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Morphological diversity in the autopodium of salamanders and newts (Caudata: Lissamphibia): relations with ecological aspects and diversification rates

Grant number: 18/00873-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2018
Effective date (End): December 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:Tiana Kohlsdorf
Grantee:Stella Marco Kyomen
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/07650-6 - Ecology, evolution and development (Eco-Evo-Devo) in the Brazilian herpetofauna, AP.TEM


The evolutionary history of Tetrapoda is marked by several events of morphological diversification, in which many of them resulted in variations in the locomotor appendices. Such events involved, independently, the loss of one or more digits in the autopodium of specific lineages. Among tetrapods, the living representants of Lissamphibia exhibit remarkable variations in the digit number and phalangeal formulas that are potentially associated to ecological aspects, such as the use of specific microhabitats. The order Caudata includes the salamanders and newts and it is characterized by a great taxonomic, ecological and morphological diversity which is highlighted by its considerable species richness and interspecific variation in the number of digits present in the autopodium. Despite of such knowledge regarding its great diversity, the current literature lacks a detailed mapping of digit variation in this clade as well as specific hypotheses testing the ecological and evolutionary correlates of patterns of digit variation in Caudata. The evaluation of these patterns in a ecomorphological and macroevolutionary perspective can elucidate questions related to the influence of ecological regimes in the process of morphological and species richness diversification in Caudata. In this context, the present project aim to identify the variation of digit number and phalangeal formulas in Caudata, subsequently testing specific hypotheses regarding the evolutionary associations between the digital patterns and ecological (habitat and microhabitat use) and evolutionary (diversification rates) parameters. The proposal stands out for its scientific merit in the Evolutionary Biology field and for the differentiated training that will be provided to the student of Scientific Initiation.