Miguel Vences

Miguel Vences
Technische Universität Braunschweig · Zoological Institute

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1,132
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Publications (1,132)
Chapter
Although first biogeographic analyses of Madagascar's amphibian fauna were provided by Blommers-Schlösser and Blanc (1993), these could only provide first hints at possible patterns due to incomplete taxonomic and distributional knowledge at the time. Since this pioneering work, the combination of increased field exploration, integrative taxonomy,...
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In order to improve the molecular resources available for conservation management of Madagascar's threatened ichthyofauna, we elaborated a curated database of 2860 mito-chondrial sequences of the mitochondrial COI, 16S and ND2 genes of Malagasy fishes, of which 1141 sequences of freshwater fishes were newly sequenced for this data set. The data set...
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The subgenus Laurentomantis in the genus Gephyromantis contains some of the least known amphibian species of Madagascar. The six currently valid nominal species are rainforest frogs known from few individuals, hampering a full understanding of the species diversity of the clade. We assembled data on specimens collected during field surveys over the...
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Lake sediments represent valuable and widely used archives for tracking environmental and biotic changes over time. Past aquatic communities are traditionally studied via morphological identification of the remains of organisms. However, molecular identification tools, such as DNA metabarcoding, have revolutionized the field of biomonitoring by ena...
Article
Madagascar, one of the largest islands worldwide, is a global biodiversity conservation hot-spot, characterized by its biota's high degree of endemism. More than two thirds of the 169 Malagasy freshwater fish species that so far have been scientifically named are endemic and many also micro-endemic, i.e. only known from restricted regions or even a...
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Mantellid frogs of the Madagascar-endemic Gephyromantis plicifer complex consist of three nominal species (G. luteus, G. plicifer and G. sculpturatus) as well as several genetically divergent lineages (candidate species), but uncertainties surround the identity of the name-bearing types of all three established nomina. We applied laboratory techniq...
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We report anti-predator behavior of an individual of Cruziohyla craspedopus found at Panguana, Departamento Huánuco, Peru. It constitutes the first record of the species for this private protected area and central Peru.
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New genetic, bioacoustic and morphological data on green-coloured Boophis treefrogs from eastern Madagascar reveal an additional level of cryptic diversity in these frogs. Two candidate species, Boophis sp. Ca36 and Ca37, are closely related to each other and to B. sandrae, with uncorrected pairwise distances in the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene as l...
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Biological invasions are on the rise, with each invader carrying a plethora of associated microbes. These microbes play important, yet poorly understood, ecological roles that can include assisting the hosts in colonization and adaptation processes or as possible pathogens. Understanding how these communities differ in an invasion scenario may help...
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Abstract Dwelling in a variety of aquatic habitats, one of the most abundant groups of microcrustaceans, ostracodes, are widely used indicator organisms in paleolimnological research. Typically, they are identified via traditional methods using morphological features but this may be excessively time‐consuming and prone to inter‐investigator variati...
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Zootaxa is a mega-journal that since its inception, 20 years ago, has contributed to the documentation of the planet’s biodiversity. Its role concerning terrestrial vertebrates has been crucial especially for amphibians, which are the most threatened class of vertebrates. As current editors of the Amphibia section, we reviewed the state of knowledg...
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Experimentally assessing the preferred body temperature (T pref) of ectothermic animals is important to understand thermal adaptation. In lizards, this variable is usually estimated by measuring body temperature in thermal gradients. To quantify the extent to which different experimental setups influence the inferred T pref values we submitted 65 i...
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We studied the status of toads of the genus Rhinella collected in the southern Cordillera Azul, central Peru. Molecular analysis of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene revealed them to be members of the recently proposed Rhinella festae species group, and sister to R. lilyrodriguezae, a species known from northern areas of the Cordillera Azul. The new...
Preprint
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Species are the fundamental units of life and their recognition is essential for science and society. DNA barcoding, the use of a single and often mitochondrial gene, has been increasingly employed as a universal approach for the identification of animal species. However, this approach faces several challenges. Here, we demonstrate with empirical d...
Preprint
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While powerful and user-friendly software suites exist for phylogenetics, and an impressive cybertaxomic infrastructure of online species databases has been set up in the past two decades, software specifically targeted at facilitating alpha-taxonomic work, i.e., delimiting and diagnosing species, is still in its infancy. Here we present a project...
Preprint
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A wide range of data types can be used to delimit species and various computer-based tools dedicated to this task are now available. Although these formalized approaches have significantly contributed to increase the objectivity of SD under different assumptions, they are not routinely used by alpha-taxonomists. One obvious shortcoming is the lack...
