New species of Anolis lizard described from our Dracula Reserve


The new Anolis lizard. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga

The deep, dry Rio Mira valley separates the montane forests protected by our Dracula Reserve from the montane forests further south (such as those protected by our Manduriacu Reserve). Evidently this Rio Mira valley has served as a barrier for many cloud forest organisms over evolutionary time, leading to the evolution of different sister species on each side. The endangered Andean toads Rhaebo olallai in Manduriacu and Rhaebo colomai in the Dracula Reserve may form such a species pair. A pair of still-undescribed forest mice, one in Manduriacu and the other in the Dracula Reserve, appear to be another instance of this phenomenon. EcoMinga’s Juan Pablo Reyes and his colleagues at the National Institute of Biodiversity (INABIO) have just added another example of this divergence, as they published a description of a new species of Anolis lizard from the Dracula Reserve that is the sister species of a common Anolis south of the Rio Mira. The article is published in ZooKeys.



The Mira valley separates the new species, Anolis dracula, from its sister species A. aequatorialis. Map from the article.

This lizard is the most common Anolis of the area. Here is a comparison, from the article, of the new species and its closest relative, A. aequatorialis:


Top: Anolis dracula. Bottom: A. aequatorialis. From the article.

The scientists who discovered this species were supported in this investigation by INABIO (National Institute for Biodiversity), SENECYT, UNAM (Mexico), the University of Basel Botanical Garden, and EcoMinga. We strongly believe that science should drive conservation, and we always encourage scientists to investigate our reserves. We provide logistical support and sometimes can also help fund studies. Such investigations help us understand the diversity we protect, and let us identify and prioritize new areas for conservation our conservation purchases.

We would like to thank recent donors who make these investigations and land purchases possible: World Land Trust, Rainforest Trust, Orchid Conservation Alliance, University of Basel Botanical Garden, Andean Studies Program, Fundacion Condor, and individuals including Henri Botter and Ardy Van Ooij, Judith Rapacz, Mark Wilson, Vera Lee Rao, and Vicki Byrd.

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga

Rare lizard found this week in the Viscaya unit of our Naturetrek Reserves


Riama meleagris in our Naturetrek/Viscaya Reserve. Note the iridescence on the scales. Click to enlarge. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.

A few days ago our reserve manager, herpetologist Juan Pablo Reyes, was working with community members in our Naturetrek/Viscaya Reserve a few kilometers north of the town of Banos (Tungurahua province) when he accidentally encountered a lizard he had never seen before. It proved to be Riama meleagris, a species that has  previously been recorded from only two other sites, both in Tungurahua province. Both those other localities are now now highly disturbed, and the species is classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN. Our reserve is the only protected area where this species has been found; it is good to know that it will be protected from deforestation here at least.


Rialma meleagris in our reserve. Click to enlarge. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.


The former landowner, Jorge Peña, and his family, who now help us care for the reserve. Click to enlarge. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga


Incredible frog discoveries in our Dracula Reserve


A potentially new species, a blue-eyed Pristimantis! Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.

A few weeks ago our executive director Javier Robayo and our ranger Hector Yela organized an expedition to investigate the poorly known amphibians, reptiles, and mammals in an area we are trying to purchase for our Dracula Reserve expansion, in the province of Carchi in Ecuador. Trips into unexplored territory are always exciting, especially when the exploration is done by a team of experts who are famous for finding new or unusual creatures. Besides Javier and Hector, this expedition included Mario Yanez, Glenda Pozo, and Jorge Brito, from Ecuador’s Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, herpetologist Juan Pablo Reyes who is also our reserve manager, Tito Recalde and Jordy Salazar, who are two of EcoMinga’s Banos-area rangers, and several brothers of Hector: Elias, Rigoberto and Rodolfo, who helped prepare trails and keep the expedition supplied with food.  The mission was supported by the University of Basel Botanical Garden.

The excitement in Juan Pablo’s voice was palpable when he called me as soon as he had reached cell phone coverage at the end of the expedition. He reported not just one but at least three exciting discoveries! The most amazing was an apparently new species of frog that was yellow with blue eyes!!!!  It belongs to the huge genus Pristimantis. None of the herpetologists had ever seen anything like it. Still, it could be some rare color mutant, so its DNA will be analyzed by frog expert Santiago Ron to make sure it is new.


Blue-eyed Pristimantis. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Mario Yanez.



Blue-eyed Pristimantis. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.

