Two new species of frogs from our Banos-area reserves

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The new species Pristimantis burtoniorum. Click to enlarge.  Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga

 

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The new species Pristimantis maryanneae. Click to enlarge.  Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga

[Traducccion en espanol abajo]

Today Juan Pablo Reyes, Carolina Reyes, Daniela Franco-Mena, Mario Yanez-Munoz, and myself  published two new species of frogs from the cloud forests of our Banos-area reserves: They both belong to the enormous neotropical genus Pristimantis. These two species are fairly small and camouflaged but intricately beautiful.

Pristimantis burtoniorum is distinguished by its deep red “flash colors” around the bases of its legs; these colors can be almost completely hidden when the legs are in a resting position. many Pristimantis species have bright hidden colors and patterns. It was found near Banos in our Machay Reserve, part of our “Forests in the Sky” corridor connecting Los Llanganates National Park and Sangay National Park. We named this species after John and Viv Burton, founders of the World Land Trust (UK), our main partner for our Banos-area reserves to date.They not only helped us establish our largest reserves here, but they also played a major role in the conservation of nature all over the rest of the globe. The World Land Trust was a pioneer in supporting conservation via direct land purchases by independent local organizations. We’re especially happy to name a frog after them, because John is a herpetologist, co-author of “A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Europe” and author of  “Reptiles: A Golden Photo Guide“.

The other frog described in the same article is Pristimantis maryanneae. It has a complex camouflage pattern with a  bright tan nose and some faint green mottling scattered on the bases of the legs. It was found in our Naturetrek-Viscaya Reserve, also near Banos. We named this species after Maryanne Mills, co-founder of Naturetrek (UK) with her husband David Mills. Naturetrek is Britain’s premier nature tourism operator, and I used to work as a guide for them many years ago.They have been supporting EcoMinga for many years, and the forest where this species lives was purchased with funds from them.

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Pristimantis maryanneae. Click to enlarge.  Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga

I waa able to spend some time photographing this species, so here are a couple more portraits. It was adorable and seemed to like to bury itself in leaf litter. Its camouflage is very good and I think it would be impossible to see unless it moved.

Pristimantis maryanneae. Click to enlarge. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga


Pristimantis maryanneae. Click to enlarge. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga

Our article was entitled “Strong differentiatin between amphibian communities on two adjacent mountains in the upper Rio Pastaza watershed of Ecuador, with descriptions of two new species of terrestrial frogs“. Besides the full scientific descriptions of these two new frogs, we also illustrated numerous other new species awaiting future descriptions. We also analyzed the similarity of the frog communities of the Naturetrek-Viscaya Reserve to the Machay Reserve, which are only fifteen kilometers apart, though on different ridge systems. With standardized sampling effort, investigators found no shared species between these two reserves. The number of individuals detected in the Naturetrek- Viscaya Reserve was much lower than that of the Machay Reserve, so further work may change this situation, but the compositions of these two adjacent communities are clearly quite different from each other. We have seen similar patterns with certain orchid genera (especially Lepanthes).  These differences between mountains lead to very high levels of total diversity in the Andes, and this is what we are trying to protect with our mosaics of Andean reserves.

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga

Dos nuevas especies de rana de nuestras reservas del área de Baños
 
IMG 01 – La nueva especie Pristimantis burtoniorum. Clic para agrandar. Fotografía: Juan Pablo Reyes / EcoMinga
 
IMG 02 – La nueva especie Pristimantis maryanneae. Clic para agrandar. Fotografía: Lou Jost / EcoMinga
 
Hoy, Juan Pablo Reyes, Carolina Reyes, Daniela Franco-Mena, Mario Yánez-Muñoz, y mi persona, publicamos dos nuevas especies de ranas del bosque nublado de nuestras reservas del área de Baños: Ambas pertenecen al enorme género neotropical Pristimantis. Estas dos especies son bastante pequeñas y camufladas, pero intrincadamente hermosas.
 
