Overview

Brief Summary

The Rio Pescado Stubfoot or Harlequin Toad, Atelopus balios, is a brightly colored bufonid frog endemic to slow-moving streams and moist forests of sub-tropical and tropical Ecuador.  Considered extinct as a result of the widespread amphibian chytrid fungus that has decimated other amphibian populations including other Atelopus species, the Rio Pescado Stubfoot toad was rediscovered during an October 2010 expedition to Southwestern Ecuador sponsored by Conservation International, the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group and Global Wildlife Conservation.  Atelopus balios is thought to be restricted to four small Pacific lowland regions in Ecuador, all of which are currently unprotected areas.  The IUCN has identified this species as critically endangered and along with the Zoological Society of London recently declared it as one of the world’s 100 most endangered species.  It is vulnerable to pollution, agricultural runoff, and habitat destruction. 

(Coloma and Lötters 1996; Conservation International 2011; Cisneros-Heredia et al. 2004; Wikipedia 2013; Baillie and Butcher 2012)

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Distribution

Range Description

This species is known from only four localities in Azuay, Cañar, and Guayas Provinces in the Pacific lowlands of south-western Ecuador, from 200-460m asl.
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Physical Description

Type Information

Paratype for Atelopus balios
Catalog Number: USNM 193958
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1922
Locality: Río Pescado, Guayas, Ecuador, South America
  • Paratype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 12, figure 14.
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Paratype for Atelopus balios
Catalog Number: USNM 193957
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1922
Locality: Río Pescado, Guayas, Ecuador, South America
  • Paratype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 12, figure 14.
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Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is an inhabitant of lowland rainforest, and has been found on riverbanks. There is no specific information known about breeding habits, though it is likely to be similar to other Atelopus species, with breeding taking place in streams.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2ace

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Diego Cisneros-Heredia, Mario Yánez-Muñoz, Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Critically Endangered because of a drastic population decline, estimated to be more than 80% over the last three generations, inferred from the apparent disappearance of most of the population, probably due to chytridiomycosis.
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In 2012, Atelopus balios was included among the world's 100 most threatened species in a report by the IUCN Species Survival Commission and the Zoological Society of London.

(Baillie & Butcher 2012; Harvey 2012)

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Population

Population
This is now considered a very rare species. There have been no records since April 1995 despite repeated searches. It is no longer found at Río Patul (in Azuay province), where it used to be abundant (L. Coloma pers. comm.).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
This species seems to have disappeared, as with many other Atelopus species, likely due to chytridiomycosis, although the altitude at which it occurs is low (the disease normally occurs at higher altitudes in the tropics). Habitat degradation and loss, due to agriculture (crops and livestock) and logging, and pollution, continue to be very serious threats.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The range of the species does not include any protected areas. As the species might be extinct, it might be too late for conservation measures such as captive breeding; additional survey work is required to confirm the continued persistence of this species in the wild.
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Wikipedia

Atelopus balios

The Rio Pescado stubfoot toad, Atelopus balios, is a species of toad in the Bufonidae family[1] endemic to Ecuador. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and rivers. It is threatened by habitat loss.[2] It was previously thought to be extinct,[3] but was recently rediscovered in a hunt for missing amphibians.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ansonia latidisca". Smugmug.com. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  2. ^ Cisneros-Heredia, D., Yánez-Muñoz, M., Coloma, L.A. & Ron, S. 2004. Atelopus balios. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 21 July 2007.
  3. ^ http://www.conservation.org/sitecollectionimages/in-text_images/Lost_frogs_wanted_poster.jpg
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