Comprehensive Description

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Description

Boophis ulftunni is a small frog, with males having an SVL of 21.8 to 24.2 mm, and females ranging from 32.0 to 37.1 mm in SVL. This frog has a slender body, with the head as long as it is wide, and also wider than the body. The snout is rounded in dorsal profile, and slightly truncate in lateral profile, with lateral nostrils located closer to the tip of the snout than to the eyes. The tympanum is distinct, rounded and measures approximately 40% the diameter of the eye. No supratympanic fold is present. The canthus rostralis and loreal region are slightly concave. Vomerine teeth are distinct and located posteromedian to the small and rounded choanae. The limbs are slender with single subarticular tubercles under the fingers and no recognizable metacarpal tubercles on the hands. The fingers are weakly webbed, and have moderately enlarged discs. Males have small, unpigmented nuptial pads on the inner side of the first finger. The relative length of the fingers is as follows: 1<2<4<3. On the feet, there is a distinct inner metarsal tubercle but no outer metatarsal tubercle. Toe discs are also slightly enlarged, with a relative toe length of 1<2<5=3<4. The skin is smooth, with the exception of the belly and around the cloacal opening, where the skin is glandular.

Dorsally, this frog is translucent green, with a dorsolateral metallic-cream white line. Pink spots accompany the dorsolateral white line and extend posteriorly from the snout tip, converging at the urostyle. On the top of the head, the supraorbital reddish-brown to pink spots merge into a single Y-shaped blotch in the middle. Irregular pink spots and blotches are also scattered on the dorsum, flanks, knees, and upper limbs, occasionally accompanied by metallic-cream white marks. The iris has an outer yellow and inner purple area. Toes and finger discs are green. A blue hue was observed on the thighs and posterior dorsum of specimens from Marojejy National Park, as well as a thin brownish-pink dorsolateral line reaching each nostril.

Specimens were collected from two protected areas in Madagascar, but genetic divergence suggest more than one species may currently be included within what is currently considered "Boophis ulftunnis".

Molecular analysis of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene suggests B. ulftunni appears to be most closely related to the B. microtympanum group, but is itself a distinct evolutionary lineage. While B. ulftunni shows strong phenotypic similarities (reddish-pink dorsal blotches, a Y-shaped head blotch, and translucent green body color) to the B. rappiodes group, B. ulftunni is smaller and does not have transparent ventral skin, and pairwise genetic distances between the two groups are too high to consider them sister taxa.

The single specimen from Marojejy National Park showed pairwise genetic divergence of 5% with the type specimen of B. ulftunni, as well as morphological differences from the holotype in webbing formula, having nostrils closer to the eye, increased pink spotting, and blue coloration on the thighs and posterior dorsum. Therefore, it is possible that, as it currently stands, B. ulftunni represents more than one species.

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