Associates in the Northwestern Andean Montane Forests

The Critically Endangered carchi Andes toad (Andinophryne colomai) is endemic to the Northwestern Andean montane forests ecoregion. The disjunct formation of Andean topography and pronounced glacial period of isolation forced plant and animal communities to adapt to different areas after being disconnected from each other; therefore laying the perfect foundation for speciation. For a gamut of reasons, related to their complex topography and a biogeographical history, featuring continual altitudinal migration of vegetation zones in response to the prehistorically changing climate, these ecosystems present a diverse array of distinctive biological communities, characterized by unusually high levels of species endemism.

Within the Northwestern Andean montane forests ecoregion, flowering plant species manifest extreme biodiversity, and as many as 300 distinct plant taxa can be found inside a single hectare of the forest. At least 1178 vertebrate species have been recorded in the Northwestern Andean montane forests.

The ecoregion hosts a remarkable 86 taxa of palm trees, including two endemics: the feather palm and the endangered wax palm. There are numerous other notable species of the ecoregion including scores of endemic amphibians of the genus Pristimantis , many endemic treefrogs and a number of endemic amphibians of the genus Atelopus; moreover, other noteworthy vertebrate residents of these forests are the sword-billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) and the Andean tapir (Tapirus pinchaque).

There are numerous amphibian endemics in the Northwestern Andean montane forests especially in the genera Atelopus and Pristimantis: the Critically Endangered Antado stubfoot toad (Atelopus galactogaster), the Critically Endangered Pirri Range stubfoot toad (Atelopus glyphus), the Critically Endangered Rio Carauta stubfoot toad (Atelopus carauta), the Rio Faisanes stubfoot toad (Atelopus coynei), the Burrowes robber frog (Pristimantis laticlavius), the San Antionio robber frog (Pristimantis calcaratus), the cacao robber frog (Pristimantis cacao), the Urrao robber frog (Pristimantis johannesdei), the Rio Calima robber frog (Pristimantis diaphonus) the cachabi robber frog (Pristimantis achatinus), the Mantipus robber frog (Hypodactylus mantipus), the ocellated robber frog (Pristimantis  ocellatus), the channel robber frog (Pristimantis sulculus), the Maldonado robber frog (Pristimantis  loustes),  the chinboga robber frog (Pristimantis eremitus), the Ricuarte robber frog (Pristimantis scolodiscus), Duellman's robber frog (Pristimantis duellmani), the Pacific robber frog (Pristimantis appendiculatus), the cerro munchique robber frog (Pristimantis viridicans), the Jaime's robber frog (Pristimantis jaimei), the Palmer's robber frog (Pristimantis palmeri), the La Planada robber frog (Pristimantis apiculatus), the dwarf robber frog (Pristimantis hectus), the Porvenir robber frog (Pristimantis crucifer), the Rio Calles robber frog (Strabomantis cheiroplethus), the Tandapi robber frog (Pristimantis nyctophylax), the Zapadores robber frog (Pristimantis quinquagesimus), the white-striped robber frog (Pristimantis luteolateralis),  the reserve robber frog (Pristimantis siopelus), the sharpsnout robber frog (Pristimantis acutirostris), the spurred robber frog (Pristimantis calcarulatus), the Valle robber frog (Pristimantis cabrerai), the Sobetes robber frog (Pristimantis sobetes), and the Uribe robber frog (Pristimantis molybrignus). Further Pristimantis genus endemics here that lack a common name are: Pristimantis aemulatus, Pristimantis albericoi, Pristimantis baiotis, Pristimantis capitonis, Pristimantis angustilineata, Pristimantis aurantiguttatus, Cochranella cristinae, Pristimantis chrysops, Pristimantis deinops, Pristimantis diogenes, Pristimantis dissimulatus, Pristimantis eugeniae, Pristimantis illotus, Pristimantis juanchoi, Pristimantis kelephas, Pristimantis mars, Pristimantis myops, Pristimantis orpacobates, Pristimantis phalarus, Pristimantis platychilus, Pristimantis polychrus, Pristimantis pteridophilus, Pristimantis ptochus, Pristimantis quantus, Pristimantis restrepoi, Pristimantis ruedei, Pristimantis sanguineus, Pristimantis signifer, Pristimantis silverstonei, Pristimantis viridis, Pristimantis xylochobates.

Other amphibian endemics in this ecoregion are the cauca caecilian (Caecilia occidentalis), the endangered cerro munchique marsupial frog (Gastrotheca trachyceps), the Vulnerable Rio Calima marsupial frog (Gastrotheca dendronastes), Lynch's cochran frog (Cochranella ignota), the Near Threatened Urrao cochran frog (Cochranella megistra), the Mesopotamia beaked toad (Ramphophryne rostrata), the Santa Rita beaked toad (Ramphophryne macrorhina), the cotopaxi rocket frog (Colostethus fallax), the stripe throated rocket frog (Colostethus brachistriatus), the Lehmann's rocket frog (Colostethus lehmanni), the Urrao rocket frog (Colostethus breviquartus), the executioner treefrog (Hyla carnifex), Pacific lowland treefrog (Hyla gryllata), the western Andes treefrog (Hyla sarampiona), the Simmons treefrog (Hyla simmonsi), the Pilalo treefrog (Hyla ptychodactyla), the finca primavera rocket frog (Colostethus alacris), the Gunther's marsupial frog (Gastrotheca guentheri), the Vulnerable Tandapi giant glass frog (Centrolene peristictum), the Tandayapa Andes toad (Andinophryne ollalai), the western Andes toad (Andinophryne atelopoides), the Tandayapa giant glass frog (Centrolene scirtetes), the Critically Endangered Atelopis famelicus, the Critically Endangered Atelopis chocoensis, Colostethus atopoglossus, Colostethus betancuri, Colostethus furviventris, Colostethus maquipucuna, Colostethus yaguara, the Vulnerable Gastrotheca antomia Cochranella luminosa, Cochranella luteopunctata and Cochranella armata.