Pristimantis burtoniorum se distingue por sus “colores de destello” profundamente rojos alrededor de la base de sus patas; estos colores pueden estar casi completamente ocultos cuando las patas están en una posición de descanso. Muchas especies de Pristimantis tienen escondidos patrones y colores brillantes. Se la encontró cerca de Baños en nuestra Reserva Machay, parte de nuestro corredor “Bosques en el Cielo” conectando el Parque Nacional Los Llanganates y el Parque Nacional Sangay. Nombramos esta especie en honor a John y Viv Burton, fundadores de la World Land Trust (Reino Unido), nuestros principales socios para nuestras reservas del área de Baños a la fecha. Ellos no solo nos ayudaron a establecer nuestras reservas más grandes aquí, sino también jugaron un papel principal en la conservación de la naturaleza en el resto del mundo. La World Land Trust fue pionera en apoyar la conservación mediante la adquisición de tierra directa por organizaciones locales independientes. Nosotros estamos especialmente felices de nombrar una rana en honor a ellos, ya que John es herpetólogo,​ coautor de “Una guía de campo de los Reptiles y Anfibios de Gran Bretaña y Europa” y autor de “Reptiles: Una Guía de Fotografías Doradas”
 
La otra rana, descrita en el mismo artículo es Pristimantis maryanneae. Tiene un patrón de camuflaje complejo con una nariz de color canela brillante y algunas manchas verdes tenues esparcidas en la base de las patas. Fue encontrada en nuestra Reserva Naturetrek-Viscaya, también cerca de Baños. Nombramos esta especie en honor a Maryanne Mills, cofundadora de Naturetrek (Reino Unido) con su esposo David Mills. Naturetrek es el principal operador de turismo de naturaleza en Gran Bretaña, y yo solía trabajar como guía para ellos hace muchos años atrás. Ellos han estado apoyando a EcoMinga por varios años, y el bosque donde esta especie vive fue adquirida con fondos de ellos.
 
IMG Pristimantis maryanneae. Clic para agrandar. Fotografía: Lou Jost / EcoMinga
 
Pude pasar algún tiempo fotografiando estas especies, así que aquí hay un par de retratos más. Fue adorable y parecía gustarle enterrarse en la hojarasca. Su camuflaje es muy bueno y pienso que sería imposible verlo a menos que se moviera.
 
IMG Pristimantis maryanneae. Clic para agrandar. Fotografía: Lou Jost / EcoMinga
 
IMG Pristimantis maryanneae. Clic para agrandar. Fotografía: Lou Jost / EcoMinga
 
Nuestro artículo se tituló “Fuerte diferenciación entre comunidades de anfibios en dos montañas adyacentes en la cuenca alta del Río Pastaza de Ecuador, con descripción de dos nuevas especies de ranas terrestres“. Además de las descripciones científicas completas de estas dos nuevas ranas, también ilustramos otras numerosas nuevas especies esperando descripciones futuras. También analizamos la semejanza de las comunidades de ranas de la Reserva Naturetrek-Viscaya y la Reserva Machay, las cuales están separadas solo por quince kilómetros, aunque en diferentes sistemas de crestas. Con un esfuerzo de muestreo estandarizado, los investigadores no encontraron especies compartidas entre estas dos reservas. El número de individuos detectados en la Reserva Naturetrek – Viscaya fue mucho menor que el de la Reserva Machay, así que un trabajo mayor podría cambiar esta situación, pero la composición de estas dos comunidades adyacentes son claramente muy diferentes una de la otra. Hemos visto patrones similares con ciertos géneros de orquídeas (especialmente Lepanthes). Estas diferencias entre montañas conducen a niveles muy altos de diversidad total en los Andes, y esto es lo que estamos tratando de proteger con nuestros mosaicos de reservas Andinas.
 
Lou Jost, Fundación EcoMinga
Traducción: Salomé Solórzano-Flores

The most spectacular new species we have ever discovered

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New Hyloscirtus. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga

 

[Vea traduccion en espanol abajo]

We’ve discovered many amazing species of plants and animals new to science in our reserves over the years. Our new Magnolia and Meriania trees are extraordinary finds. Some of our new orchids and frogs are also spectacular.  But recently we have found something so striking and so unexpected that it has surprised even us.

