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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Adult males 66 to 81 mm SVL. Adult female 77 mm SVL. The smooth dorsal surface has 8 to 12 low transverse ridges. The head is broader than long. From above the snout is blunt and rounded, and in profile is obtuse. The skull is not co-ossified to the skin, but is exostosed. The upper eyelid has a triangular dermal flap. The tympanum is indistinct and measures less than half the diameter of the eye. Finger discs are large, with the disc of finger III equal in size to half the tympanum diameter, and fingers have hardly any webbing. Hindlegs are long. The toes have a moderate amount of webbing. The inner metatarsal tubercle is small and ovoid and the outer metarsal tubercle is lacking. The inner tarsal fold is weakly developed. A triangular calcar is present on the heel. Females have a brood pouch opening on the dorsum, halfway between the sacral hump and vent. Males have no vocal slits but do have a single internal subgular vocal sac that is slightly distensible. On the base of the thumb, in adult males, there is a horny nonspinous brown nuptial pad (Savage 2002).

Ground coloration is dark brown by day and tan at night; this species undergoes metachrosis (color change). Also at night, the light cream to yellow suborbital spot disappears. Unchanging aspects of the coloration include 8-15 narrow, dark brown dorsal transverse lines. Lips are barred. A broad dark brown dorsolateral stripe runs from the tympanum to the groin. The posterior thigh is pale brown. Ventral surfaces are pinkish to pale brown, with the throat being brown. The iris is bronze peripherally, and creamy yellow or olive green medially (Savage 2002).

This frog develops directly into froglets; embryos are thus lacking many morphological features of free-living tadpoles, such as keratinized mouthparts. For a detailed discussion of the morphology of G. cornuta embryos compared to those of several other Gastrotheca species, see Wassersug and Duellman (2004). Gastrotheca embryos have specialized structures called bell gills, which cover 100% of the embryo as it develops within a single chamber in the female's multichambered dorsal brood pouch (del Pino and Escobar 1981).

A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Wassersug, R. J., and Duellman, W. E. (1984). ''Oral structures and their development in egg-brooding hylid frog embryos: evolutionary and ecological implications.'' Journal of Morphology , 182, 1-37.
  • del Pino, E. (1980). ''Morphology of the pouch and incubatory integument in marsupial frogs (Hylidae).'' Copeia, 1980, 10-17.
  • del Pino, E. M. and Escobar, B. (1981). ''Embryonic stages of Gastrotheca riobambae (Fowler) during maternal incubation and comparison with development of other marsupial frogs.'' Journal of Morphology, 167, 277-295.
  • del Pino, E., and Humphries, A. A., Jr. (1978). ''Multiple nuclei during early oogenesis in Flectonotus pygmaeus and other marsupial frogs.'' Biological Bulletin, 154, 198-212.
  • Coloma, L.A., Ron, S., Jungfer, K-H., Grant, T., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Jaramillo, C., Fuenmayor, Q., Bolaños, F., Lips, K., Lynch, J.D., and Almendáriz, A. (2008). Gastrotheca cornuta. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 28 July 2009.
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Distribution

Range Description

This species occurs in humid lowland and premontane forests from central Costa Rica to central Panama on the Atlantic slope, and from the Pacific versant of eastern Panama, through the Pacific lowlands of Colombia, to western Ecuador (south to Manta Real [Almendáriz and Carr, 1992]; however it has not been recorded from Manta Real in a recent survey [Ana Almendáriz pers. comm., 2007]); in Costa Rica, it is known from three localities in Limón Province (300-700m asl); the overall elevational range is from sea level up to 1,000m asl.
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Distribution and Habitat

From central Costa Rica to central Panama on the Atlantic slope. In Costa Rica, this species is known from three localities in the Limón Province, Costa Rica at 300-700 m above sea level. Also inhabits the Pacific versant from eastern Panama to northwestern Ecuador. Elevation range in Panama is 90 to 1,000 m above sea level. Found in canopy of lowland wet forest and premontane rain forest (Savage 2002), near rivers and creeks (Coloma et al. 2008).

