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The osteology and relationships of Pipa aspera (Amphibia: Anura: Pipidae), with notes on its natural history in French Guiana

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Recent field and laboratory observations on Pipa aspera from central French Guiana have yielded new information on the morphology, ecology, reproductive habits, and relationships of this poorly known pipid frog from northeastern South America. Morphologically, P.aspera is most similar to P.arrabali, from which it differs in details of its cranial and postcranial osteology. The snout of P.aspera is less depressed than that of P.arrabali and the eye is proportionally larger in P. aspera than in P. arrabali; in addition, P. aspera has wide nostrils that are more narrowly separated from one another than are those of P. arrabali. A phylogenetic analysis reveals P. carvalhoi to be the sister taxon to [P. aspera + [P. arrabali + [P. snethlageae + P. pipa]]]. Like P. arrabali, P. aspera produces relatively few, large young that undergo their complete development on the back of the female. Pipa aspera differs from its congeners in its preferred habitat of freshwater pools in flowing streams on the slopes of massifs of the Guyana Shield.

De récents travaux menés en Guyane française sur l'amphibien anoure Pipa aspera (Pipidae) ont apporté des informations inédites sur la morphologie, l'écologie, le mode de reproduction et le comportement de cette espèce peu connue du Nord Est de l'Amérique du Sud. D'un point de vue morphologique, Pipa aspera est proche de P. arrabali duquel il se distingue toutefois par quelques détails de l'ostéologie crânienne et post-crânienne. De plus, chez P.aspera, le museau est moins déprimé et les yeux sont proportionnellement plus grands que chez P. arrabali. Les narines de Pipa aspera sont également plus larges et plus nettement séparées l'une de l'autre qu'elles ne le sont chez P.arrabali. Une analyse phylogénétique a révélé P.carvalhoi comme étant le taxon soeur de [P. aspera + [P. arrabali + [P. snethlageae + P. pipa]]]. Tout comme chez P. arrabali, les oeufs, pondus en petite quantité, se développent dans le dos de la femelle jusqu'à la métamorphose complète des têtards en jeunes grenouilles. Pipa aspera diffère également des autres Pipidés par son habitat particulier: des flaques alimentées par de l'eau vive et fraîche dans le lit de petites rivières dévalant le long de quelques reliefs marqués du plateau des Guyanes.

Affiliations: 1: Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045-2454, USA; 2: Office National des Forêts, Direction régionale de Guyane, Réserve de Montabo B.P. 7002, 97307 Cayenne Cedex, Guyane française


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