Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Singing in the rain: A new species of rain frog from Manu National Park, Amazonian Peru


June 2, 2016

A new rain frog species has been described from Amazonian Peru and the Amazonian foothills of the Andes. The frog, given the name Pristimantis pluvialis, was found by researchers from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, the University of Michigan, and the National University of San Antonio Abad of Cusco in Peru. The discovery is published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Several individuals of P. pluvialis were found during nocturnal surveys near Manu National Park, a region recognized as having the highest diversity of reptiles and amphibians of any protected area.

The species has also been collected within the private conservation area Bosque Nublado, owned by the Peruvian NGO Perú Verde, and within the Huachiperi Haramba Queros Conservation Concession, the first such type of concession granted to a native community in Peru.

The new species is likely found within the park as well, bringing the number of known amphibian species in this area to 156. Similarly to other species within its genus, which is among the largest vertebrate genera, the new rain frog exhibits direct development. This means that it is capable of undergoing its entire life cycle without a free-living tadpole stage.

It can be distinguished from other members of its genus by call, skin texture, and the presence of a rostral papilla. It was given the name "pluvialis", translatable to "rainy" from Latin, to denote the incredibly rain-soaked habitat it lives in (>8 meters of rain yearly), and because it was found calling only after heavy rains.

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