Open Access Research article

Comparative cytogenetic analysis of some species of the Dendropsophus microcephalus group (Anura, Hylidae) in the light of phylogenetic inferences

Lilian Ricco Medeiros1, Luciana Bolsoni Lourenço1*, Denise Cerqueira Rossa-Feres2, Albertina Pimentel Lima3, Gilda Vasconcellos Andrade4, Ariovaldo Antonio Giaretta5, Gabriel Toselli Barbosa Tabosa Egito16 and Shirlei Maria Recco-Pimentel1

Author Affiliations

1 Departamento de Biologia Estrutural e Funcional, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), 13086-863, Campinas, SP, Brazil

2 Departamento de Zoologia e Botânica, Instituto de Biociências, Letras e Ciências Exatas, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), 15054-000, São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, Brazil

3 Coordenadoria de Pesquisas em Ecologia, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), 69011-970, Manaus, AM, Brazil

4 Departamento de Biologia, Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Maranhão (UFMA), Campus do Bacanga, 65080-040, São Luís, MA, Brazil

5 Laboratório de Anuros Neotropicais, Faculdade de Ciências Integradas do Pontal, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, 38304-402, Ituiutaba, MG, Brazil

6 Departamento de Polícia Federal, Ministério da Justiça, 68908-901, Macapá, AP, Brazil

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BMC Genetics 2013, 14:59  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-14-59

Published: 3 July 2013



Dendropsophus is a monophyletic anuran genus with a diploid number of 30 chromosomes as an important synapomorphy. However, the internal phylogenetic relationships of this genus are poorly understood. Interestingly, an intriguing interspecific variation in the telocentric chromosome number has been useful in species identification. To address certain uncertainties related to one of the species groups of Dendropsophus, the D. microcephalus group, we carried out a cytogenetic analysis combined with phylogenetic inferences based on mitochondrial sequences, which aimed to aid in the analysis of chromosomal characters. Populations of Dendropsophus nanus, Dendropsophus walfordi, Dendropsophus sanborni, Dendropsophus jimi and Dendropsophus elianeae, ranging from the extreme south to the north of Brazil, were cytogenetically compared. A mitochondrial region of the ribosomal 12S gene from these populations, as well as from 30 other species of Dendropsophus, was used for the phylogenetic inferences. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred using maximum parsimony and Bayesian analyses.


The species D. nanus and D. walfordi exhibited identical karyotypes (2n = 30; FN = 52), with four pairs of telocentric chromosomes and a NOR located on metacentric chromosome pair 13. In all of the phylogenetic hypotheses, the paraphyly of D. nanus and D. walfordi was inferred. D. sanborni from Botucatu-SP and Torres-RS showed the same karyotype as D. jimi, with 5 pairs of telocentric chromosomes (2n = 30; FN = 50) and a terminal NOR in the long arm of the telocentric chromosome pair 12. Despite their karyotypic similarity, these species were not found to compose a monophyletic group. Finally, the phylogenetic and cytogenetic analyses did not cluster the specimens of D. elianeae according to their geographical occurrence or recognized morphotypes.


We suggest that a taxonomic revision of the taxa D. nanus and D. walfordi is quite necessary. We also observe that the number of telocentric chromosomes is useful to distinguish among valid species in some cases, although it is unchanged in species that are not necessarily closely related phylogenetically. Therefore, inferences based on this chromosomal character must be made with caution; a proper evolutionary analysis of the karyotypic variation in Dendropsophus depends on further characterization of the telocentric chromosomes found in this group.

Chromosome; Phylogeny; Dendropsophus; Anura