Telmatobufo bullocki is a stocky, toad-like frog with long, slender legs and webbed toes. Adults are 61.8 - 83.0 mm snout-vent length (Formas 2001). The digit tips are pointed, not dilated into discs, and unwebbed. The dorsal skin is covered in raised, rounded glands. Prominent oval parotoid glands are present just behind the eyes. Ventral skin is smooth. The tadpoles are morphologically adapted to life in fast-moving rivers and streams and have a wide ventral mouth and a paddle-shaped, robustly muscular tail fin (Formas 1988).
Telmatobufo bullocki has an interocular yellow band, distinguishing it from the other two species, Telmatobufo australis and T. venustus. Other diagnostic characteristics include: " developed postfemoral skin ridge, thick tarsal fold, dorsal skin attached to the body [and a] vertical pupil" (Donoso et al. 2010). Tadpoles can be distinguished from tadpoles of Telmatobufo venustus by having 2 upper and 3 lower rows of papillae (Formas 1988).
In life, adults of this species are mottled grayish brown in color, with yellow filigree between the dorsal granules. The abdomen is yellowish brown with dark blotches. The most prominent coloration of this frog is the yellow interocular band situated between the eyes (Donoso et. al. 2010).
Listed by UKs EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) Program as the 5th most endangered amphibian species in the world. The CACC (Chilean Amphibian Conservation Center) is working on establishing an assurance colony of this species at the National Zoo of Chile in the city of Santiago (Safi et al. 2013).
The species authority is: Schmidt, K. P. (1952). "A new leptodactylid frog from Chile." Fieldiana Zoology, 34, 11-15.
Telmatobufo bullocki belongs to the family Calyptocephalellidae, which consists of four species in two genera and was once considered part of the large family Leptodactylidae. The closest relative of the Calyptocephalellidae is Australian family Myobatrachidae (Donoso et al. 2010).
In Greek, "Telmato-" means marsh, pool, standing or stagnant water, mud of a pool; and "bufo" from Latin, means frog. The species name, bullocki, could be derived from one of several famous naturalists, or from the Old English "Bullock" meaning young bull.
Distribution and Habitat
Telmatobufo bullocki is endemic to Chile and was previously restricted to the Nahuelbata Mountain Range in an area of less than 500 km2. However, the two most recently described specimens were found 150 km north of this area, past the Bio Bío Rivera well known biogeographical barrier. Ranging from 800 - 1,000 m above sea level, T. bullocki can be found around mountainous streams surrounded by dense vegetation during mating periods, and in upland pine forests during non-mating periods (Donoso et al. 2010).
Valdivian Temperate Forests Habitat
This taxon is found in the Valdivian temperate forests, the more hygrophilous vegetation of the mediterranean climate zone of central Chile, representing a biogeographic island, separated from climatically similar areas by the extensive Pacific Ocean barriers and flanking deserts. Rainfall varies so dramatically within the ecoregion, that some of the sub-units can be considered dry forests, with others classified as rainforest.
The Valdivian temperate forest is characterised by its extraordinary endemism (e.g., 90 percent at the species level and 34 percent at the genus level for woody species) and the great antiquity of its biogeographic relationships. However, faunal species richness is only modest, with only 290 vertebrate taxa having been recorded, in spite of the broad latitude niche available.
In general, the southern temperate forests are characterized by flora with one of the highest incidences of pollination and dissemination by animals recorded in any temperate biome, particularly in comparison with the northern hemisphere. In temperate forests of southern South America, the flowers of about 85 percent of woody plant genera are visited and presumably pollinated by animals. This ecoregion has extremely singular bees, in which many important neotropical subfamilies like Meliponinae and Euglosinae are entirely absent, but characterised by the presence of endemic and possibly relict groups such as Xeromelissinae, Diphaglosa, Cadeguala, Corynura, Neofidelia, Manuelia, and Eucerinoda.
There is a highly diverse set of anuran species Many of the amphibians in these forests have very narrow distribution ranges, particularly in the coastal range. Amphibians limited to the Nahuelbuta Range at 38°S include Bullock's False Toad (Telmatobufo bullocki CR), an endemic anuran to the Valdivian temperate forests. Also limited to the Nahuelbuta Range and endemic to the Valdivian temperate forests are Vanzolini's Spiny-chested Frog (Alsodes vanzolinii CR), Cabreria Spiny-chest Frog (Alsodes barrioi VU), and Contulmo Toad (Eupsophus contulmoensis VU).
There are a number of reptilian taxa present in the Valdivian temperate forests, especially within the Tree Iguana group; example ecoregion endemics here are: the Curicen Tree Iguana (Liolaemus curicensis) and the Cyan Tree Iguana (Liolaemus cyanogaster). Endemic mammal species are also biologically interesting because of their kinship to geographically remote groups. This is the case with Dromiciops gliroides, an arboreal marsupial found in this ecoregion, located in the basal trunk of Australasian and American marsupials. Another Valdivian temperate forests ecoregion endemic is the Chilean Climbing Mouse (Irenomys tarsalis). An endangered herbivore found in the ecoregion is the Chilean Guemal (Hippocamelus bisulcus). The Chilean Shrew Opossum (Hippocamelus bisulcus NT) is another Valdivian temperate forests endemic.
Habitat and Ecology
Molecular Biology and Genetics
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2004Critically Endangered
- 1996Data Deficient(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
- 1996Data Deficient
- 1994Rare(Groombridge 1994)
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Adults have been found underneath fallen logs and stones in Nothofagus forests. During the mating seasons in January, February, and August, T. bullocki moves from upland forests to fast-moving mountain streams. The tadpoles (present December through January) are highly adapted to lotic environments and adhere to river rocks using a broad buccal disc with which they scrape algae (Formas 2008). No information has been reported on the calling habits or sexual behavior of this species. Males have been observed to possess nuptial excrescences (prominent spiny warty) during the reproductive seasons. Females collected contained an average of 112 pale yellow eggs 2.4mm in diameter. It is mostly unknown exactly what T. bullockis diet consists of, but the stomach contents of the first described specimen included 19 insects and plant material, suggesting a mainly terrestrial diet (Formas et al. 2001).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
IUCN has not specified a population trend, but it is most likely in decline due to the threats of clear cutting and deforestation. The process of removing these trees not only reduces the size of available habit but silts nearby streams, making making it difficult for larvae to feed. The possibility of death due to the use of mechanized harvest is also present, as well as toxins from herbicides and fertilizers on plantations. The species occurs within Chiles Parque Nacional Nahuelbuta, but there is a need for additional protection and maintenance (Veloso et al. 2010).
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Relation to Humans
As T. bullocki is very rare, the importance to humans is unknown. After 10 years of no documented occurrence of T. bullocki, a specimen was found and reignited concerns about the environmental repercussions of deforestation (Veloso et al. 2010).
Telmatobufo bullocki (Bullock’s mountains false toad) is a species of frog in the Calyptocephalellidae family, recently moved from the Leptodactylidae family. It is endemic to Chile. It is only known from a few locations in the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta, a part of the Chilean Coast Range. It is extremely rare; extensive fieldwork in 1992–2002 turned up only a single adult. It occurs in fast-flowing streams in temperate Nothofagus forest. The tadpoles are free-swimming and feed on algae growing on submerged rocks. It is threatened by siltation of streams caused by clear-cutting. It occurs within the Nahuelbuta National Park.
- Veloso, A., Núñez, H. & Formas, R. (2010). "Telmatobufo bullocki". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- Frost, Darrel R. (2013). "Telmatobufo bullocki Schmidt, 1952". Amphibian Species of the World 5.6, an Online Reference. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
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