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Peer-Review Record

A New Genus of Terrestrial-Breeding Frogs (Holoadeninae, Strabomantidae, Terrarana) from Southern Peru

Diversity 2020, 12(5), 184;
by Alessandro Catenazzi 1,*, Luis Mamani 2,3, Edgar Lehr 4 and Rudolf von May 5
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 184;
Submission received: 7 April 2020 / Revised: 1 May 2020 / Accepted: 6 May 2020 / Published: 8 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics and Conservation of Neotropical Amphibians and Reptiles)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

This study presents a phylogenetic analysis of holoadenine frogs and detects a new clade that is described as a new genus. The decision to erect a new genus is defensible, but the actual taxonomic act itself could use some work. In particular, the diagnosis needs to be re-worked to better support and justify the taxonomic change, the existing literature bearing on the holoadenine frogs needs to be better summarized (there are many statements about published literature that are clearly erroneous), and ancillary details from the phylogeny (e.g., non-monophyly of Noblella) that are currently referred to in passing either need to be expanded upon so that these results are placed in proper context or else removed as outside the scope of the paper. Specific comments are given by line below:


Line 44 – The comma seems to be in the wrong place here. Citations are also lacking.

Lines 47-58 – The format is inconsistent when authors of studies are subjects or objects of sentences. Sometimes the author names are missing, making it seem like a number is a proper noun in some sentences (for example, lines 47, 50, 51); other times author names and year are given (for example, lines 56, 58). It would make the most sense to format these instances as “Smith et al. [1]” to better match the reference format of the journal and make the sentences more comprehensible.

Line 54 – This isn’t true. “definition” has a specific meaning in zoological nomenclature and all the genera named in Hedges et al. have explicit morphological definitions. It is correct to say that they were discovered or recognized on the basis of molecular data rather than morphological synapomorphies.

Line 57 – it would be useful to expand the background on the descriptions of the additional 12 Bryophryne, at least describing 1) what is known of their evolutionary relationships based on additional molecular work that has been done involving the genus (in the Von May, Catenazzi, and De la Riva papers), 2) the geographic distributions of the newer species in comparison to the two species originally placed in the genus, and 3) the tympanic membrane character (though I realize it is brought up a little later).

Line 58 – I think “four” supposed to be forty here? There were six genera and 37 species assigned to Holoadeninae according to Hedges et al. Also, it would be useful to state that the increase since then is driven by new species descriptions rather than taxonomic reassignments from Phrynopus, Pristimantis, etc.

Line 59 – it should be clarified what is being referred to here. De la Riva et al erected the genus for Bolivian species of Psychrophrynella, not Holoadeninae in general. There are still Bolivian species of Holoaden and Noblella. Also, nearly all species currently in Microkayla were formerly placed in Psychrophrynella, not just one. The only species that have solely been assigned to Micrkayla are the ones described in the same paper by De la Riva et al that described the genus.

Line 83 – the abstract and table list 12S and Tyr as well.

Table 1 – the table would be easier to read if missing gene fragments were just left empty instead of filling with “na”

Table 2 – what about CO1 primers? It appears that new CO1 sequences were obtained, assuming the asterisks in table 1 represent the new sequences.

Line 113 – earlier it said that the outgroup was Haddadus binotatus

Line 155-6 – this is awkwardly phrased and just repeats what was stated immediately above.

Line 173 – genera should be used here instead of clades since genus-level differentiation is what is relevant

Figure 3 – This presumably represents type localities and should be clarified as such. Also there’s no reason not to identify which Bryophryne occurs at each locality. There seem to be two Bryophryne and seven Microkayla missing, so it should be clarified in the figure legend whether this is because there is no known type locality, there are multiple species at the same type locality, or they occur outside the limits of the map.

Line 191 – The type species should be written using its original combination and citation

Line 193 – gymnotis does not need to be included here since it was already designated as the type species above

Lines 209-221 – this paragraph of the diagnosis needs to be re-worked. The statement that “there currently are no diagnostic traits to differentiate species of Microkayla from Qosqophryne” suggests that the diagnosis explicitly violates article 13.1.1 of the code  (“be accompanied by a description or definition that states in words characters that are purported to differentiate the taxon”). It reads more as an argument to not erect a new genus than to erect one, and should be deleted. A number of seemingly diagnostic characters are provided in this same paragraph anyway (tongue shape, ventral skin texture, tarsal tubercles/folds). The statement that none of these traits are synapomorphies is not true. How is it known that none are synapomorphies for the new genus? Also, De la Riva et al explicitly list three traits as putative synapomorphies for Microkalya. The diagnosis should also consider the other genera of Holoadeninae as well, not just Microkalya.

