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Morphological variation and ecological distribution of co-occurring larval forms of Oreolalax (Anura: Pelobatidae)

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

The amphibian fauna of Sichuan Province, China, is remarkable for the large number of species of pelobatid frogs, of which species of Oreolalax form a large portion. We have collected larvae of five species of Oreolalax on Mt. Emei, Sichuan, four of these five at a second locality 40 km from Mt. Emei, and larvae of two additional species at a locality 200 km S of Mt. Emei. These tadpoles are very similar to one another morphologically, a conclusion supported by multivariate analysis. We give diagnostic descriptions and a key for the identification of these seven larval forms. All tadpoles of Oreolalax have lotic habits, and the seven species in our study live in small to medium-sized streams (maximum width 8 m). These species show only moderate ecological segregation in terms of stream size and microhabitat type.

Affiliations: 1: Chengdu Institute of Biology, P.O. Box 416, Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC; 2: Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, 60605 USA; 3: Department of Zoology, University of California, Davis, California, 95616 USA


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