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Climate has a large impact on diversity and evolution of the world’s biota. The Eocene–Oligocene transition from tropical climate to cooler, drier environments was accompanied by global species turnover. A large number of Old World lacertid lizard lineages have diversified after the Eocene–Oligocene boundary. One of the most speciose reptile genera...
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A new record and range extension for the endangered gecko Paroedura masobe Nussbaum & Raxworthy, 1994 from the highly disturbed forest of Betaikankana, eastern Madagascar.
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Climate has a large impact on diversity and evolution of the world’s biota. The Eocene–Oligocene transition from tropical climate to cooler, drier environments was accompanied by global species turnover. A large number of Old World lacertid lizard lineages have diversified after the Eocene– Oligocene boundary. One of the most speciose reptile gener...
Article
The genus Scaphiophryne (Anura: Microhylidae) contains at least nine species that, together with their probable sister genus Paradoxophyla, form the Madagascar-endemic subfamily Scaphiophryninae. Scaphiophryne are robust burrowing frogs with explosive breeding behavior and are characterized by a unique larval morphology, being intermediate between...
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The Paroedura bastardi clade, a subgroup of the Madagascan gecko genus Paroedura, currently comprises four nominal species: P. bastardi, supposedly widely distributed in southern and western Madagascar, P. ibityensis, a montane endemic, and P. tanjaka and P. neglecta, both restricted to the central west region of the island. Previous work has shown...
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The Paroedura bastardi clade, a subgroup of the Madagascan gecko genus Paroedura , currently comprises four nominal species: P. bastardi , supposedly widely distributed in southern and western Madagascar, P. ibityensis , a montane endemic, and P. tanjaka and P. neglecta , both restricted to the central west region of the island. Previous work has s...
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We report on an introduced population of Italian Cave Salamander (Speleomantes italicus) that has been living in an abandoned quarry of the Solling area, Germany, within a beech forest near the town of Holzminden, since at least 2013. DNA sequences of the mitochondrial genes for 16S rRNA and cytochrome b confirm these specimens being genetically as...
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Gut microorganisms are crucial for many biological functions playing a pivotal role in the host’s well-being. We studied gut bacterial community structure of marine iguana populations across the Galápagos archipelago. Marine iguanas depend heavily on their specialized gut microbiome for the digestion of dietary algae, a resource whose growth was st...
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Evolutionary reduction of adult body size (miniaturization) has profound consequences for organismal biology and is an important subject of evolutionary research. Based on two individuals we describe a new, extremely miniaturized chameleon, which may be the world’s smallest reptile species. The male holotype of Brookesia nana sp. nov. has a snout–v...
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Given that global amphibian population declines are in part associated with environmental thermal preferences of infectious pathogens, assessing variation of field body temperatures can contribute to a preliminary disease risk assessment. We evaluated the field body temperatures of the semi-aquatic frog Mantidactylus (Brygoomantis) bellyi from nort...
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In Brazil’s Atlantic Forest (AF) biodiversity conservation is of key importance since the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has led to the rapid loss of amphibian populations here and worldwide. The impact of Bd on amphibians is determined by the host's immune system, of which the skin microbiome is a critical component. The richn...
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The northern part of Madagascar is well known for its high species diversity and endemism. Exceptional species richness is related to the existence of large forest blocks and mountain complexes. These areas shelter a diverse variety of habitats occupied by a wide diversity of species, including leaf-tailed geckos of the genus Uroplatus. Based on mo...
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The salamander genus Salamandra is widespread across Europe, North Africa, and the Near East and is renowned for its conspicuous and polymorphic colouration and diversity of reproductive modes. The phylogenetic relationships within the genus, and especially among the highly polymorphic species S. salamandra, have been very challenging to elucidate,...
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Taxonomic progress is often hindered by intrinsic factors, such as morphologically cryptic species that require a broad suite of methods to distinguish, and extrinsic factors, such as uncertainties in the allocation of scientific names to species. These uncertainties can be due to a wide variety of factors, including old and poorly preserved type s...
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The chameleon Furcifer voeltzkowi (Boettger, 1893) from northwestern Madagascar was considered to be a synonym of Furcifer rhinoceratus for many decades and was resurrected only recently based on studies of the morphology and osteology of a few male specimens, which were collected more than 100 years ago. However, basic data on this species remain...
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Diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) are characterized by silicified cell walls that favor their long-term preservation in sediments, therefore widely used as bioindicators of present and past water conditions. Alongside with traditional morphological analyses, metabarcoding has become a valuable tool to study the community structures of various organisms,...
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Hybridization can leave genealogical signatures in an organism's genome, originating from the parental lineages and persisting over time. This potentially confounds phylogenetic inference methods that aim to represent evolution as a strictly bifurcating tree. We apply a phylotranscriptomic approach to study the evolutionary history of, and test for...