Last year one of our Keepers of the Wild, Darwin Recalde, found this unbelievable new Hyloscirtus frog in one of our reserves. It is a big frog, maybe four inches long, black spotted with bright red.

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New Hyloscirtus. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Such crazy color patterns in animals are usually warning colors. Sure enough, Darwin carried the frog down the mountain in his hand for hours, and by the end his whole arm was tingling and in pain….

There are a couple of other close relatives that are similar, such as Hyloscirtus princecharlesi.  But this is the most spectacular of them all.

An international team of researchers has recently confirmed that it is indeed a new species. We have to decide on a name for it. As we have done in the past, we’d be pleased to honor a major new donor by naming this frog after the donor or a loved one.  If interested, write me at loujost@gmail.com  We are in tough financial shape with respect to operating funds, and in debt for emergency land purchases, so help would be welcome.

Lou Jost, Fundacion EcoMinga

 

La especie más espectacular que hayamos descubierto alguna vez.
Traducción: Salomé Solórzano Flores
**IMG 01**- Nueva Hyloscirtus. Fotografía: Lou Jost/EcoMinga
Hemos descubierto muchas especies interesantes de plantas y animales nuevas para la ciencia en nuestras reservas a lo largo de los años. Nuestros nuevos árboles Magnolia y Meriania son hallazgos extraordinarios. Algunas de nuestras nuevas orquídeas y ranas son también espectaculares. Pero recientemente hemos encontrado algo tan maravilloso e inesperado que nos ha sorprendido incluso a nosotros.
El último año, uno de nuestros guardianes de la naturaleza, Darwin Recalde, encontró esta increible rana nueva Hyloscirtus en una de nuestras reservas. Es una gran rana, mas o menos 4 pulgadas de largo, negra y manchada con puntos rojo brillante.
**IMG 02**- Nueva Hyloscirtus. Fotografía: Lou Jost/EcoMinga
Este patrón de color tan loco en animales usualmente indica colores de advertencia. De hecho, Darwin cargó la rana en su mano, a lo largo de la montaña, durante horas, y al final su brazo entero estaba hormigueando y con dolor.
Hay una pareja de otros parientes cercanos que son similares, como Hyloscirtus princecharlesi. Pero esta es la más espectacular de todas.
Un equipo internacional de investigadores, recientemente ha confirmado que se trata de una nueva especie. Tenemos que decidir un nombre para la misma. Como hemos hecho en el pasado, nos encantaría honrar a un nuevo donante importante nombrando a la rana como el donante o un ser querido. Si estas interesado, escribeme a loujost@gmail.com. Estamos en una situación financiera difícil con respecto a los fondos operativos y con deudas por compras de tierras de emergencia, por lo que la ayuda sería bienvenida.
Lou Jost, Fundación EcoMinga

 

 

 

Two more new frogs discovered in our Rio Zunac Reserve

Pristimantis sacharuna. Photo: Mario Yanez.

Pristimantis sacharuna. Photo: Mario Yanez.


Our Rio Zunac Reserve has been an endless source of new discoveries of plants and animals. I’ve written in the past about the discovery of new magnolia species, new melastomes and orchids, and new frogs. Last month herpetologists Juan Pablo Reyes (who is also our reserve manager), Carolina Reyes, Maria Perez L., and Mario Yanez, (who is also an EcoMinga director and head of the National Institute for Biodiversity), have published two more new frogs from this reserve. One of the new species, Pristimantis pinchaque, was discovered at 1600m elevation in the immediate vicinity of the scientific station that we built there some years ago with the help of the IUCN-Netherlands and the Netherlands Postcode Lottery, while the other new species, Pristimantis sacharuna, was discovered farther up the trail from the station, at 2200m. That makes four new species discovered so far in this reserve, joining Pristimantis ardyae and Osornophryne simpsonii.

Pristimantis pinchaque. Photo: Mario Yanez.

Pristimantis pinchaque. Photo: Mario Yanez.

