Building bridges between environmental and political agendas is essential nowadays in face of the increasing human pressure on natural environments, including wetlands. Wetlands provide critical ecosystem services for humanity and can generate a considerable direct or indirect income to the local communities. To meet many of the sustainable development goals, we need to move our trajectory from the current environmental destructive development to a wiser wetland use. The current article contain a proposed agenda for the Pantanal aiming the improvement of public policy for conservation in the Pantanal, one of the largest, most diverse, and continuous inland wetland in the world. We suggest and discuss a list of 11 essential interfaces between science, policy, and development in region linked to the proposed agenda. We believe that a functional science network can booster the collaborative capability to generate creative ideas and solutions to address the big challenges faced by the Pantanal wetland.
Paradoxical frogs (Pseudae) have been difficult to characterize morphologically, and their phylogenetic affinities have long remained elusive despite several taxonomic revisions of the group. Based on the analysis of 1388 specimens we evaluate morphological characters used to identify and group species throughout their distributions. We also suggest other, previously unreported phylogenetically informative morphological characters and evaluate morphometric differences among species. The geographic distribution of Pseudae in Brazil confirms, to a certain degree, their association with hydrographic basins. Geographic variation in morphology is extensive in some species. Some characters traditionally used to identify species (e.g. stripes on the ventral surface of the thigh) vary extensively among populations, and in most cases do not distinguish among species. Body shape differences, skin texture, size and number of carpal and metatarsal tubercles, supernumerary tubercles, vocal sac structure, dorsal coloration, ventral stripes on the thigh, and geographic distribution need to be considered together to correctly identify species. Size of reproductive Pseudis varies considerably, most likely as a response to local conditions altering larval size at metamorphosis, given that postmetamorphic growth is reduced or absent in Pseudis. The previously suggested suite of ecological characters that allow disproportionate larval growth are therefore substantiated, while the paradox of a conserved body plan coupled with extensive character variation is implicated as the cause for confusion in the taxonomy of paradoxical frogs.
Loss and fragmentation of natural habitats are key contributors to the decline of populations and impoverishment of biological communities. The response to these disturbances can vary substantially among taxa and depends on spatial metrics of habitat fragments and the surrounding landscape. Herein we test how fragment area, shape, isolation, and matrix quality affect reptile richness, abundance, and occurrence in Brazilian Atlantic Forest fragments, a biodiversity hotspot with a poorly studied reptile fauna. We used 23 forest fragments, ranging from 2 to 30 hectares, surrounded by different matrix types, including sugarcane crop fields, cattle ranching, subsistence farmlands and rural communities. Species richness, total reptile abundance, population abundance, and occurrence probability of many species decreased with fragment area. Model selection suggested that fragment area is the main predictor of both richness and abundance, but matrix quality as well as fragment shape are also important predictors. For population abundance and occurrence probability, fragment area and proximity were the most important predictors followed by fragment shape and matrix quality, but the strength and even the sign of predictors varied substantially among species. We highlight that the value of small fragments should not be neglected for the conservation of Atlantic Forest reptiles.
Recently, Proceratophrys cristiceps was redescribed along with the description of two species from the Caatinga biome: P. aridus and P. caramaschii. However, only a small fraction of the populations related to such species in Northeastern Brazil was examined, and most populations of central Caatinga were not contemplated in this analysis. Comparisons were also based exclusively on external morphology, precluding a more accurate delimitation of such taxa in the light of multiple characters. Such geographic paucity and reliance in only one data source caused the species status of most central Caatinga populations to be uncertain. Thus, the revision of Proceratophrys populations from the Caatinga biome is of utmost importance to establish a solid taxonomic background and to test the validity of the described species. Based on morphologic, morphometric, acoustic, and multilocus genetic data, we define the range of inter‐ and intrapopulation variation in the parameters we analyzed, establishing which ones are useful as diagnostic characters for Proceratophrys in the Caatinga. We found no evidence supporting P. aridus and P. caramaschii as distinct species and thus place them as junior synonyms of P. cristiceps. Our results reinforce the importance of using multiple lines of evidence to avoid taxonomic instability.
Larval and bioacoustical characters are crucial for anuran systematics. Nevertheless, advertisement calls and larval morphology of most Neotropical anuran species are unknown. Lysapsus is a peculiar group of aquatic frogs that have been subject to recurrent taxonomic changes. Recent molecular phylogenetic and external morphology work gave support for some of the recognized species (L. laevis and L. caraya), but considerable doubt remains over the distinction among L. limellum and L. bolivianus. We describe the tadpoles of L. caraya and L. bolivianus, the advertisement call of L. laevis, and redescribe the advertisement calls of L. caraya, L. limellum, and L. bolivianus. Our results support the genus based on larval and bioacoustical characters. Lysapsus caraya and L. laevis have distinct advertisement calls, but no visual or statistically significant differences were observed between advertisement calls of L. limellum and L. bolivianus. Tadpoles of L. caraya, L. limellum, and L. bolivianus are similar based on external morphology and contrast against the distinct tadpole of L. laevis. Considerable doubt is raised on the validity of L. bolivianus, which either is a junior synonym of L. limellum or constitutes a cryptic species based on currently available data. Data on osteology, musculature, and chondrocranium, allied to robust phylogeographic analyses will help clarify the taxonomic status of these two putative species and the biogeographic relationships between the Amazon and the Paraná River basins.
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