Lack of phylogeographic structure in the endangered Pickersgill’s Reed Frog; Hyperolius pickersgilli (Raw, 1982)

Antoinette Kotze, Taryn M.C. Ralph, Lisa N Barrow, Jeanne Tarrant, Louis du Preez, M. Thabang Madisha, Desire Lee Dalton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Endangered Pickersgill’s Reed Frog (Hyperolius pickersgilli) is
endemic to South Africa and restricted to the KwaZulu-Natal
(KZN) coast. The natural habitat of H. pickersgilli is limited to
fragmented patches of coastal reed-bed wetland, the majority of
which continues to undergo transformation and degradation
caused by urbanisation, agriculture, mining and forestry. These
changes have resulted in the steady reduction of suitable, quality
habitat and severe fragmentation. In the current study we
employed mitochondrial DNA and species-specific microsatellites
markers (developed in the current study) to investigate the
genetic structure and diversity of H. pickersgilli. Genetic markers
revealed moderate to high levels of genetic diversity throughout
the remnant groups and absence of specific phylogeographic
structure among individuals sampled across twelve localities
throughout the range of the species. Results from the current
study indicate that gene flow between H. pickersgilli individuals is
not restricted, whereby neighbouring groups may interact with
each other through continued migration, thereby facilitating
possible range expansion should habitat be available. However,
the need for continued conservation of the H. pickersgilli
population through the protection and management of its natural
habitats should remain a top priority in order to conserve
representative levels of genetic diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalAfrican Journal of Herpetology
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2019


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