Diamond frogs forever: A new species of Rhombophryne Boettger, 1880 (Microhylidae, Cophylinae) from Montagne d’Ambre National Park, north Madagascar
· Managed by: Mark D. Scherz
Although taxonomic progress on the frogs of Madagascar is currently proceeding at an unprecedented pace, the goal of completing the amphibian inventory of this hyper-diverse island is still far off. In part this is because more new species continue to be discovered at a high rate, in some cases within well-studied areas. Here, I describe Rhombophryne ellae sp. nov., a new species of diamond frog discovered in Montagne d’Ambre National Park in the north of Madagascar in 2017. This new species is highly distinctive in having orange flash-markings on its hindlimbs (not known from any described Rhombophryne), and large, black inguinal spots (larger than in all other described Rhombophryne species). It is separated from all named Rhombophryne by a substantial uncorrected pairwise distance in the 16S rRNA mitochondrial barcode marker (>7%), and is most closely related to an undescribed candidate species from Tsaratanana in northern Madagascar. Rhombophryne ellae sp. nov. adds another taxon to the growing list of cophyline microhylids that have red to orange flash-markings, the function of which remains unknown and which has clearly evolved repeatedly in this radiation. The discovery of such a distinctive species within such a well-studied park points toward the low detectability of semi-fossorial frogs, and the role of inclement weather in increasing that detectability.