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Reed bamboos drive skull shape evolution in bush frogs of the Western Ghats, Peninsular India

Das, K and Rödel, M-O and Stanley, E and Srikanthan, AN and Shanker, K and Vijayakumar, SP (2023) Reed bamboos drive skull shape evolution in bush frogs of the Western Ghats, Peninsular India. In: Ecology and Evolution, 13 (9).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.10493


Reed bamboo is a major ecological and economic resource for many animals, including humans. Nonetheless, the influence of this plant's evolutionary role on the morphology of animal species remains unexplored. Here, we investigated the significance of bamboo habitats as ecological opportunities in shaping the skull morphology of bush frogs (Raorchestes) from the Western Ghats, Peninsular India. We applied a three-dimensional (3D) geometric morphometric approach to capture the skull shape of 55 species of bush frogs. We visualized the skull shape variables in phylomorphospace with principal component analysis and performed phylogenetic generalized least-squares analysis to assess the impact of cranial size (evolutionary allometry) and habitat (bamboo or non-bamboo) on cranial shape. We quantified the morphological disparity between bamboo and non-bamboo bush frogs' skull shape, and employed RRphylo, a phylogenetic ridge regression method, to access the evolutionary rate and rate shifts of skull shape change. The phylomorphospace delineated bamboo and non-bamboo bush frogs. While cranial shape exhibited a significant but smaller association with size, its association with habitat type was non-significant. We detected, however, significant differences in skull shape between the two frog groups, with bamboo frogs showing higher morphological disparity and a remarkable shift in the evolutionary rate of skull shape diversification. These findings underscore the role of reed bamboo in the evolution of skull shape in the radiation of frogs, endemic to the Western Ghats. We demonstrate that the association between the members of two distinct endemic clades (bamboo reeds and bamboo frogs) is the outcome of a deep-time ecological opportunity that dates back to the Miocene. © 2023 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Ecology and Evolution
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Authors.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2023 10:55
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2023 10:55
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/83127

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