In addition to this fancy frog, the expedition also discovered a new population of a fancy toad, Atelopus coynei, named by the late Ken Miyata for the famous evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne. The often-colorful Atelopus toads are disappearing throughout their range due to the invasive chytrid fungus.  This species too had disappeared from most of its former range, but was recently rediscovered by Andreas Kay about 15kms from this population. The species is listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered. Mario Yanez wrote “Otras localidades históricas con composiciones similares como Tandayapa o Río Baboso están severamente fragmentadas y han perdido las especies que hoy se mantienen en Carchi. [Este sector] mantiene composiciones taxónomicas y funcionales altamente diversas.” Translation: “Other historic localities with similar compositions, like Tandayapa or Rio Babosa, are severely fragmented and have lost the species which are still present today in Carchi. [This area] still maintains  highly diverse taxonomic and functional compositions.”


Critically endangered Atelopus coynei from this newly discovered population. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.


Atelopus coneyi1

Atelopus coynei from this population. Photo by Mario Yanez.

As if that wasn’t enough, the team also discovered a second population of Rhaebo colomai, a toad that had just recently been rediscovered in our Dracula Reserve by another team of herpetologists. Like Atelopus coynei, it is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN.

Rhaebo colomai

Critically endangered Rhaebo colomai from this new population. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Mario Yanez.

Mario concludes: “Se ha registrado una comunidad de anfibios y reptiles taxónomica y funcionalmente completa. En menos de tres meses una segunda especie amenazada es registrada por la gestión Ecominga. Sobresale el hallazgo de especies endémicas y amenazadas de Bufonidos andinos sintópicos en el sector ….Potenciales nuevas especies evidencian que la comunidad de herpetofauna en la cuenca del Río Mira esta poco estudida y nada representada en el sistema nacional de áreas protegidas, al ser diferente a los sectores de Cotacachi – Cayapas, Mindo e Ilinizas. Es una gran oportunidad de hacer conservación efectiva.”

Translation: “We have observed a community of reptiles and amphibians that is taxonomically and functionally complete. In less than three months a second endangered species has been recorded thanks to the efforts of EcoMinga. The discovery multiple sympatric species of threatened Andean Bufonidae [toads] is striking. The presence of potential new species shows that the herpetofauna community in the Rio Mira watershed is poorly studied and not represented at all in national parks or other state protected areas, in contrast with the Cotocachi-Cayapas, Mindo, and Illinizas areas. This is a great opportunity for effective conservation.”


Glass frog, Espadarana prosoblepon. Note the blue armpit flaps! Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.

I’ve heard that the mammals found by the expedition were also very interesting, including new records for Ecuador, but I have not yet received the details. I’ll post about that when I know more.


Happy frogs along the stream. Apparently another new species, but more work is needed; this species had been seen on an earlier expedition in our Dracula Reserve. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.

We are currently raising money to buy land in this area, which is at elevations not represented in the existing units of our Dracula Reserve. You can help by donating to the Orchid Conservation Alliance. Please mention that the donation is for EcoMinga. They have already raised over $90000 in the last few months for this project, and the Rainforest Trust will match that donation. We hope to convince the Rainforest Trust to continue matching future donations; they will probably decide this in February.


 Anolis purpurascens found during the expedition. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.

Many thanks to our team of experts for their passion to investigate and save Ecuador’s biodiversity, and to the University of Basel who made this expedition possible.

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga





A “lost” toad rediscovered: We join the effort to protect Rhaebo olallai

Fig. 4. Andinophryne ollalai

Juvenile Rhaebo olallai, a “lost” amphibian recently rediscovered after a 43 year disappearance. Photo by one of the rediscoverers, Ryan Lynch.

[Traduccion en espanol abajo]

In my last post I wrote about the amphibian experts who had secluded themselves in a remote cloud forest lodge, San Isidro, in order to work on updating the IUCN Red List status of 200 Ecuadorian frog species. They have finished their task, but the proposed threat categories for each species still need to be reviewed by other specialists. The categories assigned to each species will only become official after this review.

The amphibian specialists who updated the threat categories of Ecuadorian frogs at San Isidro. Left to right, back row: Raquel Betancourt, Diego Cisneros Heredia, Paul Szekely, Mauricio Ortega, Marcelo Tognelli, Carolina Reyes, Jorge Rodriguez, Juan Pablo Reyes, Salomón Ramírez, Mario Yánez Muñoz, Patricia Bejarano. Front row: Juan Carlos Sanchez, Luis Amador, Mauricio Rivera Correa, Paul Gutierrez, Bruce Young, Jorge Brito. Juan Pablo Reyes, fourth from the right, is our reserve manager, and one of our directors, Mario Yanez, is second from the right. Photo: Bruce Young.