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Wassersug, R. J., and Duellman, W. E. (1984). ''Oral structures and their development in egg-brooding hylid frog embryos: evolutionary and ecological implications.'' Journal of Morphology , 182, 1-37.
  • del Pino, E. (1980). ''Morphology of the pouch and incubatory integument in marsupial frogs (Hylidae).'' Copeia, 1980, 10-17.
  • del Pino, E. M. and Escobar, B. (1981). ''Embryonic stages of Gastrotheca riobambae (Fowler) during maternal incubation and comparison with development of other marsupial frogs.'' Journal of Morphology, 167, 277-295.
  • del Pino, E., and Humphries, A. A., Jr. (1978). ''Multiple nuclei during early oogenesis in Flectonotus pygmaeus and other marsupial frogs.'' Biological Bulletin, 154, 198-212.
  • Coloma, L.A., Ron, S., Jungfer, K-H., Grant, T., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Jaramillo, C., Fuenmayor, Q., Bolaños, F., Lips, K., Lynch, J.D., and Almendáriz, A. (2008). Gastrotheca cornuta. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 28 July 2009.
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Countries

Countries

Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Identification

Adult

Species description based on Savage (2002).  A large treefrog (males to 81 mm, females to 77 mm). Females have a pouch on the dorsum in which they brood their young.

Dorsal

Dorsal coloration varies from light to dark brown. Barring is present along the upper lip and on the upper surfaces of the arms and legs. Individuals can change color and are usually lighter during the day. The dorsal surface is smooth, except for a number of dark ridges that occur in transverse rows down the back.

Concealed surfaces

The rear surfaces of the thighs are dark brown.

Distinguishing characteristics

The horn-shaped points above the eyes are unique to this species.

Eye

The eye is dark brown at the edges, lightening to yellow or green near the center.

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Type Information

Holotype for Gastrotheca cornuta
Catalog Number: USNM 47705
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1909
Locality: Pequini River, upper, Panama
  • Holotype: Stejneger, L. 1911. Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. 41 (1857): 286.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
A canopy species of lowland and montane humid forest characterized by high humidity throughout the year, including both primary and secondary forest, but not occurring in open areas. Animals have been recorded in African palm plantations in Ecuador (John D. Lynch pers. comm. 2007). Individuals have been found near to rivers and creeks. It breeds by direct development, the female carries fertilised eggs in a pouch on her back, the eggs hatch as fully developed frogs. It has the largest known amphibian eggs.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Habitat

Lowland and premontane forest to about 1000 m.

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General Ecology

Ecology

Ecology

Gastrotheca cornuta generally lives high in the canopy (Savage 2002).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Behaviour

Call

A loud "bop" (Savage 2002).

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Life Cycle

Life History

Breeding season

Males call from high in trees (Duellman 1983, Savage 2002).

Egg

Eggs are large, and clutch sizes are small (less than 10 eggs, Duellman 1983, Wassersug and Duellman 1984).

Metamorph juvenile

Eggs develop directly into small froglets (Duellman 1983, Wassersug and Duellman 1984).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Gastrotheca cornuta

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 39
Specimens with Barcodes: 39
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A4ace

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron, Karl-Heinz Jungfer, Taran Grant, Diego Cisneros-Heredia, Frank Solís, Roberto Ibáñez, Gerardo Chaves, Jay Savage, César Jaramillo, Querube Fuenmayor, Federico Bolaños, Karen Lips, John D. Lynch, Ana Almendáriz

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

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Endangered because of an observed past, and projected future, decline, estimated to be at least 50% over a ten-year period, probably largely due to chytridiomycosis.
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Population

Population
The species has declined in El Cope (now gone from this site, Lips et al., 2006; Karen Lips pers. comm., 2007) and El Valle in Panama, and the last Costa Rican record is from 1996; it has not been recorded again in this country as of August 2007 (Federico Bolaños pers. comm. 2007). As of 2007, there is little new information on the status of populations in eastern Panama, however it is presumed to still be present here (Roberto Ibáñez pers. comm., 2007). The species was formerly common in Ecuador, however populations have now dramatically declined in this country although it is not certain that the species is extirpated, and it is considered to be nationally Data Deficient (Luis Coloma pers. comm. 2007). In Colombia, it appears to have never been an especially common species (John D. Lynch pers. comm. 2007).

