IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

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“It was a startling and grotesque spectacle to observe this squatting monster slowly and motionlessly take form where apparently there had been nothing before upon the oozy bottom.” - William Ray Allen, 1922

Telmatobius culeus is entirely aquatic. This species ranges in size from approximately 76 to 140mm (snout-vent length) (Garman 1876; Hutchison et al. 1976), with a weight up to 250g (Hutchison et al 1976). Telmatobius culeus has a distinctive wide and flat body with baggy skin folds hanging from the dorsum, sides, and hind legs (Garman 1876; Hutchison et al. 1976). In accord with its aquatic nature, the lungs in this frog are markedly reduced in size compared to ranids of similar size (Allen 1922; Hutchison et al. 1976). Telmatobius culeus displays physiological, behavioral, and morphological specializations that may be adaptations to aquatic life at a high altitude (Navas 2006; Hutchison et al. 1976; Trueb 1979).


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