Yellow sea mediated segregation between North East Asian Dryophytes species


While comparatively few amphibian species have been described on the North East Asian mainland in the last decades, several species have been the subject of taxonomical debates in relation to the Yellow sea. Here, we sampledDryophytessp. treefrogs from the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China to clarify the status of this clade around the Yellow sea and determine the impact of sea level change on treefrogs' phylogenetic relationships. Based on genetics, call properties, adult morphology, tadpole morphology and niche modelling, we determined the segregated status species ofD.suweonensisandD.immaculatus. We then proceeded to describe a new treefrog species,D.flaviventrissp. nov., from the central lowlands of the Republic of Korea. The new species is geographically segregated fromD.suweonensisby the Chilgap mountain range and known to occur only in the area of Buyeo, Nonsan and Iksan in the Republic of Korea. While the Yellow sea is the principal element to the current isolation of the three clades, the paleorivers of the Yellow sea basin are likely to have been the major factor for the divergences within this clade. We recommend conducting rapid conservation assessments as these species are present on very narrow and declining ranges.