Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology


College of Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer A. Dever

Second Advisor

Dr. John Paul

Third Advisor

Dr. Naupaka Zimmerman


Different species can be difficult to distinguish from one another when they are morphologically similar. Such cryptic species are the reason many anuran species go undetected. For this study, the taxonomic identity of the Occidozyga complex across Myanmar was investigated. An integrated approach was used combining molecular, morphological and phylogeographic data to better assess its taxonomy. Results indicate the presence of three new candidate species within Occidozyga, and three evolutionarily significant unit (ESU) lineages. Two mitochondrial gene fragments (16S, COI) and one nuclear gene fragment (Rhodopsin) were examined from DNA isolated from forty-seven preserved specimens from the California Academy of Science (CAS). Spatial data from collection localities for specimens was integrated into phylogeographic analyses. Additionally, morphological data was analyzed for morphometrics and principal component analysis (PCA) from 259 specimens at the CAS and National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). Significant molecular differentiation was observed, uncovering a novel species from central Tanintharyi. Additional evolutionary significant units were identified. From these findings, we advocate for adequate protection of each of these distinct evolutionary lineages.