The amphibian specialists who updated the threat categories of Ecuadorian frogs at San Isidro. Left to right, back row: Raquel Betancourt, Diego Cisneros Heredia, Paul Szekely, Mauricio Ortega, Marcelo Tognelli, Carolina Reyes, Jorge Rodriguez, Juan Pablo Reyes, Salomón Ramírez, Mario Yánez Muñoz, Patricia Bejarano. Front row: Juan Carlos Sanchez, Luis Amador, Mauricio Rivera Correa, Paul Gutierrez, Bruce Young, Jorge Brito. Juan Pablo Reyes, fourth from the right, is our reserve manager, and Mario Yanez, second from the right, is one of our directors. Photo: Bruce Young.

Nevertheless for some species, conservation can’t wait, and I will write a few posts here about some species that we believe are likely to be officially classified as Endangered or Critically Endangered, and which require urgent conservation action.

Andinophryne ollalai

Another view of Rhaebo olallai, the Tandayapa Andean Toad. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

One of the most dramatic frog conservation stories involves the Tanadayapa Andean Toad, Rhaebo (formerly Andinophryne) olallai. This species was first discovered in 1970 near the town of Tandayapa about 50 kms west of Quito, but then it disappeared. The area has become a very popular ecotourism destination and is often visited by scientists, so its disappearance from the area seems to be real and not the result of lack of searching. In fact the area was searched multiple times by trained herpetologists looking specifically for this toad, for a total of at least 150 hours of search effort, without success. Another Ecuadorian member of the genus, R. colomai, also disappeared shortly after its discovery, and the current IUCN Red List notes that R. colomai may be extinct.

In 2012 biologists Ryan Lynch and Sebastian Kohn (whose parents are EcoMinga board members) were surveying the forest of Manduriacu, 40 kms north of the site where R. olallai had been discovered forty-three years earlier. They were surprised to find an unusual fancy toad during their night walks, and immediately realized this was something special. Upon investigation they realized that they had rediscovered R olallai! And not just a few individuals. They eventually found large numbers of them, in all age categories. Their photos were the first ones ever published of live individuals. They also were the first humans to see the fancy color pattern of the juveniles, as shown in Ryan’s photos at the top of this post. As they mature they lose their pattern, as shown in the photo below. These dramatic color changes are not found in most other species of the genus.

Andinophryne ollalai

Adult Rhaebo olallai. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

The rediscovery was described in a scientific article, and also in article for the Amphibian Survival Alliance. The latter article explains the conservation situation of this toad:

Its scarcity earned the species a spot on the World’s “Lost Frogs” List by Conservation International. “This is a truly exciting and important rediscovery,” stated Dr. Robin Moore who launched the Global search for Lost Frogs, adding “In order to prioritize what and where to protect, it is imperative to know whether rare species such as this still exist. Hopefully this remarkable find will lead to some concrete conservation actions to ensure the species stays off the Lost Frogs List.”…

The article continues:

The region surrounding Manduriacu has received attention by conservationists in recent years due to the expansion of hydroelectric, mining, and logging activities, all of which could threaten the well-being and survival of unknown numbers of rare and endangered species such the Tandayapa Andean Toad in the region. “The last time we visited the property we encountered a freshly clear-cut plot of land less than a kilometer from the rediscovery site, which is home to the only currently known population of the species” stated Lynch, adding “so land preservation in the region can’t come quick enough.”

Santiago R. Ron from Museo de Zoología QCAZ, Universidad Católica del Ecuador, who oversees ongoing population studies of Andinophryne [Note added by LJ: that genus is now included in Rhaebo] in Ecuador stated “The discovery of the Tandayapa Andean Toad in Manduriyacu demonstrates that the forests have unique properties and, presumably, unique communities”, adding “so the study and conservation of this area should be considered a priority for both the Ecuadorian government and the international conservation community.” In addition to the Tandayapa Andean Toad, four threatened amphibian species have been recorded in Manduriacu…

Fig. 1. Manduriyacu Location

Map of Manduriacu.

The habitat of Rhaebo olallai in Manduriacu. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

One of the other threatened amphibian species of Manduriacu is the Darwin-Wallace Poison Dart Frog, Epipedobates darwinwallacei, recently described by Diego Cisneros-Heredia and EcoMinga director Mario Yanez. It is endemic to foothill forests just west of Quito, in Pichincha, Santo Domingo, and Cotopaxi provinces. Poison dart frogs are unusual among frogs for the care they give to their offspring; the adults sometimes carry their tadpoles on their backs to put them in new pools of water in the canopy, often bromeliad crowns. Females of some species visit these pools and lay infertile eggs in them to feed their offspring. The first photo below shows an adult carrying tadpoles.

