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New discoveries in the frog Latonia seyfriedi (Anura: Alytidae) and their impact on taxonomy of the genus Latonia

  • Elena SyromyatnikovaEmail author
  • Zbyněk Roček
  • Sabrina van de Velde
Research Paper


Latonia seyfriedi, the type species of the genus Latonia, was described by von Meyer (1843) based on an articulated skeleton from the middle Miocene (Serravallian) of Öhningen, Germany. Besides the holotype, four additional articulated skeletons are known from the type locality; all display only the ventral aspect. A similar frog reported by Lartet (1851) from the middle Miocene of Sansan, France was later assigned to the genus Latonia as L. gigantea based on disarticulated skull roof bones covered with sculpture. In the course of time, similar bones were recovered from numerous localities, but, because the dorsal surface of the cranial roof was not known for L. seyfriedi, they were mostly identified as L. gigantea. The crucial question of whether the skull roof bones of L. seyfriedi, especially the frontoparietal and maxilla, bear sculpture or not remained unresolved until recently, when specimen TMH 8438 from Öhningen was made available for micro-computed tomography (CT) investigations. The present study reveals that the frontoparietal is covered by pustular sculpture as in the L. gigantea neotype, and that the sculpture on the maxillae is similar in both taxa. Since other bones are also similar, we suggest that L. gigantea is a junior synonym of L. seyfriedi. Micro-CT scanning of TMH 8438 made it possible to reconstruct the original positions of the bones. It turned out that the nasals are sculptured and overlapped with the frontal processes of the maxillae as well as with the anterior end of the frontoparietal. This allowed us to reconstruct the shape and proportions of the skull.


Latonia seyfriedi Latonia gigantea Anura Miocene Öhningen 



We thank Alexey Tesakov (Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia), who greatly assisted in organization of CT scanning, and Paula Muzzopappa (CONICET, Fundación Azara, Caba, Argentina), who made the reconstruction of the skull roof of Latonia (Fig. 6) during her long-term visit to the Department of Palaeobiology, Geological Institute of the Academy of Sciences, Prague. Sandra Chapman (Natural History Museum, London) provided additional information on the London specimen; Anne S. Schulp, Herman J. Voogd, and Jan Willem Pette (Teylers Museum, Haarlem) provided technical assistance. Dirk van der Marel, Arjen Speksnijder, and Rob Langelaan (Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden) helped with CT scanning. Alexander Averianov (Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) and Dmitry Ponomarenko (Borissiak Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) helped with data visualizations. We would like to acknowledge also the late Jean-Claude Rage for valuable discussions on relationships between Latonia seyfriedi and L. gigantea. We thank Nadia Fröbisch and two anonymous reviewers for their critical comments. E.S. was supported by the government theme AAAA-A17-117030310017-8 (Russia) and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Grants № 19-04-00514; Z.R. was supported from the research plan of the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences (RVO67985831).

Author contributions

The coauthors of this paper made the following contributions: S.V. scanned the specimen; E.S. worked on CT scan reconstruction and prepared an early version of the manuscript; Z.R. provided the data on L. gigantea and other specimens of L. seyfriedi, and prepared the last version of the manuscript; all authors contributed to manuscript preparation and approved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Paläontologische Gesellschaft 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Borissiak Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Palaeobiology, Institute of GeologyCzech Academy of SciencesPragueCzech Republic
  4. 4.Naturalis Biodiversity CenterLeidenThe Netherlands

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