Endemic reptiles of the ecoregion include the Antioquia anole (Anolis antioquiae), the O'shaughnessy's Anole (Anolis gemmosus), the saphenophis snake (Saphenophis sneiderni), the striped saphenophis snake (Saphenophis tristriatus), the Atahuallpa saphenophis snake (Saphenophis atahuallpa),  the blue-headed sapphire (Hylocharis grayi), the Bolivian whorltail iguana (Stenocercus bolivarensis), the Colombian blind snake (Anomolepis colombius), the equatorial anole (Anolis aequatorialis), the garagoa caecilian (Caecilia degenerata), Haensch's whorltail iguana (Stenocercus haenschi), hispanic ground snake (Atractus oculotemporalis), the western ground snake (Atractus occidentalis), the three striped tropical snake (Lygophis tristiatus), the tropical lightbulb lizard (Proctoporus oculatus), Bothrops colombianus, Bothrops xanthogrammus, Bothrocophias campbelli, Lygophis boursieri, Proctoporus labionis, Proctoporus vespertinus, Sinophis calamitus and Anolis megalopithecus.

Endemic birds of the Northwest Andean montane forests include the Critically Endangered colorful puffleg (Eriocnemis mirabilis),, the empress brilliant (Heliodoxa imperatrix), the Near Threatened fulvus treerunner bird (Margaromis stellatus), the black solitaire (Entomodestes corocinus), the gorgeted sunangel (Heliangelus strophianus), grand scaly-eyed gecko (Lepidoblepharis grandis), the grayish picolet (Picumnus granadensis), the orange-banded flycatcher (Myiophobus lintoni), the Near Threatened hoary puffleg (Haplophaedia lugens), the Critically Endangered turquoise-throated puffleg (Eriocnemis godini), Pacific tuftedcheek (Pseudocolaptes johnsoni), the Critically Endangered pale-headed brush-finch (Atlapetes pallidiceps), the Near Threatened plate-billed mountain-toucan (Andigena laminirostris), the purple-billed whitetip (Urosticte benjamini), the violet-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus coelestis) and the endangered violet-throated metaltail (Metallura baroni) Endemic mammals of the ecoregion are represented by Sturnira mistratensis.

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Carchi Andes toad

The Carchi Andes toad, Andinophryne colomai, is a species of toad endemic to Ecuador within the northwestern Andean montane forests ecoregion.[2][3] It is listed as a critically endangered species due to a restricted range and habitat loss.[1]


Andinophryne colomai are medium-sized toads: one male measured 43 mm (1.7 in) and two young adult females 31–37 mm (1.2–1.5 in) in snout–vent length.[4]

Habitat and conservation[edit]

This species is known only from the type locality ("Cabacera del Rio Baboso, cerca a Lita', Carchi Province, Ecuador"), and one other locality close by in the province of Carchi, in the northwestern Andes of Ecuador. It has been recorded from 1,180 to 1,400 m asl. It is a very rare species, with no records since September 1984. Subsequent visits to the type locality have failed to find any individuals.[4]

The holotype was collected on a branch some 50 cm above the ground in the forest of a small creek at night.[5] A male was collected at night sitting on a tree trunk in a creek, while a female was collected in the afternoon on the forest floor near a creek. The stomach of a female was crammed with ants.[6] The type locality has been severely impacted by habitat destruction as a result of agriculture and logging. In addition, spraying of herbicides in Colombia to control crops is polluting the species' habitat. An unknown intrinsic factor may also be responsible for the species' scarcity.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron, Mario Yánez-Muñoz, Diego Cisneros-Heredia (2004). "Andinophryne colomai". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Andinophryne colomai Hoogmoed, 1985". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  3. ^ C.Michael Hogan; World Wildlife Fund. 2012. Northwestern Andean montane forests. ed. P.Saundry. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC
  4. ^ a b Coloma, L. A., Frenkel, C., Félix-Novoa, C. y Quiguango-Ubillús, A. (2010). "Andinophryne colomai". Ron, S. R., Guayasamin, J. M., Yanez-Muñoz, M. H., Merino-Viteri, A., Ortiz, D. A. y Nicolalde, D. A. 2014. AmphibiaWebEcuador. Version 2014.0. Museo de Zoología, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (QCAZ). Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Marinus S. Hoogmoed (1985). "A new genus of toads (Amphibia: Anura: Bufonidae) from the Pacific slopes of the Andes in Northern Ecuador and Southern Colombia, with the description of two new species" (PDF). Zoologische Mededelingen (Leiden) 59 (22): 251–274. ISSN 0024-0672. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Marinus S. Hoogmoed (1989). "On the identity of some toads of the genus Bufo from Ecuador, with additional remarks on Andinophryne colomai Hoogmoed, 1985 (Amphibia: Anura: Bufonidae)" (PDF). Zoologische Verhandelingen (Leiden) 250 (21vii): 1–32. ISSN 0024-1652. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
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