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

Gastrotheca cornuta is nocturnal and is a canopy-dweller. The male calls from high trees, with the call sounding like a champagne cork popping (a loud "bop") and consisting of one or two notes at long intervals of eight to twelve minutes. Duration of the note is approximately 80 milliseconds with a dominant frequency of 0.8 kHz (Savage 2002).

This species breeds by direct development and is a member of the "marsupial" frogs, with females carrying the eggs in a pouch on the posterior part of the back (del Pino 1980). The brood pouch (type II of del Pino 1980) has an opening shaped likOne female specimen had seven eggs in her dorsal pouch, and the eggs measured 9.8 mm in diameter (Savage 2002). Another specimen had 9 embryos at 12 mm in diameter (Savage 2002). e an inverted V, with left and right triangular sections separated by a septum. The eggs of this species are the largest known amphibian eggs (del Pino and Escobar 1981) and are unusual for amphibians in that they are multinucleate during oogenesis (del Pino and Humphries 1978). Embryos have large external gills covering about 1/4 of the embryo; two gill stalks and a single fused gill are present on each side of the embryo, for a total of four stalks and two gills (Savage 2002). For the genus Gastrotheca, it is thought that gaseous exchange occurs between the mother's circulation in the pouch and the embryo's umbelliform gills, as the pouch is highly vascularized and each embryo is contained in a separate chamber within the pouch, with gills in close apposition to the chamber walls (del Pino 1980). This has been termed a "gill placenta", which also occurs in some caecilians and some salamanders (Savage 2002).

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Wassersug, R. J., and Duellman, W. E. (1984). ''Oral structures and their development in egg-brooding hylid frog embryos: evolutionary and ecological implications.'' Journal of Morphology , 182, 1-37.
  • del Pino, E. (1980). ''Morphology of the pouch and incubatory integument in marsupial frogs (Hylidae).'' Copeia, 1980, 10-17.
  • del Pino, E. M. and Escobar, B. (1981). ''Embryonic stages of Gastrotheca riobambae (Fowler) during maternal incubation and comparison with development of other marsupial frogs.'' Journal of Morphology, 167, 277-295.
  • del Pino, E., and Humphries, A. A., Jr. (1978). ''Multiple nuclei during early oogenesis in Flectonotus pygmaeus and other marsupial frogs.'' Biological Bulletin, 154, 198-212.
  • Coloma, L.A., Ron, S., Jungfer, K-H., Grant, T., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Jaramillo, C., Fuenmayor, Q., Bolaños, F., Lips, K., Lynch, J.D., and Almendáriz, A. (2008). Gastrotheca cornuta. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 28 July 2009.
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Threats

Major Threats
This species has disappeared from Costa Rica and western Panama; these declines have been associated with the disease chytridiomycosis (Lips et al., 2006). This disease is also present in the lowlands of western Ecuador (Luis A. Coloma pers. comm. 2007), and may have contributed to the substantial declines of this species in Ecuador currently associated with extensive habitat loss. Areas of forest close to the type locality of "Cachabé" (= Cachabí), Provincia Esmeralda, Ecuador have now been deforested and no Gastrotheca cornuta are present here (Luis A. Coloma pers. comm. 2007). It is possible that the species has declined in Colombia, with few records and ongoing serious habitat fragmentation in Cauca and Nariño (John D. Lynch pers. comm. 2007; Fernando Castro pers. comm. 2007). Major threats other than disease are deforestation for agricultural development, illegal crops, logging, and human settlement, and pollution resulting from the spraying of illegal crops.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Gastrotheca cornuta has not been seen in Costa Rica since 1996. It has declined significantly in Panama and Ecuador; although it may still be present in both countries, the status is unknown. It was always rare in Colombia. In Costa Rica, Panama, and the lowlands of Ecuador, chytridiomycosis has likely been the main factor responsible for the drastic decline of this species. Extensive loss of habitat is also a factor. This species is no longer present in the type locality of Cachabi, Provincia Esmeralda, Ecuador due to deforestation. In Cauca and Nariño the species is also experiencing a decline in population due to significant habitat fragmentation. Habitat is being lost or degraded due to many causes: deforestation for agricultural development, illegal crops, logging, and human settlement, and pollution resulting from the spraying of illegal crops (Coloma et al. 2008).