Pristimantis pinchaque is apparently very rare; it has not been seen since the first two specimens were found in 2008, even though many herpetologists have visited the site since then. It is named after the Mountain Tapir, Tapirus pinchaque, a charismatic and endangered mammal which lives in the same forest. Pristimantis sacharuna is also apparently very rare, with only two specimens found in four years of investigation. It is named after the “duendi” or mythic forest man of indigenous legends.

The story of these discoveries was covered nicely by the national press. The country’s largest newspaper, El Comercio, even made an interactive article that lets readers see the diagnostic traits of each frog by clicking on different parts of its anatomy, and in a special feature for their “Planet” section, they also published a nice diagram to help readers distinguish the frogs:

And there is still more to come! We have two more new frog species being described right now, from survey work supported by a donation from Henri Botter and Ardy Van Ooij of the Netherlands.

These investigations are collaborative efforts between EcoMinga and the National Institute of Biodiversity, the Zoological Museum of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, and the Fundacion Oscar Efren Reyes. We’re excited to have such distinguished collaborators, and we are eager to see what surprises still await us in these very special forests.

Lou Jost

Dos ranas nuevas descubiertas en nuestra Reserva Río Zuñac
 
IMG – Pristimantis sacharuna. Fotografía: Mario Yanez
 
Nuestra Reserva Río Zuñac ha sido una fuente inagotable de descubrimientos de plantas y animales. He escrito en el pasado sobre el descubrimiento de nuevas especies de magnolia, nuevas melastomatáceas y orquídeas, y nuevas ranas. El mes anterior los herpetólogos Juan Pablo Reyes (quien también es nuestro gerente de reserva), Carolina Reyes, María Perez L., y Mario Yanez, (quien es también un director de EcoMinga y cabeza del Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad), han publicado dos nuevas ranas de esta reserva. Una de las nuevas especies, Pristimantis pinchaque, fue descubierta a 1600 m de altura en la vecindad inmediata de la estación científica que hemos construido algunos años atrás con la ayuda de la IUCN-Países Bajos y la Lotería del Código Postal de  Países Bajos, mientras las otras nuevas especies, Pristimantis sacharuna, fue descubierta más arriba en el camino desde la estación, a 2200 m. Eso hace que cuatro nuevas especies descubiertas hasta ahora en esta reserva, uniéndose a Pristimantis ardyae y Osornophryne simpsonii
 
IMG – Pristimantis pinchaque. Fotografía: Mario Yanez
 
Pristimantis pinchaque es aparentemente muy rara, no ha sido vista desde que se encontraron los dos primeros especímenes en 2008, incluso aunque muchos herpetólogos han visitado el sitio desde entonces. Lleva el nombre del Tapir de Montaña, Tapirus pinchaque, un mamífero carismático y en peligro que vive en el mismo bosque. Pristimantis sacharuna también es aparentemente muy raro, solo con dos especímenes encontrados en cuatro años de investigación. Es nombrado en honor de “duendi” o hombre mítico del bosque de leyendas indígenas. 
 
La historia de estos descubrimientos fue muy bien cubierta por la prensa nacional. El periódico más grande del país, El Comercio, incluso hizo un artículo interactivo que permite a los lectores ver los rasgos de diagnóstico de cada rana haciendo click en diferentes partes de su anatomía, y en un artículo especial para su sección “Planeta”*link no encontrado*, también publicaron un bonito diagrama para ayudar a los lectores a distinguir las ranas: 
 
IMG  – El periódico nacional El Comercio publicó un lindo gráfico para ayudar a los lectores a identificar estas nuevas ranas. Click para agrandar. 
 
¡Y aún hay más por venir! Tenemos dos nuevas especies de ranas que se están describiendo en este momento, a partir de un trabajo de encuesta respaldado por una donación de Henri Botter y Ardy Van Ooij de los Países Bajos. 
 
Estas investigaciones son esfuerzos colaborativos entre EcoMinga y el Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, el Museo Zoológico de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, y la Fundación Oscar Efren Reyes. Estamos emocionados de tener colaboradores tan distinguidos, y estamos ansiosos por ver que sorpresas nos esperan aún en estos bosques tan especiales. 
 
Lou Jost, Fundación EcoMinga
Traducción: Salomé Solórzano-Flores

Our new frogs make it into the national newspapers! !Nuestras ranas nuevas llegan a los periodicos nacionales!

