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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Atelopus senex is a medium-sized frog, with males reaching a snout-to-vent length of 28-32 mm and females 30-43 mm (Savage 2002). This species can be easily distinguished from A. chiriquiensis and A. varius by its prominent glands on the head, dorsum and limbs (Savage 2002).

The head is angular, and longer than it is wide (Savage 2002). It has a narrow, rounded snout with a depression between the canthi (Taylor 1952). The snout projects beyond the lips (Taylor 1952). Nostrils are closer to the tip of the nose than to the eyes (Taylor 1952). The lips are lighter in color and have a distinct medial notch (Taylor 1952). From the eye there is a bony temporal ridge and a distinct post-orbital ridge coming off of it (Taylor 1952). There are no visible tympana (Savage 2002). On the shoulders the suprascapulae form a prominent ridge (Taylor 1952). The body is slender, with long arms and legs (Savage 2002). More than half of the forearm extends past the tip of the snout (Taylor 1952). The fingers are thickened at the base and have terminal pads (Taylor 1952). Thumbs are webbed basally and have brown nuptial pads in the male (Savage 2002). The toes are fully webbed and have small terminal pads (Taylor 1952). The skin has multiple tubercles in the groin region (Taylor 1952). Tubercles are also scattered on the sides of the neck and body as well as on the front surface of the upper arm (Taylor 1952). There are tiny pustules on the dorsum in many individuals, and occasionally spicules on the anterior flanks in larger adults (Savage 2002).

Males may be bluish gray, blue-green, black, or occasionally greenish, and tend to have a uniform ground color (Savage 2002). In males, the parotoid and limb glands are pink to cream-colored (Savage 2002). Females have similar ground coloration but may be patterned. The patterning on females consists of contrasting dark and light areas, with the light areas being cream, lemon, or lime-colored (Savage 2002). For both sexes, the venter is gray, sometimes with a yellow to orange tinge, and may or may not have black markings (Savage 2002).

Coloration varies among the three known populations. Frogs from the Volcán Barva region are mostly uniformly colored, while those from the Macizo de Cedral are sexually dimorphic in coloration, and those from the Rio Reventazón drainage area show variability (Savage, 2002)[3049].

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.
  • Taylor, E.H. (1952). "A review of the frogs and toads of Costa Rica." University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 35, 577-942.
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Distribution

Range Description

This species occurs in humid montane forest in central Costa Rica in the Cordilleras Central and Talamanca in Costa Rica from 1,100-2,200m asl.
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Distribution and Habitat

A. senex is known from only three localities in Costa Rica, one in the Volcán Barva region and two on the extreme northern slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca. It is found associated with streams in high premontane rainforest and lower montane wet forest and rainforest, from 1,280 - 2,040 m in elevation (Savage, 2002)[3049].

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Taylor, E.H. (1952). "A review of the frogs and toads of Costa Rica." University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 35, 577-942.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It occurs and reproduces in stream margins in premontane rainforest and lower montane rainforest. It is a diurnal, stream-breeding species, and used to be found in great concentrations during the reproductive period from July to August (Savage 2002).

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
Federico Bolaños, Gerardo Chaves, Uriel Barrantes

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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Population

Population
This species was formerly abundant but (as of August 2007) it has not been seen since 1986 despite repeated searches; although further searches are needed to finally confirm the exinction of this species. It was formerly abundant on the slopes of Volcán Barva, but is now believed extinct there (Savage 2002).

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

A. senex is a diurnal, stream-breeding frog (Savage, 2002)[3049]. The breeding period is from July to August (Savage 2002). This species of frog has been observed to walk more frequently than hop (Taylor 1952).

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Taylor, E.H. (1952). "A review of the frogs and toads of Costa Rica." University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 35, 577-942.
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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. Other threats to this species might include climate change, collecting for the pet trade, and possibly pollution.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

This species suffered a severe decline in 1987-1988, from which it has not recovered. It is also thought to be extinct in the Volcán Barva region (Savage, 2002)[3049].

  • Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Taylor, E.H. (1952). "A review of the frogs and toads of Costa Rica." University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 35, 577-942.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The range of this species is protected by both Parque Nacional Tapantí and Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo (although it is now believed extinct in the latter area). Further survey work is required to determine whether or not this species still persists. Given the threat of chytridiomycosis, surviving individuals might need to form the basis for the establishment of an ex-situ population.
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Wikipedia

Atelopus senex

Atelopus senex is a species of toad in the Bufonidae family. It is endemic to Costa Rica. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and rivers.

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