Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1531–1559 | Cite as

The amphibians of the relict Betampona low-elevation rainforest, eastern Madagascar: an application of the integrative taxonomy approach to biodiversity assessments

  • Gonçalo M. Rosa
  • Franco Andreone
  • Angelica Crottini
  • J. Susanne Hauswaldt
  • Jean Noël
  • Nirhy H. Rabibisoa
  • Miora O. Randriambahiniarime
  • Rui Rebelo
  • Christopher J. Raxworthy
Original Paper


The Strict Nature Reserve of Betampona protects one of the last remaining relicts (about 2,228 ha) of low elevation rainforests in eastern Madagascar. Yet little has been previously published about the amphibian fauna of this rainforest. During 2004 and 2007, Betampona was surveyed over a total period of 102 days. Frogs were searched by opportunistic searching, pitfall trapping and acoustic surveys. The survey work confirmed the occurrence of 76 taxa, of which 36 are currently candidate species and about 30% were first considered as undescribed species. The identification of species included a multidimensional and integrative approach that links morphology, bioacoustics, ecology and genetics. Of these taxa, 24 species are potentially endemic to this low elevation eastern region. Considering the relatively small area of the Betampona forest, and its narrow elevational range, 76 amphibian species represents an unusually high richness compared to other sites in Madagascar. Although the eastern region is now largely deforested, our results reveal the importance of this relict forest, which is protecting a diverse amphibian fauna that includes many potentially endemic species.


Amphibian conservation Bioacoustics DNA barcoding Batrachofauna Primary rainforest Species richness 



We are grateful to the local staff of Madagascar National Parks and to the Malagasy authorities for the permits supporting our research activity. The Betampona field survey was carried out in collaboration with the Département de Biologie Animale (University of Antananarivo), Parc Botanique et Zoologique de Tsimbazaza (Antananarivo) and the Madagascar Fauna Group. We extend our thanks to A. Bollen, K. Freeman, A. Katz, G. Kett, I. Porton and C. Welch of the Madagascar Fauna Group; the porters in the field (Bezara Augustin, Clément, Honoré Lava, Intsosona, Jaonah Bemitory, Leba Jean-Paul, Maniarison, Rakoto Venance, Randrianasolo Lucien, Randrianjafy Honoré, Seta Christophe Léonard and Solo), the cooks (Anastasie Razanamaria, Roalahy Justin and Sylvain), our driver (Todivelo) and all the people from Rendrirendry for their unconditional/crucial help, without whom this project could not have been possible. We are also grateful to M. Kondermann, G. Keunecke and E. Saxinger for their help in the laboratory. J. E. Randrianirina and A. F. Ranjanaharisoa greatly assisted us in the field. C. Rondinini and P. Eusebio Bergò for helping with GIS. This research project was partially financially supported by Wildcare Institute, Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, and Gondwana Conservation and Research. C.J. Raxworthy’s fieldwork was financially supported by National Science Foundation (DEB 99–84496). The work of A.C. was supported by a grant (Borsa di perezionamento all’estero) of the Università degli Studi di Milano.

Supplementary material

10531_2012_262_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (118 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 119 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gonçalo M. Rosa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Franco Andreone
    • 3
  • Angelica Crottini
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • J. Susanne Hauswaldt
    • 4
  • Jean Noël
    • 7
  • Nirhy H. Rabibisoa
    • 8
  • Miora O. Randriambahiniarime
    • 8
  • Rui Rebelo
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Raxworthy
    • 9
  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia Animal, Centro de Biologia Ambiental, Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, School of Anthropology and ConservationUniversity of KentCanterburyUK
  3. 3.Museo Regionale di Scienze NaturaliTurinItaly
  4. 4.Division of Evolutionary Biology, Zoological InstituteTechnical University of BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany
  5. 5.Dipartimento di Biologia, Sezione di Zoologia e CitologiaUniversita’ degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  6. 6.CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos GenéticosVairãoPortugal
  7. 7.Madagascar Fauna GroupToamasinaMadagascar
  8. 8.Département de Biologie AnimaleUniversité d’AntananarivoAntananarivoMadagascar
  9. 9.Department of HerpetologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

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