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Wassersug, R. J., and Duellman, W. E. (1984). ''Oral structures and their development in egg-brooding hylid frog embryos: evolutionary and ecological implications.'' Journal of Morphology , 182, 1-37.
  • del Pino, E. (1980). ''Morphology of the pouch and incubatory integument in marsupial frogs (Hylidae).'' Copeia, 1980, 10-17.
  • del Pino, E. M. and Escobar, B. (1981). ''Embryonic stages of Gastrotheca riobambae (Fowler) during maternal incubation and comparison with development of other marsupial frogs.'' Journal of Morphology, 167, 277-295.
  • del Pino, E., and Humphries, A. A., Jr. (1978). ''Multiple nuclei during early oogenesis in Flectonotus pygmaeus and other marsupial frogs.'' Biological Bulletin, 154, 198-212.
  • Coloma, L.A., Ron, S., Jungfer, K-H., Grant, T., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Jaramillo, C., Fuenmayor, Q., Bolaños, F., Lips, K., Lynch, J.D., and Almendáriz, A. (2008). Gastrotheca cornuta. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 28 July 2009.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
In Ecuador, its geographic range overlaps with the Reserva Ecológica Cotacachi-Cayapas. It occurs, or occurred, in several protected areas in Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica. A small ex-situ population of this species is breeding at the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in Panama (Edgardo Griffith pers. comm. September, 2007).
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Wikipedia

Horned marsupial frog

The horned marsupial frog (Gastrotheca cornuta),[2] is a species of frog in the family Hemiphractidae. It is an arboreal species found in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and montane cloud forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Contents

Description [edit]

An adult Gastrotheca cornuta grows to about 7 to 8 centimetres (2.8 to 3.1 in) long. The head is broad and the snout is rounded when viewed from above. The iris of the eye is bronze with a greenish centre and the upper eyelid has a triangular peak. The skin on the back is smooth and has a number of transverse ridges. The fingers are unwebbed but have circular pads on their tips. The hind legs are long and the toes are partially webbed. The female has a pouch on her lower back in which she broods her eggs. The body colour is pale brown at night but dark brown by day and there are pale markings between the mouth and eyes during the day. Permanent colour features include narrow dark transverse stripes on the body, a dark line running from near the eye to the groin and a pinkish or light brown belly.[3]

Distribution [edit]

Gastrotheca cornuta is a nocturnal species and is found in tropical forests and lower montane cloud forests in Limón Province, Costa Rica, and in adjoining areas of Panama on the Atlantic slope at altitudes between 300 and 700 metres (980 and 2,300 ft). In Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama it occurs on the Pacific side of the divide at altitudes between 90 and 1,000 metres (300 and 3,300 ft) above sea level. It lives high in the forest canopy.[3]

Life cycle [edit]

The male Gastrotheca cornuta calls from high in the canopy to attract a mate. His call sounds like a champagne cork being drawn. The eggs of Gastrotheca cornuta are the largest known amphibian eggs.[3] They are carried in individual chambers in the female's brood pouch. The developing embryos have umbrella-like external gills that spread out against the pouch wall, which is highly vascular. Gas exchange takes place through the wall of the pouch. There is no free-living tadpole stage for this species and when their development is complete, tiny froglets make their way out of the brood pouch.[3]

Status [edit]

Gastrotheca cornuta is listed as "Endangered" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Numbers of individuals across its range have been decreasing and it is no longer present in Costa Rica and Panama on the Atlantic slope. It has also decreased in numbers in Colombia and in Ecuador where it never was common. Its status in eastern Panama is unknown. The reasons for its decline include the disease chytridiomycosis, deforestation, and human activities.[1]

References [edit]

  1. ^ a b Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron, Karl-Heinz Jungfer, Taran Grant, Diego Cisneros-Heredia, Frank Solís, Roberto Ibáñez, Gerardo Chaves, Jay Savage, César Jaramillo, Querube Fuenmayor, Federico Bolaños, Karen Lips, John D. Lynch, Ana Almendáriz (2004). "Gastrotheca cornuta". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  2. ^ "Horned marsupial frog (Gastrotheca cornuta)". ARKive. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gallup, Lettie (2009). "Gastrotheca cornuta". AmphibiaWeb. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
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