Epipedobates darwinwallacei carrying tadpoles. Photo: Epipedobates darwinwallacei, Santiago Ron, FaunaWebEcuador, bajo licencia CC (BY-NC 3.0).

Epipedobates darwinwallacei carrying tadpoles. Click to enlarge. Photo: Epipedobates darwinwallacei, Santiago Ron, FaunaWebEcuador, bajo licencia CC (BY-NC 3.0).

Epipedobates darwinwallacei. Photo by Andreas Kay, from his site, EcuadorMegadiverso.

Epipedobates darwinwallacei. Photo by Andreas Kay, from his endlessly fascinating photo site,


Another rare and local endemic is Lepidoblepharis conolepis, restricted to Pichincha and Cotopaxi provinces:

Lepidoblepharis conolepis

Lepidoblepharis conolepis. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

Some other reptiles and amphibians of Manduriacu, all from Ryan Lynch’s website:

Anolis gemmosus

Anolis gemmosus. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

Anolis aequatorialis

Anolis aequatorialis. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

Pristimantis muricatus

Pristimantis muricatus. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

Diaphorolepis wagneri

Diaphorolepis wagneri. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

Centrolene peristictum

Centrolene peristictum. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

Espadarana prosoblepon

Espadarana prosoblepon. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

Hyloscirtus cf. alytolylax

Hyloscirtus cf alytolylax. Note that this species is hiding under a leaf while calling, exactly like the Hyloscirtus I had photographed in our Rio Zunac Reserve. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

Pristimantis scolodiscus

Pristimantis scolodiscus. Photo: Ryan Lynch.

Since this is the only known place in the world where the Tandayapa Andean Toad exists, and since other very rare species are also present there, clearly this threatened forest should be preserved. Sebastian Kohn has long been committed to conserving this forest, and he was able to buy several lots in the Manduriacu watershed where the toad lives. These lots total 969 acres and range in elevation from 1100 to 2100m. He enrolled these properties in the Ecuadorian government’s SocioBosque program, which pays the owner to conserve the forest. Sebastian uses all of the annual government payment to fund the salary of a permanent forest guard, who happens to also be the president of the local community.

Shortly after they rediscovered the toad, Ryan and Sebastian approached us for help in protecting this watershed, and we agreed. The Manduriacu lots protected by Sebastian are now under our control. Sebastian has turned them over to us to manage, and will give us all the money he receives from the SocioBosque program, to pay our costs for that management, so that there is no cost to us. In addition he has generously agreed to donate all of his land to EcoMinga when his SocioBosque contract ends. (We do not want him not to donate it to us now, because that would cut off the SocioBosque management money; the SocioBosque program applies only to individuals and communities, not to foundations.) So we are proud to announce that Manduriacu becomes EcoMinga’s newest reserve, with Sebastian’s original purchases as its core!

However, there is still a 325 acre property in the middle of this watershed that has not been bought. It splits our protected forest in half. EcoMinga has still not been able to find all the funding for this purchase. We have promises of about $10,000 but need another $63,000 for the lot. (We may be able to buy it with less money if we can find an entity that would match the donated funds; we have sometimes been able to do this in the past.) This property contains excellent primary forest and lots of wildlife, including big cats, peccaries, and much else. The highest parts, at 2000m elevation, have not yet been explored but should contain a very high diversity of Dracula orchid species (and these would mostly be different species from those in our Dracula Reserve, which is much farther north near the Colombian border). If there are any US readers who would like to help us with this purchase, the Orchid Conservation Alliance can accept donations and give tax deductions. Please specify that your donation should go to EcoMinga/Manduriacu, and also write me to let me know.

Note added July 28 2016: Something seems to be wrong with the Orchid Conservation Alliance Paypal button; it will be better to send a check directly to them and write an email to the president, Peter Tobias, with copy to me, advising him that the donation is for EcoMinga/Manduriacu:
Peter Tobias, President
Orchid Conservation Alliance
564 Arden Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024
Thanks Jim Knight for bringing the problem to my attention.

Manduriacu forest catching the sun. Photo: Sebastian Kohn.

Manduriacu forest catching the sun. Photo: Sebastian Kohn.