Line 210 – “call” should presumably be “sac” here

Line 248 – it is odd to refer to a genus using the possessive “our”

Line 252 – this statement does not make sense. How does taking consideration of taxonomic stability reflect evolutionary history? The most stable taxonomy would be one that never changes, even when it was shown to not reflect evolutionary history.

Line 255 – why not provide examples?

Lines 256-284 – I don’t understand the relevance of this section. The nomenclatural act of shifting species was already accomplished in the genus description, and there is nothing in this paper that changes taxonomy or nomenclature at the species level that would necessitate listing their type series of each species.

Line 288 – gene coverage is an incorrect claim. There are a number of papers that use more genes and provide insight into holoadenine relationships.

Lines 291-293 – none of these conclusions are mentioned in the results at all, pointed out using the associated phylogeny, contextualized according to the associated literature, or detailed at all. What is the taxonomic uncertainty between Noblella and Psychrophrynella? Does this phylogeny show anything different compared to previous works? How many undescribed species are implied? What are they? Are there plans to describe them?

Author Response

We thank the reviewer for comments and suggestions. Our point-by-point response is in the attached Word document.

Author Response File: Author Response.docx

Reviewer 2 Report

This taxonomically focused paper splits three species of frog currently in Bryophryne into a new genus Qosqophryne based on molecular data and descriptive morphological and bioacoustics data. This is a well written and important paper that will further improve the taxonomy of this fascinating group of frogs.


General Comments:

- You should state the name of the new genus somewhere in the abstract. I would also consider inserting it into the title somehow.

- You speak about the ranges and micro-endemism in the final paragraph if the discussion, but I was still wondering if any of these species in the genera you refer to are ever found at the same site (sympatry)? In either case, I think it is worth making it very clear if they are or aren’t. If they aren’t, there could certainly be some nice discussion as to why you think they aren’t.

- I am curious as to why there was not some type of morphological analysis done (ex. PCA, DFA), given that you likely have morphological measurements for all these genera and species. This may not be critical, but would certainly be nice to see and could be easy to include if you have the data already.


Specific Comments:

Lines 36-37 – define what puna and paramo are, or add a descriptor; ex. puna plateau, paramo ecosystem

Line 47, 50, and throughout the manuscript – when directly referring to author names in the text you are replacing it with the citation number, which is odd and reads awkwardly. If this is the formatting guidelines of the journal then this is okay I guess, but it seems more appropriate in these cases to refer to the author then put the year in brackets line you do in line 56 and 58; ex. ‘such that Hedges et al. [1] proposed...’. In either case you should be consistent with these in-text citation styles.

Line 81 – change Genbank to GenBank

Table 2  – why does this table not include primers for 12S or COI?

Figure 2  – I suggest putting some group labels on this tree to highlight the clades you are talking about including: Bryophryne, Microkayla, Noblella, etc...

I also suggest that in the tree you label the species in the newly described genus with their new names (ex. Qosqophryne flammiventris sp nov.) and highlight/label the clade with the new genus name.

Figure 3 – I am confused by this map figure because it labelled as the ‘geographic distribution’ of these genera, but there is only one locality for each species. Are all species within these genera known from only one locality? Or are these the holotype localities? Are none of these species listed on the map found in sympatry? If there are multiple localities per species it would be nice to have some range estimate (colored blob maybe) to show their actual range.

Line 238 – there is a very large gap between ‘Privada’ and ‘Abra’

Line 289 – you say “provides the strongest support...”, but the posterior probability is 0.98 and not 1. I suggest either saying “provides strong support...” or “provides the strongest support to date...”

Author Response

We thank the reviewer for comments and suggestions. Our point-by-point response is in the attached Word document.

Author Response File: Author Response.docx

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

The revised manuscript does a good job of placing the study in the context of published work and supporting the erection of a new genus. I don't think any changes to content are needed at this point. I did not detect any easily noticeable typographical errors in this version of the manuscript. 

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