IUCN threat status:

Data Deficient (DD)

Comprehensive Description

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Brachycephalus alipioi is a robust, medium-sized, bufoniform species in the genus Brachycephalus, family Brachycephalidae, with snout-vent lenght range of 12.5 - 16.2 mm. The large head is wider than long. The extremely short snout has a semicircular shape in the dorsal view and is rounded in lateral view. The species has small slit shaped nostrils that are not protuberant and are directed anterolaterally at the end of the snout. It has an almost straight distinct canthus rostralis and a vertical loreal region that is not concave. The medium-sized eye protrudes dorsally. The tympanum is indistinct and the supratympanic fold is absent. There is a small pair of postorbital crests and small pair of bulges that are about equidistant between postorbital crests. The long, narrow tongue lacks indentation on its free posterior border. Vomerine teeth and premaxillary teeth are absent. Choanae is small, rounded, and anterior to eye. There is no dermal ossification dorsal to the vertebrae, externally the vertebral column protrudes slightly. Arms are slender and fingers are robust. Relative finger lengths are 3 > 2 > 1 > 4 with the fourth finger extremely reduced (almost absent); second and third fingertips are pointed. Subarticular tubercles and inner and outer metacarpal tubercles are absent. The legs are short and moderately robust with toes robust. First and fifth toes are not visible externally, second and third toe tips are rounded, fourth toe tip is slightly pointed, subarticular tubercles and inner and outer metatarsal tubercles absent. The skin is smooth on the head, throat, and chest while the skin on the dorsum, center of belly, and legs are slightly wrinkled. The flanks and posterior parts of thighs are very wrinkled (Pombal and Gasparini 2006).

Brachycephalus alipioi can be distinguished from other species in the same genus by the combination of one or more of these characteristics: uniform orange color, larger size, rounded bufoniform body, absence of two bony shields on the dorsum, presences of a small pair of postorbital crests, reduced (but present) fourth finger, absence of dermal ossification dorsal to the vertebrae, and absence of developed warts in dorsum. It is further characterized by the absence of a fifth toe, completely ossified pectoral girdle, epicoracoids are contacting closely and articulating throughout their lengths, omosternum and sternum are absent (Pombal and Gasparini 2006).

In life, the body is a uniform orange color. The eye and a thin line surround the eye are black. In preservative the specimen becomes uniformly cream yellowish on the dorsum and lighter on the undersurfaces. The eyes stay black, but the thin black line around eye is interrupted at the upper eyelids, and small brownish dots appear on the head (Pombal and Gasparini 2006).

Females are more robust and larger than males. Smaller individuals have less developed postorbital crests and bulges (Pombal and Gasparini 2006).

The current species authority for this species is: Jose P. Pombal Jr. and Joao Luiz Gaparini. “A New Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) From The Atlantic Rainforest of Espirito Santo, Southeastern Brazil. South American Journal of Herpetology 2006 1(2), pages 87-93.

Brachycephalus alipioi is a member of the New World frog family Brachycephalidae. The phylogeny of the genus, which has 14 recognized species, is unresolved. A species tree obtained by Clemente-Carvalho et al. in 2011 described three lineages of Brachycephalus; one containing B. ephippium and B. garbeana, another containing B. brunneus, B. izecksohni, B. pombali, B. ferruginus, and B. pernix, and another lineage containing B. didactylus, B. hermogenesi, B. alipioi, B. pitanga, B. vertabralis, B. nodoterga, and B. toby. There is some disagreement in their analysis on the placement of B. hermgenesi and Clemente-Carvalho et al. found that further sampling will be necessary to determine the phylogenetic relationships within Brachycephalus with certainty.

The name, Brachycephalus alipioi, honors Alipio de Miranda-Ribeiro (1874-1939), who was a highly esteemed Brazilian naturalist in his time. He worked at the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, published extensively on vertebrates, especially in ichthyology and herpetology (Pombal and Gasparini 2006).

The holotype was collected at “Fazenda Aoki or Fazenda dos Japoneses”, approximately 915 meters above sea level in the municipality of Vargem Alta, State of Espirito Santo, Brazil on November 15, 2000 by J.P. Pombal Jr., J.L. Gaspirini, R. Fernandes, and G.M. Prado.


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