Cophixalus ornatus ( Fry, 1912 )

Hoskin, Conrad J., 2012, Two new frog species (Microhylidae: Cophixalus) from the Australian Wet Tropics region, and redescription of Cophixalus ornatus, Zootaxa 3271, pp. 1-16: 12-14

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.213023

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Cophixalus ornatus ( Fry, 1912 )


Cophixalus ornatus ( Fry, 1912) 

Northern Ornate Nursery-frog ( Figs 2View FIGURE 2 E, 2 F)

Austrochaperina ornata Fry, 1912  , p. 91.

Phrynixalus reginae Andersson, 1916  , p. 4. Synonymy that of Cogger et al. (1983). Sphenophryne variabilis  (non Boulenger, 1896), Procter, 1923, p. 1071. (fide Parker, 1934, p. 1071). Sphenophryne ornata Nieden, 1926  , p. 48 (new combination).

Cophixalus ornatus Parker, 1934  , p. 173 (new combination).

Phrynomantis ornata Loveridge, 1935  , p. 55 (new combination).

Comment on Phrynixalus reginae Andersson, 1916  . The series for this description consisted of 10 specimens from Malanda (collected February 1913) and one from Cedar Creek (collected April 1913). The type locality is taken to be Malanda ( Parker 1934). Cogger et al. (1983) synonymised Phrynixalus reginae  in Cophixalus ornatus  . This synonymy remains because individuals sequenced from Malanda fell within the ‘northern’ genetic lineage of the C. ornatus  species complex (Hoskin, unpub. data), as did individuals from sites in close proximity to Malanda (Lake Eacham, Butchers Ck) (Hoskin et al. 2011).

Type locality for Cophixalus ornatus  . The type locality is stated by Fry (1912) as “ 25 miles [40 km] inland from Cairns”. No further information is available to determine where exactly this refers to. However, as covered in the Introduction, under all conceivable interpretations of “ 25 miles inland from Cairns”, the type locality falls within the distribution of the ‘northern’ genetic lineage of the C. ornatus  species complex (Hoskin et al. 2011).

Comment on paratype. One paratype ( R 30833View Materials) was included in the original description of C. ornatus  , with the collection locality listed as Russell River ( Fry, 1912). This locality does not fall within the range of C. ornatus  but rather falls in the range of C. australis  sp. nov., so this specimen belongs to the latter species.

Material examined. AM R 222, holotype, male, 25 miles inland from Cairns, E. J. Cairn and R. Grant, 1888; QMJ 40620View Materials, Black Mountain, 17 km ESE of Julatten (16 ° 39 ′S, 145 ° 29 ′E); QMJ 53656View Materials, Mt Spurgeon (16 ° 26 ′S, 145 ° 12 ′E); QMJ 53723View Materials, Mt Lewis (16 ° 35 ′S, 145 ° 17 ′E); QMJ 55476View Materials, Streets Ck, 3 km E of Kuranda (16 ° 51 ′S, 145 ° 40 ′E); QMJ 55517View Materials, Mt Lewis (16 ° 35 ′S, 145 ° 17 ′E); QMJ 56514View Materials, Mt Lewis, summit (16 ° 35 ′S, 145 ° 17 ′E); QMJ 61976View Materials, Mt Lewis (16 ° 33 ′ 30 ″S, 145 ° 16 ′ 30 ″E, elevation 1000 m); QMJ 70724View Materials, Lake Eacham NP (17 ° 17 ′ 30 ″S, 145 ° 36 ′ 30 ″E, elevation 1000 m); Additional material: An additional 158 individuals were measured in the field, and mating calls were measured from 45 of these ( Table 2).

