Among the different environments of the Atlantic forest the high altitude areas are habitat for some endemic species of amphibians. Such species can provide evidence to test the hypothesis that mountainous environments provide barriers to the dispersion. Thus, each population can evolve independently, suffering speciation. Ischnocnema holti is a species complex that is found in high altitude areas of the Atlantic forest. Previous works have shown that there is genetic divergence between samples from different locations and that there is misidentification with Ischnocnema lactea. The aims of this study are: (1) to use molecular markers to verify the geographic distribution of genetic variability of Ischnocnema holti in different altitude areas in which it occurs to infer historical processes involved in diversification. (2) To discuss possible effects of altitudinal barriers in the diversity of frogs from elevated areas of the Atlantic forest of southeastern Brazil. (3) To estimate genetic divergence among populations, aiming to clarify the taxonomic conflicts involved.
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