The Manduriacu forest contains important mammals like the Brown-headed Spider Monkey, listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, and many other species. Below is a herd of Collared Peccaries (Pecari tajacu) eating its way through the Manduriacu undergrowth at night:

and a Brocket Deer (Mazama species):

And here is a potential predator of the peccaries and deer, a Puma (Felis concolor):

There is also evidence that jaguars use the forest, including this camera-trap photo:

Apparently a Jaguar (Panthera onca) passing close to Sebastian's camera trap in Manduriacu.

Apparently a Jaguar (Panthera onca) passing close to Sebastian’s camera trap in Manduriacu.

But the weirdest animal of all is the Pacarana (Dinomys branickii), which will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.

For more inspiration see all of Ryan Lynch’s beautiful photos of the reptiles and amphibians of Manduriacu Reserve:

More info on Ecuador’s amphibians:
Amphibians of Ecuador, Universidad Catolica de Quito:

Lou Jost
Fundacion EcoMinga

Un sapo “perdido” redescubierto: Nos unimos al esfuerzo de proteger Rhaebo olallai.
IMG 01 – Juvenil de Rhaebo olallai, un anfibio “perdido” recientemente redescubierto después de una desaparición de 43 años. Fotografía por uno de los redescubridores, Ryan Lynch.
En mi última publicación escribí acerca de los expertos en anfibios que se recluyeron a sí mismos en un refugio remoto en el bosque nublado, en San Isidro, con el fin de trabajar en la actualización del estado en la Lista Roja UICN de 200 especies de ranas ecuatorianas. Ellos han terminado su trabajo, pero las categorías de amenaza propuestas para cada especie todavía tienen que ser revisadas por otros especialistas. Sólo después de esta revisión, la categoría asignada para cada especie se volverá oficial.
Sin embargo, para algunas especies, la conservación no puede esperar, y escribiré algunas publicaciones aquí acerca de algunas especies que creemos probable que estén clasificadas oficialmente como En Peligro o En Peligro Crítico, y que requieren una acción de conservación urgente.
IMG 03 – Otra vista de Rhaebo olallai, el Sapo Andino de Tandayapa. Fotografía: Ryan Lynch.
Una de las historias de conservación más dramáticas involucra el Sapo Andino de Tandayapa, Rhaebo (formalmente Andinophryne) olallai. Esta especie fue descubierta por primera vez en 1970 cerca del pueblo de Tandayapa, a 50 km al oeste de Quito, pero después desapareció. El área se ha convertido en un destino ecoturístico muy popular, y a menudo es visitado por científicos, así que su desaparición del área parece ser real y no el resultado de la falta de investigación. De hecho, el área fue investigada múltiples veces por herpetólogos calificados buscando específicamente a este sapo, para un total de por lo menos 150 horas de esfuerzo de muestreo *búsqueda*, sin éxito. Otro miembro ecuatoriano del género, R. colomai, también desapareció poco después de su descubrimiento, y el estado actual de la Lista Roja UICN menciona que R. colomai podría estar extinto.
En 2012, los biólogos Ryan Lynch y Sebastián Kohn (cuyos padres son miembros de la junta de EcoMinga), estaban muestreando el bosque de Manduriacu, 40 km al norte del sitio donde R. olallai había sido descubierto cuarenta y tres años atrás. Ellos se sorprendieron al encontrar un inusual y fantástico sapo durante sus caminatas nocturnas, e inmediatamente se dieron cuenta que esto era algo especial. ¡Tras la investigación repararon en que habían redescubierto R. olallai! Y no sólo unos pocos individuos. Eventualmente encontraron grandes números de ellos, en todas las categorías de edad. Sus fotografías fueron las primeras alguna vez publicadas de individuos vivos. También fueron los primeros humanos en ver el fantástico patrón de color de los juveniles, como se muestra en las fotografías de Ryan en la parte superior de esta publicación. A medida que maduran, pierden sus patrones de color, como se muestra en esta fotografía de abajo. Este dramático cambio de color no se encuentran en la mayoría de otras especies del género.
IMG 04- Adulto de Rhaebo olallai. Fotografía: Ryan Lynch.
