Tuesday 17 January 2017

Pristimantis ashaninka: A new species of Fleshbelly Frog from the Montane Rainforests of Peru.

The Montane Rainforests of the Andes are home to a great diversity of Animals and Plants, many of which have a very limited range. One group that are particularly diverse in the region are Craugastorid Frogs (Fleshbelly Frogs), with 487 species recorded from the region, out of a total of 746 described species across Central and South America. Due to the very limited range of many of these species they are considered to be at risk from encroaching development in the region, such as deforestation, road developments and the introduction of new cash crops.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 23 January 2017, Edgar Lehr of the Department of Biology at Illinois Wesleyan University and Jiří Moravec of the Department of Zoology at the National Museum in Prague describe a new species of Fleshbelly Frog from the Pui Pui Protected Forest of the Junín Region in central Peru, discovered as part of a survey of Frogs within the forest.

The new species is placed in the genus Pristimantis and given the specific name ashaninka, in reference to the indigenous Asháninka of the region. The species is described from fifteen specimens fund in a very limited area in the northwest of the forest, at an altitude of between 1700 and 1800 above sea level. The Frogs range from 23.1 to 27.6 mm in length. The have a blotchy pattern, with a mixture of reddish, grayish and creamish browns, some specimens having a distinctive hourglass patten on their backs.

Pristimantis ashaninka, female specimen. Edgar Lehr in Lehr & Moravec (2016).

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