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Zoologists have widely acknowledged the utility of classification systems for characterising variation in anuran egg and clutch types, tadpole morphotypes, embryonic and tadpole development, amplexus types and reproductive modes. These classification systems have facilitated unambiguous communication between researchers, often working in completely...
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The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), recently introduced from Asia to Europe, causes mortality in numerous species of salamanders and newts and has led to catastrophic declines and local extinctions of the European fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. Due to the continuous spread...
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The salamander plague, caused by the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), is one of the most devastating amphibian diseases, currently threatening the entire Western Palearctic caudate diversity with extinction. Apparently of Asian origin and recently introduced into Europe, Bsal is known from currently ca. 80 sites in...
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Chytridiomycosis, a disease induced by the chytrid fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal), has strongly contributed to the ongoing worldwide amphibian conservation crisis. While Bd infection has caused amphibian declines for decades on several continents, Bsal is a novel threat to Central European salamanders and n...
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The endangered crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) is a reptile species regularly kept in zoos and private collections across Europe, Japan, the United States and other countries. This species had long been thought to represent a single conservation unit, but a recent study show that the population from Vietnam is morphologically, ecologica...
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We describe a new species of arboreal microhylid frog, genus Platypelis , from northeastern Madagascar and report the expansion of distribution ranges of two other species. Platypelis laetussp. nov. is small to medium-sized (24.3–25.6 mm snout-vent length) compared to other Platypelis , exhibits a greenish colored throat and was found in bamboo for...
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The subgenus Mantidactylus is a group of frogs endemic to Madagascar, including the largest anuran species on the island. Although these frogs are common and widely distributed, their taxonomy remains unclear. Two species are currently recognised, M. grandidieri and M. guttulatus, with another available name, Rana pigra, considered to be a synonym...
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We studied the genetic variability of Platypelis species (Anura: Microhylidae) with red flash marks from Madagascar based on mitochon-drial (16S rRNA) and nuclear (RAG1) genes. Our molecular phylogenetic results suggest that the red colour evolved independently in the Platypelis barbouri complex and P. milloti and confirm the validity of a long-kno...
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Natural history collections are leading successful large-scale projects of specimen digitization (images, metadata, DNA barcodes), transforming taxonomy into a big data science. Yet, little effort has been directed towards safeguarding and subsequently mobilizing the considerable amount of original data generated during the process of naming 15-20,...
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Madagascar's biota is characterized by a high degree of microendemism at different taxonomic levels, but how colonization and in-situ speciation contribute to the assembly of local species communities has rarely been studied in this island. Here we analyze the phylogenetic relationships of riparian frogs of the Mantidactylus ambreensis species comp...
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Following publication of the original paper [1], it was reported that an error in the processing of Fig. 8 occurred. In the online HTML version of the article, Fig. 8 was presented as a duplication of Fig. 7. The original article [1] has been corrected.
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Based on a large number of specimens and genetic samples, we revise the chameleons of the phenetic Calumma nasutum species group using an integrative taxonomic approach including external and hemipenial morphology, osteology, and sequences of a mitochondrial (ND2) and a nuclear gene (c-mos). After more than 180 years of taxonomic uncertainty, the e...
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Abstract Background: Host-associated microbiomes, the microorganisms occurring inside and on host surfaces, influence evolutionary, immunological, and ecological processes. Interactions between host and microbiome affect metabolism and contribute to host adaptation to changing environments. Meta-analyses of host-associated bacterial communities ha...
Conference Paper
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Seit 2008 wurde in den südöstlichen Niederlanden ein dramatischer Einbruch der Feuersalamanderpopulation beobachtet. 2013 wurde mit der Beschreibung des Krankheitserregers die Ursache erkannt. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, kurz Bsal, ist ein Amphibien-Hautpilz, der vor allem für Feuersalamander, aber auch für Molche, eine große Gefahr darstell...
Preprint
Background: Differences in the trophic niche often underlie ecological specialization of individuals and can promote ecological speciation of populations, but studies showing a link between differences in the trophic niche and genetic differentiation of populations are rare. On the island of San Cristóbal (Galapágos archipelago), a strong genetic d...
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In the absence of evidence suggesting former ice or land bridges, the colonization of remote landmasses by non‐aquatic, non‐flying vertebrates is thought to result from long‐distance over‐water rafting (LDOR). However, Mazza et al. (2019) challenge the notion that mammals can make such journeys citing their perceived physiological inadequacies. The...
Article
Amphibians, the most severely declining vertebrate class, are especially threatened by pathogenic chytrid fungi. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) was most likely introduced from Asia to Europe. Here, it causes mortal skin diseases (chytridiomycosis) and Bsal-caused mass mortalities in fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra). Individuals of...