Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Atelopus arthuri is an ignescens frog with a snout vent length of approximately 46.9 mm. From above the fleshy snout appears pointed and from it appears to protrude beyond the upper lip and lower jaw, with the nostril directed laterally and slightly posteriorly. The muzzle also appears to be concave between the canthi. The canthus and upper eyelids are also fleshy and a fleshy fold extends from the corner of the posterior corner of the eye to the end of the head. The tympanic and temporal regions are granular. The dorsum of the body varies between noticeably smooth or finely wrinkled, and lacks pustules. Conversely the sides of the body, as well as most of the upper surfaces on the limbs are very pustulate. Females will have whitish spinules either individually or clustered together atop these pustules. Ventral surfaces tend to be smooth and without pustules but can also be wrinkled. The forelimbs are very short. The forearms are slightly larger in diameter than humeral regions. The forefeet are fleshy and webbed. The hind limb is short and fleshy with fleshy webbed feet extending up to the first phalange of each digit. Hind limbs are also short, fleshy, and webbed. Webbing extends to the tips of all but the fourth toe. The sole of the foot is smooth (Peters 1973).

In life, dorsally Atelopus arthuri is light to dark brown and dark brown pattern with heavy reticulations of orange-yellow on both body and limbs. The sides are reversed, with a dull reddish orange background and brown reticulations. The ventral surfaces of the thighs, chest, and belly have a tomato red spot surrounded by green. Some individuals have been found with a brown patch on the buttocks and a brownish spotting on the chin and throat. Soles and palms are dull orange. The pupil is black surrounded by a bright green ring and a black iris with minute green spots. In alcohol the dorsum, sides, and limbs are a light grayish brown color with some darker brown spotting or streaks. Sides also have white spots on the tips of the pustules. Some individuals have clear, colorless limbs with yellow on the first two digits and webbing. The chest, the belly, and the ventral surfaces of the thighs and humerus are light yellow color allowing transparency into the abdominal cavity. Ventral surfaces of limbs is dark brown with puncated yellow, while the hands and feet are completely yellow to brown. A large brown patch is present on the thighs below the vent extending on to the ventrum. The chin and throat are yellow with brown spotting or streaking (Peters 1973).

Individual Atelopus arthuri are noted to be very different from each other in how their colors are distributed on their body. In addition the actual patterns and colors themselves are more or less unique to each frog (Peters 1973).

The name of the species is derived from the first name of the person who collected the holotype (Peters 1973).

  • Peters, J. A. (1973). ''The frog genus Atelopus in Ecuador (Anura: Bufonidae).'' Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 145, 1-49.
  • Ron, S., Coloma, L. A., Bustamante, M. R., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Yánez-Muñoz, M. 2004. Atelopus arthuri. In: IUCN 2012
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is known from three localities on the Pacific versant of the Andes of Ecuador at an altitude of 2,200-3,000m asl. The type locality is 15km north of Pallatanga, in Chimborazo Province. The second and third localities are at Cashca Totoras and Las Guardias, respectively, in Bolivar Province.
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Distribution and Habitat

Atelopus arthuri can be found in three localities at altitudes of 2200 - 3000 m on the Pacific versant of the Andes of Ecuador. The three localities are in Chimborazo Province, 15 km north of Pallatanga (type locality) and in Bolivar Province, at Cashca Totoras and Las Guardias (Ron et al. 2004).

  • Peters, J. A. (1973). ''The frog genus Atelopus in Ecuador (Anura: Bufonidae).'' Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 145, 1-49.
  • Ron, S., Coloma, L. A., Bustamante, M. R., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Yánez-Muñoz, M. 2004. Atelopus arthuri. In: IUCN 2012
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Physical Description

