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Tuesday, April 24 • 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Molecular Phylogenetic Identification Of An Enigmatic Tree Frog From Conception Bank, Bahamas

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During a 2017 survey of the remote Conception Island Bank, a small toepad sample of an unidentifiable tree frog (Hylide: Osteopilus) was collected by Dr. R. Graham Reynolds. Specimens of Osteopilus from this region appear much larger in size and much more colorful than populations throughout the rest of the Bahamas Archipelago. Due to the morphological ambiguity of the organism, we sought to investigate its phylogenetic affinities in comparison to other geographically proximal Osteopilus species. To do so, we extracted DNA from the toepad tissue of the unknown sample and one known sample of O. septentrionalis from Crooked Island, Bahamas using the Qiagen Wizard SV Kit, tested primers for the 16S mitochondrial gene obtained from a literature search, and then sequenced the sample using PCR. We then aligned the sequence with other Osteopilus species mined from the online resource GenBank and constructed a maximum-likelihood phylogenetic tree of West Indian hylid frogs using the RaxML algorithm in Geneious 10.0®. A BLAST search of the resulting sequence data yielded 98% sequence similarity to a confirmed O. septentrionalis specimen. Our phylogenetic tree revealed that the unknown population on Conception Bank is indeed O. septentrionalis. This raises some interesting questions with regard to the observed unique phenotype of frogs from this island. The large body size and unusual color might be owing to founder effects or local selective pressures. To deepen the mystery, other herpetofauna from the same island also exhibit gigantism- the Brown Anole has the largest body size for the species.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 12:00pm - 1:30pm PDT
Sherrill Center Concourse

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