An adaptive radiation of frogs in a Southeast Asian island archipelago

Blackburn, D. C., C. D. Siler, A. C. Diesmos, J. A. McGuire, D. C. Cannatella & R. M. Brown. 2013

Living amphibians exhibit a diversity of ecologies, life histories, and species-rich lineages that offers opportunities for studies of adaptive radiation. We characterize a diverse clade of frogs (Kaloula, Microhylidae) in the Philippine island archipelago as an example of an adaptive radiation into three primary habitat specialists or ecotypes. We use a novel phylogenetic estimate for this clade to evaluate the tempo of lineage accumulation and morphological diversification. Because species-level phylogenetic estimates for Philippine Kaloula are lacking, we employ dense population sampling to determine the appropriate evolutionary lineages for diversification analyses. We explicitly take phylogenetic uncertainty into account when calculating diversification and disparification statistics and fitting models of diversification. Following dispersal to the Philippines from Southeast Asia, Kaloula radiated rapidly into several well-supported clades. Morphological variation within Kaloula is partly explained by ecotype and accumulated at high levels during this radiation, including within ecotypes.We pinpoint an axis of morphospace related directly to climbing and digging behaviors and find patterns of phenotypic evolution suggestive of ecological opportunity with partitioning into distinct habitat specialists. We conclude by discussing the components of phenotypic diversity that are likely important in amphibian adaptive radiations.