Identifying old and new frogs (Amolops) from Myanmar, formally known as Burma.

amolops marmoratus

The photograph above is Amolops marmoratus recently collected from Myanmar.

My former student (Allison Fuiten - pictured below) and I are working in collaboration with Jeff Wilkinson at the California Academy of Sciences and Ozlen Konu at Bilkent University have recently identified a new species from Myanmar, as well as resurrecting an old species using both DNA and morphmetrics.

Adult Amolops frogs exhibit a high degree of morphological similarity perhaps due to their wide distribution throughout S. E. Asia and specialization for the swift currents of mountain streams (Duellman and Trueb, 1986). The distinct species are recognized by only a few minor morphological characteristics and this unfortunately has led to several Amolops specimens being mis-identified (Bain et al., 2006). Currently four Amolops species are recognized to inhabit Myanmar. The most broadly distributed of the four is A. marmoratus, however, it has only been reportedly collected in the southeast near the border of Thailand and since the time of its first discovery by Blyth (1855) several others have described the same species (a search in the amphibian online database reveals 17 synomies exist for A. marmoratus. Several similar specimens were collected and initially identified as A. marmoratus. However analysis of molecular data (16S ribosomal gene) produced four distinct, highly supported clades which are supported by morphometric analyses. We have determined that that these are members of a cryptic species complex made up of several distinct species.

Amolops indoburmanensis from Kachin, Myanmar.


The photograph above are of preserved specimen from the California Academy of Science collection that have been identified as distinct species from all other Amolops. They are from different geographic regions, the one on the left is from Shan (A. marmoratus), the one in the middle frm Chin (A. afghanus) and the and the one on the right is from Kachin (A. indoburmanensis). Results are in a recently published manuscript in Copeia: Cryptic torrent frogs of Myanmar: an examination of the Amolops marmoratus species complex with the resurrection of Amolops afghanus and the Identification of a new species.

Allison Fuiten - Former Biology graduate of the University of San Francisco, perfoming a DNA isolation on frog tissue collected from Myanmar.