compared to the distribution of the other closely related species (Kohler et al. 2007).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
In March and April, abundant males were observed calling from forest trees and bushes about half a meter to several meters high along the edges of rivers at night. Males tended to form large choruses. Within these choruses, click calls were heard more frequently than those produced by isolated calling males. Pairs in axillary amplexus were found close to the choruses in bushes and trees though one pair in amplexus was found in a stream. All observed females were gravid, which suggests that reproduction occurs at the end of the rainy season. One female contained about 240 eggs, though no tadpoles were found. It is assumed that they develop in shallow water at the river's edge (Kohler et al. 2007; Vences et al. 2011).
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Maximum likelihood and Maximum Parsimony analyses of 16S rRNA sequences showed Boophis tampoka formed a well-supported monophyletic group with Boophis luteus from Andasibe. The also showed a 5.7% uncorrected pairwise sequence divergence between B. tampoka and B. luteus. But the analysis was unable to determine the basal relationships in the B. luteus and B. albipunctatus species groups (Kohler et al. 2007)
The specific name is derived from the Malagasy word tampoka, which means unexpected because the discovery of a member of the Boophis luteus group in arid central-western Madagascar was not anticipated (Kohler et al. 2007).
Andreone, F., Cox, N., Glaw, F., Kohler, J. Rabibisoa, N. H. C., Randriamahazo, H., Randrianasolo, H., Raxworthy, C. J., Stuart, S. N., Vallan, D., Vences, M. 2008. Update of the Global Amphibian Assessment for Madagascar in light of species discoveries, nomenclature changes, and new field information. Monografie del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali di Torino, XLV, 419-438.
Glaw, F., Vences, M. 2002. A new cryptic treefrog species of the Boophis luteus group from Madagascar: bioacoustic and genetic evidence (Amphibia, Anura, Mantellidae). Spixiana, 25, 173-181.
Köhler, J. Glaw, F., Vences, M. 2007. A new green treefrog, genus Boophis Tschudi 1838 (Anura Mantellidae), from arid western Madagascar: phylogenetic relationships and biogeogeographic implications. Tropical Zoology, 20, 215-227.
Vences, M., Kohler, J., Vieites, D. R., and Glaw, F. 2011. Molecular and bioacoustic differentiation of deep conspecific lineages of the Malagasy treefrogs Boophis tampoka and B. luteus. Herpetology Notes, 4, 239-246
Written by Taylor Gullett (taylor.gullett AT gmail.com), University of Texas at Austin
First submitted 2013-07-08
Edited by David Cannatella, Ann T. Chang, & David Wong (2013-07-22)
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