Diagnosis. Cophixalus ornatus  can be identified from similar congeners, except C. australis  sp. nov. and C. hinchinbrookensis  sp. nov., by the presence of large, truncated finger pads and by call, which is a ‘beep’ rather than a call with obvious pulses or notes. Cophixalus ornatus  can be reliably identified from C. australis  sp. nov. and C. hinchinbrookensis  sp. nov. genetically, using the loci outlined in Hoskin et al. (2011). For 16 S mtDNA, diagnostic SNPs are presented in Table 3. It can also be readily identified based on distribution. Cophixalus ornatus  does not co-occur with C. hinchinbrookensis  sp. nov. and only narrowly abuts the range of C. australis  sp. nov. ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1). Cophixalus ornatus  differs from C. australis  sp. nov. and C. hinchinbrookensis  sp. nov. in multivariate analyses of mating call and some aspects of morphology (Hoskin et al. 2011), but these three species cannot be distinguished on any known single trait. Regarding colour pattern, the groin and posterior thigh are typically pale yellow in C. ornatus  (vs. no yellow wash in C. australis  sp. nov. and C. hinchinbrookensis  sp. nov.).

Description of holotype ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2 E). AM R 222; male. Measurements (mm): SVL 20.5; TL 9.2; FL 4.8; HW 6.7; HL 5.4; ED 1.8; EN 1.7; IN 1.4; 3 FL 3.1; 3 DW 0.8; 4 TL and 4 DW could not be measured due to damage to the toes. Head: Narrower than body, triangular in dorsal view; snout moderately truncated to rounded at the nares, projecting slightly in profile; canthus rostralis rounded, loreal region steep; nares much closer to tip of snout than to eye, nares anterolateral on tip of snout; eyes large; eye diameter greater than eye to naris distance; internarial distance less than distance from eye to naris; tympanum small (less than half diameter of eye) and moderately distinct beneath overlying skin, bordered dorsally by indistinct supra-tympanic fold. Body: Even width, not rotund. Limbs: Hindlimbs short, forearms relatively long; fingers and toes unwebbed; relative finger length 3> 2> 4> 1; fingers 2, 3 and 4 long and slender with large and truncated discs, first finger short with barely expanded small round disc; low, rounded inner and outer palmar tubercles; subarticular tubercles low, moderately prominent; toe length and disc traits could not be assessed due to damage to the specimen; low, rounded outer metatarsal tubercle; subarticular tubercles low and rounded. Skin: Ventral and dorsal surfaces generally smooth; indistinct supratympanic fold. Colour pattern in preservative: Dorsal surfaces uneven cream-brown, with brown markings on the lateral surface above the axilla and a brown band on the wrist of each forearm; indistinct pale lumbar ocelli bordered posteriorly by a brown marking. Head and loreal region pale, with a faint brown line along tympanic fold. Tympanum pale. White patches at the base of the finger discs. Pale brown colouration on flanks. Ventral surface of head and body cream-brown with light brown smudging, particularly under throat. Ventral surfaces of limbs greybrown; discs brown.

Description of series (N = 9): Data presented as range followed by mean in brackets. Adult measurements (mm): SVL 20.4–24.7 (22.3); TL 8.6–10.1 (9.5); FL 4.7–5.9 (5.3); HW 7.2–8.6 (7.8); HL 5.1–5.8 (5.4); ED 1.8–2.4 (2.1); EN 1.5–1.9 (1.7); IN 1.3–1.8 (1.5); 3 FL 3.2–4.2 (3.7); 3 DW 1.2–1.8 (1.4); 4 TL 4.0– 5.6 (5.1); 4 DW 0.7–1.2 (1.1). Adult proportions: TL/SVL 0.39–0.45 (0.42); FL/SVL 0.22–0.26 (0.24); FL/TL 0.54–0.59 (0.56); HW/SVL 0.32–0.38 (0.35); HL/SVL 0.23–0.25 (0.24); HW/HL 1.37–1.48 (1.44); ED/SVL 0.09–0.10 (0.09); EN/ HL 0.28–0.34 (0.31); EN/IN 1.00– 1.26 (1.14); EN/ED 0.74–0.87 (0.81); 3 FL/SVL 0.15–0.18 (0.17); 3 DW/SVL 0.053–0.073 (0.064); 4 TL/SVL 0.19–0.25 (0.23); 4 DW/SVL 0.032–0.053 (0.047); 3 DW/ 4 DW 1.14–1.64 (1.38). Comparison of sexes: Based on field measurements ( Table 2), females are generally larger (e.g. average SVL 25.5 vs. 23.6), have proportionally larger finger discs, and are bulkier (i.e. heavier relative to SVL). Colour pattern in preservative: Generally (N = 7) light brown background with areas of darker markings like blotches, smudges and bands. One specimen has a broad pale vertebral band with dark bands along edge. One specimen has a thin yellow vertebral stripe, with the strip also being present along the hindlimbs. Consistent features on most specimens are: grey/brown triangle on snout, grey on eyelids, indistinct to distinct dark W-shaped mark on shoulders; pale lumbar ocelli marked behind by dark patch, dark band on lateral surfaces above axilla, dark band from snout through eye and along supratympanic fold; generally a dark band on wrist, pale dots at base of finger and toe pads, some individuals have dark mottling on hindlimbs and lateral surfaces. Some individuals have pale areas evident in the groin and hidden areas of the posterior thigh. Ventral surfaces variable: generally evenly pale cream, grey or light brown (N = 6), dark brown (N = 1), pale with darker mottling (N = 1) or brown with white flecking (N = 1). Undersides of limbs generally light brown white, tubercles and pads generally pale.