Juan Pablo Reyes (foreground), our reserve manager, discovered three of the five species of frogs reported in the Ecuadorian news media last month. Behind him are our staff members Abel Recalde, Abdon Recalde, Luis Recalde, and Tito Recalde. Here they are camping in our Rio Zunac Reserve. Photo: John Clark.

Juan Pablo Reyes (foreground), our reserve manager, discovered three of the five species of frogs reported in the Ecuadorian news media last month. Behind him are our staff members Abel Recalde, Abdon Recalde, Luis Recalde, and Tito Recalde. Here they are camping in our Rio Zunac Reserve. Photo: John Clark.

Recently the national press in Ecuador picked up the story of the three most recent new frogs discovered in and around our reserves by our reserve manager Juan Pablo Reyes and his associates at the Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales.

Recientamente la prensa nacional del Ecuador recogio la historia de tres de las nuevas ranas descubierto en y cerca de nuestras reservas por nuestro jefe de reservas, Juan Pablo Reyes, y sus socios en el Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales.

Pristimantis punzan. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes.

Pristimantis punzan, one of the species discovered by Juan Pablo. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes.

Here is an excerpt from the story in the paper “El Universo”/ Aqui es parte del articulo en “El Universo.”

“Habían pasado seis meses desde que el entonces estudiante universitario de biología Juan Pablo Reyes-Puig había recorrido el bosque. Eran jornadas nocturnas desde las seis de la tarde hasta la una de la mañana en las que bordeaba desfiladeros empinados cortados por riachuelos y ríos caudalosos del flanco oriental del Tungurahua.

“Reyes-Puig quería documentar los efectos de la erupción del volcán en la fauna como parte de su tesis. Seguía trochas naturales abiertas por mamíferos como el oso de anteojos cuando en diciembre del 2007 se topó sobre un helecho con una rana en medio de cedros y podocarpus.

“Su color blanquecino tierra que resaltaba sobre el follaje captó su atención. Tras siete años de análisis y comparaciones se determinó que era una nueva variedad de anfibio.

“La bautizaron como Pristimantis punzan, en honor al sitio Punzan del cantón Baños (Tungurahua), donde habita. Pero no sería la única especie nueva que Reyes-Puig y su equipo encontraron. Los hallazgos siguieron en el 2008 y con el apoyo de otros científicos como Mario Yánez-Muñoz, director del Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales, la labor de campo terminó en descripciones de tres nuevas especies de anfibios de las que recién se conocen detalles con la publicación de su información en diciembre pasado en revistas científicas del exterior.

“Junto con la Pristimantis punzan se describieron dos especies más: Pristimantis marcoreyesi y Pristimantis puruscafeum….”

Translation:
“For six months the then-student of biology Juan Pablo Reyes-Puig had been investigating this forest. These were night-time trips lasting from 6 p.m until 1 a.m. in the forests on steep canyons dissected by little streams and roaring rivers on the east flank of the volcano Tungurahua.

“Reyes-Puig wanted to document the effects of the volcano’s eruptions on the fauna as part of his thesis. He followed natural trails opened by mammals like the Spectacled Bear, when in December 2007 he came upon a fernwith a frog on it, in a forest of cedars and Podocarpus.

“Its earthy cream color contrasting with the foliage caught his attention. After seven years of analysis and comparisons, he determined that it was a new species of ampbibian.

“He named it Pristimantis punzan, in honor of the place called Punzan(Tungurahua) where it lived. But this was not the only new species Reyes-Puig and his team found. The discoveries continued in 2008 and with the help of other scientists like Mario Yánez-Muñoz, director of the Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales, this field work resulted in descriptions of three new species of amphibians, whose details just became known with their publication last December in international scientific journals. Along with Pristimantis punzan two other new species were described: Pristimantis marcoreyesi and Pristimantis puruscafeum.”

Juan Pablo Reyes, who discovered three new species of frogs reported in the news last month.

Juan Pablo Reyes as a student eight years ago during his thesis work.

Pristimantis puruscafeum, one of Juan Pablo's discoveries. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.

