Originally Posted by Johanovich
The text on this guide states:
"Individual frogs sometimes exhibit ventral patterns that lie somewhere in between the two species.
" as well as "No one feature should be used as the only means of identification, as few individual frogs of either species exhibit all of the traits below. Instead, all information should be compared to that of an individual frog and whichever side matches the frog best is likely the species
". This doesn't really help clearing the matter unfortunately
Given the presence of hybrids of several mantella species (e.g. baroni x cowani and madagascariensis x aurantiaca), maybe baroni and madagascariensis have some of each other's genes (and maybe others as well) mixed in anyway in certain populations? Only way to know for certain would be to do a genetic analysis I suppose. Too bad my PhD focuses on soil microbial communities with DNA techniques, I would've loved to work on frog phylogeny or population genetics.
Yeah, the "flashmarks" is pretty subjective in my opinion. I haven't seen enough/good evidence on what it actually means lol. Even the mantella guide just shows a drawing -- no example individuals.
That said, the U-chin is a classical madagascariensis trait that isn't found in baroni. I'd say the fact that the offspring have it, is pretty indicative that they have at least some madagascariensis lineage.
There definitely are documented naturally occurring hybrid individuals.
There isn't a published genome for madagascariensis and baroni, right? If you have access to a PCR machine, this would actually be a pretty easy/cheap thing to validate in the lab lol.