Type Information

Paratype for Atelopus arthuri
Catalog Number: USNM 193468
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1959
Locality: Pallatanga, 15 km N of, on new road to Pallatanga - Bucay, just before detour road, Chimborazo, Ecuador, South America
Elevation (m): 2800 to 2800
  • Paratype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 10, figure 13.
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Paratype for Atelopus arthuri
Catalog Number: USNM 193469
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1959
Locality: Pallatanga, 15 km N of, on new road to Pallatanga - Bucay, just before detour road, Chimborazo, Ecuador, South America
Elevation (m): 2800 to 2800
  • Paratype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 10, figure 13.
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Paratype for Atelopus arthuri
Catalog Number: USNM 193471
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1959
Locality: Pallatanga, 15 km N of, on new road to Pallatanga - Bucay, just before detour road, Chimborazo, Ecuador, South America
Elevation (m): 2800 to 2800
  • Paratype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 10, figure 13.
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Paratype for Atelopus arthuri
Catalog Number: USNM 193472
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1959
Locality: Pallatanga, 15 km N of, on new road to Pallatanga - Bucay, just before detour road, Chimborazo, Ecuador, South America
Elevation (m): 2800 to 2800
  • Paratype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 10, figure 13.
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Paratype for Atelopus arthuri
Catalog Number: USNM 193466
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1959
Locality: Pallatanga, 15 km N of, on new road to Pallatanga - Bucay, just before detour road, Chimborazo, Ecuador, South America
Elevation (m): 2800 to 2800
  • Paratype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 10, figure 13.
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Paratype for Atelopus arthuri
Catalog Number: USNM 193463
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1959
Locality: Pallatanga, 15 km N of, on new road to Pallatanga - Bucay, just before detour road, Chimborazo, Ecuador, South America
Elevation (m): 2800 to 2800
  • Paratype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 10, figure 13.
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Holotype for Atelopus arthuri
Catalog Number: USNM 193470
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: Female;
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1959
Locality: Pallatanga, 15 km N of, on new road to Pallatanga - Bucay, just before detour road, Chimborazo, Ecuador, South America
Elevation (m): 2800 to 2800
  • Holotype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 10, figure 13.
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Paratype for Atelopus arthuri
Catalog Number: USNM 193473
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1959
Locality: Pallatanga, 15 km N of, on new road to Pallatanga - Bucay, just before detour road, Chimborazo, Ecuador, South America
Elevation (m): 2800 to 2800
  • Paratype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 10, figure 13.
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Paratype for Atelopus arthuri
Catalog Number: USNM 193474
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1959
Locality: Pallatanga, 15 km N of, on new Pallatanga road, Chimborazo, Ecuador, South America
Elevation (m): 2860 to 2860
  • Paratype: Peters, J. A. 1973. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. (145): 10, figure 13.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits humid montane forest and sub-páramo. 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; B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

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

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; and because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 100 km2 and its Area Of Occupancy is less than 10km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, and in the number of mature individuals.
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Population

Population
This is an extremely rare species and it has not been recorded since 1988, despite searches, particularly at Cashca Totoras (Bustamante 2002). This suggests that a serious decline has taken place.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Atelopus arthuri is a diurnal species that lives in sub-páramo and humid montane forest. However, it can be found walking over dry conditions, only hopping when disturbed. Mate choice appears to be based on visual cues as no calling or choruses were heard. Males were observed raising themselves on their forelimbs presumably to search for females. Once mated, pairs were found in pools formed in rapidly moving streams. No eggs-laying was observed. Chickline sounds, sometimes with trills, were also observed from the species, but not associated with mating. Little else is known about the behavior of this species (Peters 1973; Ron et al. 2004).

  • Peters, J. A. (1973). ''The frog genus Atelopus in Ecuador (Anura: Bufonidae).'' Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 145, 1-49.
  • Ron, S., Coloma, L. A., Bustamante, M. R., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Yánez-Muñoz, M. 2004. Atelopus arthuri. In: IUCN 2012
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Threats

Major Threats
The major threat is likely to be chytridiomycosis, leading to a catastrophic population decline, as has occurred in many other montane species of Atelopus. The disease has been confirmed in Gastrotheca pseustes in the same area. Other major threats include habitat loss due to agriculture, logging and infrastructure development for human settlement, and agricultural pollution.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Despite searches, this rare species has not been recorded since 1988, suggesting a decline in population. This decline is likely caused by chytridiomycosis, which has been identified as the cause of decline in many other montane species of Atelopus. Chytrid has been found in Gastrotheca pseustes, which occupies the same area as A. arthuri. Atelopus arthuri is also threatened by habitat loss due to agriculture, agricultural pollution, and logging and infrastructure development for human settlement (Ron et al. 2004).

While A. arthuri was protected in Bosque Protector Cashca Totoras (in Bolívar Province), it is not found in any protected areas. It has since disappeared from Cashca Totoras with some speculating that it is extinct, and thus has no conservation options. To address this speculation, additional survey work is required (Ron et al. 2004).

  • Peters, J. A. (1973). ''The frog genus Atelopus in Ecuador (Anura: Bufonidae).'' Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 145, 1-49.
  • Ron, S., Coloma, L. A., Bustamante, M. R., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Yánez-Muñoz, M. 2004. Atelopus arthuri. In: IUCN 2012
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The range of the species does not encompass any protected areas. However, it was protected in Bosque Protector Cashca Totoras (in Bolívar Province), where it disappeared. The species might be extinct, and it might be too late for 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

Arthur's stubfoot toad

Arthur's stubfoot toad, Atelopus arthuri, is a species of toad in the Bufonidae family endemic to Ecuador. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grasslands, and rivers. It is threatened by habitat loss. It has not been seen for more than 20 years and is considered probably extinct.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ron, S., Coloma, L.A., Bustamante, M.R., Cisneros-Heredia, D. & Yánez-Muñoz, M. 2004. Atelopus arthuri. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 21 July 2007.
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