Pristimantis puruscafeum, another of Juan Pablo’s discoveries. Photo: Juan Pablo Reyes/EcoMinga.

Links to stories about these frogs/ Links a historias sobre estas ranas:

http://www.eluniverso.com/vida-estilo/2015/01/25/nota/4474801/inventario-anfibios-suma-5-especies-mas

http://www.ecoticias.ec/noticia/se-descubren-5-nuevas-especies-de-anfibios-en-ecuador_4670

Lou Jost/EcoMinga

New book on reptiles and amphibians of our reserves, plus a trip to our Rio Zunac Reserve

Cover of our new book.

Cover of our new book.


Our reserves were originally chosen to protect habitats of rare locally-endemic plants, especially orchids. These orchids evolved in response to unusual climates, geology, or history. The same factors could lead to the evolution of endemic species in some other groups of flora and fauna, including amphibians and reptiles (collectively known as herpetofauna or “herps”). Our reserve manager, Juan Pablo Reyes, is a herpetologist, and he and his colleagues at the Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales, led by Mario Yanez-Muñoz, have been studying the herps of EcoMinga’s reserves for several years. It turns out that the upper Rio Pastaza watershed, where our reserves are located, is indeed a very interesting place for herps, and they many new species! I’ll write about some of them in the future, but for now I just want to announce the publication of a new mostly-Spanish book on the reptiles and amphibians of our reserves and those of the Jocotoco Foundation (a foundation similar to EcoMinga but aimed at bird conservation). This book highlighting the conservation importance of private reserves, and also serves as a field guide to the herps of these reserves. It was financed by Nigel Simpson, one of our directors, and is published by the Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales and by the Jocotoco and EcoMinga Foundations. It consists of articles on the Jocotoco Foundation’s reserves, articles on the three oldest EcoMinga reserves, and species descriptions. It was released a few weeks ago, with many of Ecuador’s leading herpetologists in attendance.
Juan Pablo Reyes at the book launch, talking about the hard work and the excitement of herpetological explorations.

Juan Pablo Reyes at the book launch, talking about the hard work and the excitement of herpetological explorations.

The book has a forward kindly written by Sir David Attenborough:
“If you protect a patch of the natural world, you should know what lives in it. Your list may not be complete. There will always be surprises. But if you do not have it, how can you measure your success or failure in protecting that community? How can you appreciate the environmental shifts that are part of virtually all ecosystems and take the necessary actions? How can you guard against future dangers?

In some parts of the world making such a faunal list, while time-consuming, does not present too great a challenge for competent naturalists. In the English Midlands where I grew up, there were eleven species of amphibians and reptiles. But in Ecuador there are at least 822.

The numbers alone are daunting. When you add to that the wildness and inaccessibility of the places where the researchers had to work, from the bleak misty slopes of the paramo down to the warm humid rainforests of the Amazon basin, the magnitude of the task they faced becomes truly alarming.

This book lists the amphibians and reptiles that are found in eleven reserves belonging to Fundacion Jocotoco and three of the five on the eastern side of the Andes belonging to Fundacion Ecominga. A team from the Ecuadorian Museum of Natural Sciences over ten years has worked in them all, in some cases several times and often in difficult conditions. They have identified and described 339 species of which 20 are new to Ecuador and at least eight new to science.

This remarkable book is the fruit of all that labour. Its value is immense for it will make it possible to check on the welfare of the creatures it lists as the years pass and the threats to their survival continue to increase. And that sadly, is likely to happen for amphibians world-wide are endangered by the spread of a chytrid fungus which infects their porous skin, choking its surface through which the animals breathe.