Measurements of live individuals. Table 2 presents measurements for 153 males and 5 females in the field.

Colour pattern in life. As for C. australis  sp. nov., except that the groin and posterior thigh are generally pale yellow in C. ornatus  .

Call. A finely pulsed ‘beep’ ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3. A C) of the characteristics outlined in Table 2.

Comparison. See the ‘Comparison’ section for C. australis  sp. nov..

Genetics. Cophixalus ornatus  is the ‘Northern’ lineage referred to in Hoskin et al. (2011). 16 S mtDNA sequences for C. ornatus  are (GenBank accession numbers): JF 743694View Materials, JF 743698View Materials, JF 743700View Materials - 703, JF 743705View Materials, JF 743707View Materials - 709, JF 743711View Materials - 713, JF 743719View Materials, JF 743721View Materials, JF 743723View Materials - 725, JF 743727View Materials, JF 743730View Materials, JF 743735View Materials - 737, JF 743739View Materials, JF 743741View Materials - 743, JF 743746View Materials, JF 743750View Materials, JF 743752View Materials, JF 743755View Materials, JF 743758View Materials - 760 (Hoskin et al. 2011).

Distribution. Found in the northern Wet Tropics: Carbine Tableland (north to Mt Spurgeon), Macalister Range, Kuranda area, Lamb Range, northern Atherton Tablelands and western slope of Mt Bartle Frere ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1; Table 1; Hoskin et al. 2011). The southern extent of the distribution on the Atherton Tablelands is approximately a line between Mt Baldy (near Atherton) and Butchers Ck, with C. ornatus  known to occur at sites at least as far south as: Mt Baldy, Lake Eacham, Gadgarra Forest Reserve, Malanda, Butchers Ck, Gourka Road and the western slope of Mt Bartle Frere ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1; Table 1; Hoskin et al. 2011). Records of C. ornatus  come from 330–1100 m elevation. Cophixalus ornatus  is absent from the lowlands, with considerable survey effort failing to find it at sites <300 m a.s.l.

Habitat and habits. Similar to C. australis  sp. nov. and C. hinchinbrookensis  sp. nov. Inhabits rainforest and adjacent wet slerophyll forest in some areas. Common at many sites throughout range but generally more localised and less abundant at sites than the other two species. Males call during and following wet weather from elevated sites (approximately 0.5–2 m above the ground) such as tree trunks, vines, foliage, dead leaves, and rocks. Breeding behaviour appears similar to that of the other two species, with the male leading the female to a nest using a courtship call. Cophixalus ornatus  is a terrestrial breeder, with small clutches of large eggs ( Zweifel 1985; Hoskin 2004; Hoskin & Hero 2008).














Cophixalus ornatus ( Fry, 1912 )

Hoskin, Conrad J. 2012

Phrynomantis ornata

Loveridge 1935

Cophixalus ornatus

Parker 1934

Sphenophryne ornata

Nieden 1926

Phrynixalus reginae

Andersson 1916

Austrochaperina ornata

Fry 1912