Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 287–303 | Cite as

From a lost world: an integrative phylogenetic analysis of Ansonia Stoliczka, 1870 (Lissamphibia: Anura: Bufonidae), with the description of a new species

  • Lea E. Waser
  • Manuel Schweizer
  • Alexander Haas
  • Indraneil Das
  • André Jankowski
  • Pui Yong Min
  • Stefan T. HertwigEmail author
Original Article


While the island of Borneo is considered a global biodiversity hotspot, the species richness in many groups remains unknown and appears underestimated. During herpetological surveys carried out in the interior of Sarawak, East Malaysia, several individuals of a small species of the genus Ansonia Stoliczka 1870 were collected on the Usun Apau plateau and in the Gunung Hose mountain range (Ansonia sp. Usun Apau). An integrative taxonomic approach comprising phylogenetic (2.4 kb mitochondrial rDNA fragment, Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood, >5.1 % to its closest relative) and morphometric analyses (25 measurements, multivariate ratio analysis and linear discriminant analysis), as well as morphological comparisons support the status of this operational taxonomic unit as a separate taxon at species level. The obtained phylogenetic hypothesis corroborates the two major clades within Ansonia found in previous studies. Within Clade One Ansonia sp. Usun Apau and the enigmatic Ansonia torrentis are part of a monophyletic group of the Bornean species Ansonia hanitschi, Ansonia minuta, Ansonia platysoma, Ansonia spinulifer, Ansonia vidua, and two additional undescribed taxa. This subclade must be considered as the result of an on-island radiation in the complex evolution of Ansonia. The new species is formally described including the identification of diagnostic morphometric traits. Ansonia sp. Usun Apau is endemic to two isolated mountain ridges in central Sarawak and must be considered as a new element of the unique diversity of the Bornean amphibian fauna that is potentially threatened by habitat loss at least in parts of its range.


Ansonia teneritas New species Integrative taxonomy Phylogeny Diversity Evolution Morphometrics Usun Apau Borneo Mitochondrial DNA 



The Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, Malaysia, especially Munirah Abd. Manan, helped by issuing permission to conduct research in Malaysia. We thank the Sarawak Forest Department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation, in particular Nur Afiza binti Umar, Dayang Nuriza binti Abang Abdillah, Mohamad bin Kohdi, Engkamat anak Lading, Oswald Braken Tisen, Datu Haji Ali Yusop, and Mohd. Shabudin Sabki, for providing advice and issuing permits. Our Usun Apau expedition benefited significantly from Willie Kajan’s knowledge and organization. Hannes Baur is thanked for his help with morphometric analyses, while Beatrice Blöchlinger and Chris Sherry performed technical tasks with admirable skills. We are particularly grateful to the Burgergemeinde Bern and Leder Fuchs, Göppingen, for their generous support of our fieldwork. For permission to examine material under their care, we thank Colin McCarthy (BMNH), Alan Resetar and Robert Inger (FMNH), Margarita Naming (SBC), Charles Leh Moi Ung (SM), David Edwards and Helen Pang (UBD), and Peter Kee Lin Ng and Kelvin Kok Peng Lim (ZRC). PYM and ID were supported by NRGS/1087/2013(01). Finally, we thank Lucy Cathrow who revised the language of this manuscript and two anonymous reviewers whose helpful comments contributed significantly to the improvement of this publication.

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Compliance with ethical standards

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

13127_2016_294_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 2088 kb)


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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lea E. Waser
    • 1
    • 2
  • Manuel Schweizer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alexander Haas
    • 3
  • Indraneil Das
    • 4
  • André Jankowski
    • 3
  • Pui Yong Min
    • 4
  • Stefan T. Hertwig
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Ecology and EvolutionUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum HamburgHamburgGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental ConservationUniversiti Malaysia SarawakKota SamarahanMalaysia

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