It is to be hoped that this remarkable book will set an example for successive volumes that will survey all the other major groups of animals for which these Jocotoco and Ecominga reserves are such a valuable refuge. Its publication is truly a cause for great celebration and congratulation.” –David Attenborough

I’ve now had a chance to use the book, as I spent the last three days with herpetologist Sam Crothers and two other friends in the scientific station we have built in our 700 hectare Rio Zunac Reserve (more about our station in a later post). We were exhausted each night after hard all-day hikes in the mountains, but we had enough energy (just barely) to go out at night looking for frogs. This was the first time I’ve ever done that in these forests (I am a botanist, a mostly-diurnal occupation). The first thing we saw was a flattened, leaf-like toad which also happens to be one of the first amphibians in the herp book, Rhinella festae. This particular individual was lighter colored than the one in the book, but these are highly variable in color. According to the book, it had already been found by the authors in this reserve, and in our Rio Anzu Reserve. It has not yet been found in the Jocotoco Foundation reserves.

Rhinella festae. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Rhinella festae. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Next came a beautiful streamside frog that we could not find with certainty in the book. We had tracked it down by its call. After I returned from the trip, Juan Pablo identified the frog in the photo as Pristimantis acuminatus, which was in the book’s lists for the Rio Zunac Reserve, but not illustrated.

Pristimantis acuminatus. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Pristimantis acuminatus. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.


Then we heard a chorus of loud frogs dispersed over a wide area above a small shallow rocky stream only a few meters wide. It took us a while to localize one of them. It was sitting on a leaf that was directly below another leaf, so that the frog was invisible from above and could only be seen from the side. The next calling individual we tracked down was doing exactly the same thing. Once we realized that this was a characteristic habit of this species, it became easy to locate many individuals. The closest thing to it in the book was Hyloscirtus phyllognathus, which the authors had also found here. Juan Pablo later confirmed our ID.
Hyloscirtus phyllognathus calling between two leaves. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Hyloscirtus phyllognathus calling between two leaves. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.


Hyloscirtus phyllognathus

Hyloscirtus phyllognathus. Photo Lou Jost/EcoMinga.


One of the most exciting things about night hikes are all the weird arthropods that one never sees during the day. We found a gigantic arachnid that looked like a cross with a lobster, and some amazing cryptic phasmids (stick insects).
Monster arachnid. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Monster arachnid. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.


Rio Zunac phasmid. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Rio Zunac phasmid. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.


The stream was a busy place at night. We also found frog eggs, pollywogs, and even recently emerged frogs that still had tails. We also heard many other species of frogs, but we were so tired and sore from our daytime adventures that we could not stay awake any longer, so we returned to the station. Later I’ll write about the extraordinary plants we saw on those daytime hikes.
Freshly laid frog eggs in the Rio Zunac Reserve. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Freshly laid frog eggs in the Rio Zunac Reserve. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.


Recently emerged frog. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Recently emerged frog. Photo: Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

On our hike back to civilization, we saw one last frog, much like Pristimantis altamazonicus, though it was more dramatically colored than the individual illustrated in the book. Juan Pablo later identified it as P. ventrimarmoratus, listed for the Rio Zunac Reserve but not illustrated. It is another frog the authors have not yet found in the Jocotoco Foundation reserves.

Pristimantis ventrimarmoratus. Photo Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

Pristimantis ventrimarmoratus. Photo Lou Jost/EcoMinga.

The book, “Herpetofauna en areas prioritarias para la conservacion: El sistema de Reservas Jocotoco y EcoMinga“, is available from us for a donation of $20 or more, plus shipping costs from Ecuador. If in the US, please send the donation (check or Paypal) to our partner, the Orchid Conservation Alliance . The “Donate” PayPal button is on this webpage. Their mailing address is:

Peter Tobias
The Orchid Conservation Alliance
564 Arden Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024-4501
Telephone: 760-753-3173
It is important to let them (and me) know that this donation is for the EcoMinga herp book (they have many other projects going on), by writing to Peter Tobias (peter@orchidconservationalliance dot org). It would be good to let me know too by alerting me in the Comment section here or writing me at my gmail address (my first and last name, as one word, followed by gmail.com) . By the way, larger donations are gratefully accepted and much needed, and are tax-deductible. Make sure to earmark it for EcoMinga.

In Ecuador write Juan Pablo Reyes at foer2005(arroba)yahoo(dot)com or call him at 0998286903.

I’ll also maintain an “Errata and updates” page here on this blog.

Lou Jost
Banos, Tungurahua, Ecuador
www.loujost.com
www.ecominga.com