El redescubrimiento fue descrito en un artículo científico, y también en un artículo para el Amphibian Survival Alliance *Link caído*. El último artículo explica la situación de conservación de este sapo:
Su escasez le valió a la especie un lugar en la Lista Mundial de “Ranas Perdidas” de Conservación Internacional. “Este es un redescubrimiento verdaderamente emocionante e importante”, afirmó el Dr. Robin Moore, quien lanzó la búsqueda global de ranas perdidas, y agregó “Para priorizar qué y dónde proteger, es imperativo saber si especies raras como esta todavía existen. Con suerte, este hallazgo extraordinario conducirá a algunas acciones de conservación concretas para garantizar que la especie se mantenga fuera de la Lista de Ranas Perdidas.”
El artículo continúa:
La región que rodea Manduriacu ha recibido la atención de conservacionistas en los años recientes debido a la expansión de actividades hidroeléctricas, de minería y de tala, las cuales pueden amenazar el bienestar y supervivencia de números desconocidos de especies amenazadas y raras como el Sapo Andino de Tandayapa en la región. “La última vez que visitamos la propiedad, encontramos una parcela de tierra recién talada a menos de un kilómetro del sitio de redescubrimiento, el cual es hogar de la única población conocida actualmente de la especie”, dijo Lynch, añadiendo “por lo que la preservación de la tierra en la región no puede llegar lo suficientemente rápido”.
Santiago R. Ron, del Museo de Zoología QCAZ, Universidad Católica del Ecuador, quien supervisa los estudios poblacionales en curso de Andinophryne [Nota añadida por LJ: el género es ahora incluido en Rhaebo] en Ecuador, declaró: El descubrimiento del Sapo Andino de Tandayapa en Manduriacu demuestra que los bosques tienen propiedades únicas y, presumiblemente, comunidades únicas”, añadiendo “así que el estudio y conservación de esta área debería ser considerada una prioridad para ambos, el Gobierno Ecuatoriano y la comunidad internacional de conservación.” Adicionalmente al Sapo Andino de Tandayapa, cuatro especies de anfibios han sido registrados en Manduriacu…
IMG 05 – Mapa de Manduriacu.
IMG 06 – El hábitat de Rhaebo olallai en Manduriacu. Fotografía: Ryan Lynch
Una de las otras especies de anfibios amenazadas de Manduriacu es la Rana Dardo Venenosa Darwin-Wallace, Epipedobates darwinwallacei, recientemente descrita por Diego Cisneros-Heredia y el director de EcoMinga Marco Yánez. Es endémica de los bosques de las estribaciones al oeste de Quito, en las provincias de Pichincha, Santo Domingo y Cotopaxi. Las ranas dardo venenosas son inusuales entre las ranas por el cuidado que brindan a su descendencia; los adultos a veces cargan a sus renacuajos en sus espaldas para ponerlos en nuevos estanques de agua en el dosel, a menudo en las rosetas de las bromelias.  Las hembras de algunas especies visitan estos pequeños tanques y depositan huevos infértiles en ellas para alimentar a su descendencia. Esta foto a continuación muestra un adulto cargando renacuajos.
Otra especie endémica rara y local es Lepidoblepharis conolepis, restringida a las provincias de Pichincha y Cotopaxi
IMG 09 –Lepidoblepharis conolepis. Fotografía: Ryan Lynch
Algunas otros reptiles y anfibios de Manduriacu, todos del sitio web de Ryan Lynch.
IMG 10 – Anolis gemmosus. Fotografía: Ryan Lynch
IMG 11 – Anolis aequatorialis. Fotografía: Ryan Lynch
IMG 12 – Pristimantis muricatus. Fotografía Ryan Lynch
IMG 13- Diaphorolepis wagneri. Fotografía Ryan Lynch
IMG 14 – Centrolene peristictum. Fotografía Ryan Lynch
IMG 15 – Espadarana prosoblepon. Fotografía Ryan Lynch
IMG 16 – Hyloscirtus cf. alytolylax. Observe que esta especie se esconde bajo una hoja mientras canta, exactamente como el Hyloscirtus que fotografié en nuestra Reserva Río Zuñac. Fotografía Ryan Lynch
IMG 17 – Pristimantis scolodiscus. Fotografía Ryan Lynch
