IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

Comprehensive Description

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Telmatobius cirrhacelis is a medium sized frog, and was described with a snout-vent length of 49.6 to 68.7 mm in females, and 56.6 mm in males. This species was described from two female specimens, and a single male specimen. The head is similar in shape to a toad’s with a dull, smooth snout that steeply slopes downwards. The width of its head is over twice than that of its length. This species lacks a tympanum. Nostrils are not prominent and closer to the eyes than to the mouth. The eyes are large, with a diameter that is over a third of the head length. The forelimbs are fairly stout, with many tubercles on its hands, and spherical fingertips. The hand has two distinct palmer tubercles. All four digits of the forelimb have distinct subarticular tubercles, while the third and fourth digits also have distal subarticular tubercles. The relative finger lengths are as follows, from longest to shortest: 3 > 4 > 1 > 2. The hind limbs are very long, with a length longer than of its snout-to-vent length. The toes are long with some webbing between the digits. At most, the webbing is 2/3 the length of the digits. The relative toe lengths are as follows, from longest to shortest: 4 > 3 > 5 > 2 > 1. The tips of the toes are smaller than the fingertips, and are also spherical. The inner metatarsal tubercle is small, ovoid, and indented. The outer metatarsal tubercle is half the size of the inner metatarsal tubercle and less distinct. The first and second digits have one subarticular tubercle, the third and fifth digits have two, and the fourth digit has three. Tubercles are present on the underside of the thighs. The rest of the skin is smooth. The cloaca is round (Trueb 1979).

Live specimens of T. cirrhacelis are most easily distinguished from other Telmatobius by the orange spots on their dorsum. They also differ from other members of their genus in their long hind limbs with reduced webbing, and head shape resembling a toad’s (Trueb 1979).

In life, the skin is brown, with the flanks, limbs, and anterior portions being more olive-brown. The underside is pale orange and grey. The dorsum has conspicuous orange spots, for which the species is named. These spots are also present on the dorsal side of the limbs. In preservative, its backside is red brown and somewhat blotchy. Its hands, feet, and the outer part of its limbs are a bit greyer with more discrete blotching (Trueb 1979).

Males have longer hind limbs than females, and have more darkly colored flanks. Females do not possess the supernumerary palmer tubercle that males have. The first and second fingers of the female are almost equal in length, while there is a greater difference in the lengths of the male's fingers (Trueb 1979).

The species authority is: Trueb, L. (1979). "Leptodactylid Frogs of the Genus Telmatobius in Ecuador with the Description of a New Species." Copeia, 1979(4), 714-733.

Although originally described in the Leptodactylidae family, the phylogeny of T. cirrhacelis has been revised. Telmatobius is now the only genus within the family Telmatobiidae (Pyron and Wiens 2011).

Its name comes from the Greek "kirrhos" and "kelis", which translate to orange and spot respectively, in reference to the orange spots on its back (Trueb 1979).


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