Desde que este es el único lugar conocido en el mundo donde el Sapo Andino de Tandayapa existe, y debido a que otras varias especies raras están también presentes aquí, claramente este bosque amenazado debería ser preservado. Sebastián Kohn lleva mucho tiempo comprometido con la conservación de este bosque, y pudo comprar varios lotes en la cuenca del Manduriacu donde vive el sapo. Estos lotes tienen un total de 969 acres (392,14 Ha) y un gradiente de elevación de 1100 a 2100 msnm. Él inscribió estas propiedades en el programa SocioBosque del gobierno ecuatoriano, que paga al propietario para conservar el bosque. Sebastián utiliza todo el pago anual del gobierno para financiar el salario de un guarda forestal permanente, que también es el presidente de la comunidad local.
Poco después de que ellos redescubrieron al sapo, Ryan y Sebastián se acercaron a nosotros para pedir ayuda en proteger esta cuenca, y nosotros estuvimos de acuerdo. Los lotes de Manduriacu protegidos por Sebastián ahora están bajo nuestro cuidado. Sebastián nos lo ha entregado para que lo administremos, y nos dará todo el dinero que reciba del programa SocioBosque, para pagar nuestros costos del manejo, para que no haya ningún coste para nosotros. Adicionalmente, él generosamente estuvo de acuerdo en donar toda su tierra a EcoMinga cuando su contrato SocioBosque termine (nosotros no queremos que nos lo done ahora, porque eso podría cortar el dinero de la gestión de SocioBosque; el programa SocioBosque aplica sólo a individuos y comunidades, no a fundaciones). Así que estamos orgullosos de anunciar que Manduriacu se volverá la reserva más nueva de EcoMinga, ¡con las compras originales de Sebastián como su núcleo!
De todos modos, todavía hay una propiedad de 325 acres (131,52 Ha) en el medio de esta cuenca que no ha sido comprada. Esta divide nuestro bosque protegido por la mitad. EcoMinga todavía no es capaz de encontrar todos los fondos para esta compra. Tenemos promesas de cerca de $10 000 pero necesitamos otros $63 000 por el lote (Podemos ser capaces de comprarlo con menos dinero si podemos encontrar una entidad que iguale los fondos donados; a veces hemos podido hacer esto en el pasado). Esta propiedad contiene un excelente bosque primario y montones de vida silvestre, incluyendo grandes gatos, pecaríes y mucho más. Las partes más altas, a 2000 m de elevación, no han sido todavía descubiertas pero podrían contener una gran diversidad de especies de orquídea Dracula (y estas serían en su mayoría especies diferentes de aquellas en nuestra Reserva Dracula, la cual está mucho más al norte cerca de la frontera con Colombia). Si hay lectores estadounidenses que deseen ayudarnos con esta compra, la Orchid Conservation Alliance puede aceptar donaciones y dar deducción de impuestos. Por favor especifique que su donación debería ir a EcoMinga/Manduriacu, y también escríbanme para hacérmelo saber.
Nota añadida el 28 de Julio 2016: Algo parece estar mal con el botón de Paypal de Orchid Conservatio Alliance; será mejor enviar un cheque directamente a ellos y escribir un email al presidente, Peter Tobias, con copia a mí, informándole que la donación es para EcoMinga/Manduriacu:
Peter Tobias, Presidente
Orchid Conservation Alliance
564 Arden Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024
Gracias Jim Knight por informarme del problema.
El bosque Manduriacu contiene mamíferos importantes como el Mono Araña de Cabeza Marrón (Brown-headed Spider Monkey / Ateles fusciceps), enlistado como En Peligro Crítico por la UICN, y muchas otras especies. A continuación, se muestra una piara de Pecaríes de Collar (Pecari tajacu) comiendo su camino a través de la maleza de Manduriacu por la noche:
(Video 01)
y una Corzuela (Brocket Deer – especie Mazama)
(Video 02)
Y aquí está un potencial depredador de los pecaríes y la corzuela, un Puma (Puma concolor)
(Video 03)
También hay evidencia de que los jaguares usan el bosque, incluyendo esta fotografía de cámara trampa.
IMG 19 – Aparentemente un Jaguar (Panthera onca) pasando cerca de la cámara trampa de Sebastián en Manduriacu
Pero el animal más raro de todos es el Pacarana (Dinomys branickii), el cual será sujeto de la publicación de mañana.
Para más inspiración, observa todas las hermosas fotografías de Ryan Lynch de los reptiles y anfibios de la Reserva Manduriacu:
Más información de los anfibios ecuatorianos:
Anfibios del Ecuador, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Lou Jost, Fundación EcoMinga
Traducción: Salomé Solórzano-Flores

Recently-described snake shows up in my bedroom

In 2008 a team of Ecuadorian and international herpetologists stopped to eat at Dona Marcia Pacheco’s roadside grilled-chicken restaurant in southeast Ecuador. The ever-vigilant herpetologists noticed a strange banded snake in a jar of alcohol in the restaurant. It was a distinctive species that none of them had ever seen before. Their scientific article explains: “After negotiating with the owner of the restaurant, the specimen was acquired and later determined to be a species of Siphlophis. However, it could not be keyed out to any known species. During a second joint herpetofaunal survey by the MECN [Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales] and the ARDRC-UTA [University of Texas- Arlington] of the upper Pastaza River drainage in March 2008, a second specimen was found alive at El Topo, in the province of Tungurahua.” El Topo is the community at the entrance to our Rio Zunac Reserve.

Siphlophis ayauma. Photo: Omar Torres-Carvajal, FaunaWebEcuador, bajo licencia CC (BY-NC 3.0).

Siphlophis ayauma. Photo: Omar Torres-Carvajal, FaunaWebEcuador, bajo licencia CC (BY-NC 3.0).

The species was published scientifically in 2014 and named Siphlophus ayauma. A few examples were later found in other places, always in the eastern Andes of the provinces of Tungurahua, Morona-Santiago, and Zamora in southeast Ecuador. Our herpetologist and reserve manager, Juan Pablo Reyes, sent me the article and said that this species might even occur where I live, above Banos in Tungurahua province.

A few evenings ago when I entered my bedroom I saw a long slender snake slowly moving on the floor. Since it looked vaguely like a coral snake, I was cautious, and carefully caught it without touching it. I put it in a plant pot to photograph, and sent the photos to Juan Pablo. He told me that it was in fact this newly-described Siphlophis ayauma!! Quite an exciting thing to find in my house…

Siphlophis ayauma, a recently-described species endemic to the eastern Andes of southeast Ecuador. This is the individual I captured in my bedroom. Click to enlarge. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Siphlophis ayauma, a recently-described species endemic to the eastern Andes of southeast Ecuador. This is the individual I captured in my bedroom. Click to enlarge. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.


Coleman M. Sheehy III, Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz, Jorge H. Valencia, Eric N. Smith (2014). A New Species of Siphlophis (Serpentes: Dipsadidae: Xenodontinae) from the Eastern Andean Slopes of Ecuador. South American Journal of Herpetology 9: 30-45.

Lou Jost

Serpiente recién descrita se muestra en mi dormitorio
En 2008, un equipo de herpetólogos ecuatorianos e internacionales se detuvieron a comer en el restaurante de pollo a la parrilla de Doña Marcia Pacheco al lado de la carretera en el sureste de Ecuador. Los herpetólogos siempre atentos notaron una extraña serpiente con bandas en un frasco de alcohol en el restaurante. Era una especie distintiva que ninguno de ellos había visto antes. Su artículo científico explica: “Después de negociar con el dueño del restaurante, se adquirió el espécimen y luego se determinó que era una especie de Spihlophis. Sin embargo, no se pudo identificar con ninguna especie conocida. Durante una segunda prospección conjunta de herpetofauna realizada por el MECN [Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales] y el ARDRC-UTA [Universidad de Texas-Arlington] de la cuenca alta del Río Pastaza en marzo 2008, se encontró un segundo espécimen vivo en El Topo, en la provincia de Tungurahua. ” El Topo es la comunidad en la entrada a nuestra Reserva Río Zuñac.
IMG – Siphlophis ayauma. Fotografía: Omar Torres-Carvajal, FaunaWebEcuador, bajo licencia CC (BY-NC 3.0)
La especie fue publicada científicamente en 2014 y nombrada Siphlophus ayauma. Unos pocos ejemplos fueron encontrados luego en otros lugares, siempre en los Andes orientales de la provincia de Tungurahua, Morona-Santiago, y Zamora en el sureste de Ecuador. Nuestro herpetólogo y gerente de reserva, Juan Pablo Reyes, me envia el articulo y dice que esta especie podría incluso estar presente donde yo vivo, encima de Baños en la provincia de Tungurahua
Unas pocas tardes atrás, cuando entré en mi cuarto vi una serpiente larga y delgada que se movía lentamente por el suelo. Dado que se parecía vagamente a una serpiente de coral, fui cauto y cuidadosamente la atrapé sin tocarla. La puse en una maceta para fotografiar y le envié las fotos a Juan Pablo. ¡¡ Me dijo que de hecho era este Siphlophis ayauma recién descrito!! Algo muy emocionante de encontrar en mi casa…
IMG – Siphlopis ayauma, una especie endémica recientemente descrita de los Andes orientales al sureste de Ecuador. Este es el individuo que capturé en mi habitación. Click para agrandar. Fotografía: Lou Jost/EcoMinga
Coleman M. Sheehy III, Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz, Jorge H. Valencia, Eric N. Smith (2014). A New Species of Siphlophis (Serpentes: Dipsadidae: Xenodontinae) from the Eastern Andean Slopes of Ecuador. South American Journal of Herpetology 9: 30-45.
Lou Jost, Fundación EcoMinga
Traducción: Salomé Solórzano-Flores