The first post in this series listed the new plant species discovered by our staff and co-investigators in and around our reserves near Banos, Ecuador. That post showed why our area is a paradise for botanists. It is no accident that this same area is a paradise for herpetologists too, and so this second post is devoted to the new species of frogs that our staff and their co-investigators discovered here. It’s a good time to post this, since our reserve manager Juan Pablo Reyes’ three latest frog discoveries, Pristimantis puruscafeum, Pristimantis marcoreyesi, and Pristimantis punzan, were just published last week (Tres nuevas especies de ranas terrestres Pristimantis (Anura: Craugastoridae) de la cuenca alta del Rio Pastaza, Ecuador: Juan Pablo Reyes-Puig, Carolina Reyes-Puig, Salamon Ramirez-Jaramillo, Maria Perez-L, y Mario Yanez-Munoz).
Pristimantis puruscafeum, was discovered by Juan Pablo in our Cerro Candelaria Reserve. We named it after Puro Coffee, a UK fair-trade coffee company whose very large donation to the World Land Trust allowed us to buy the first (and largest) block of properties for this reserve. It is a high-elevation frog found at 3100m in cold wet cloud forest. This same elevation is an important one for endemic plants in the reserve; it is the exact elevation where the 16 endemic Teagueia orchid species begin to appear on this mountain. We’ve seen this a lot here—the same unusual forests that host many new species of plants often host a new frog or two as well. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since the same evolutionary forces that promoted the speciation of locally endemic cloud forest plants might also be expected to promote speciation of locally endemic fauna.
This week Andy Orchard of Puro Coffee, his videographer Kendal Kempsey, Juan Pablo, our forest caretakers the Recalde family, and myself will be in Cerro Candelaria looking for this frog, among other things. If we succeed, I’ll post video of it here.
Pristimantis marcoreyesi was named after Juan Pablos’ herpetologist brother, Marco, who died suddenly about a year ago. This species has been found in several locations in western end of the upper Rio Pastaza watershed at elevations around 2700m. Our Cerro Candelaria Reserve protects it as well.
Pristimantis punzan, the final species of this new publication, is found at about 2700m on the eastern flanks of Volcan Tungurahua in the upper Rio Pastaza watershed. This one has not yet been found in any of our reserves, but the local people of the type locality, Punzan, have been great caretakers of its habitat. Sr Nelson Palacios deserves special recognition for his conservation work and his willingness to help scientists learn about the area.
These three newest species join the following species previously discovered here by Juan Pablo and his colleagues at the Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales. (Special thanks to the director of the museum, Mario Yanez-Muñoz, for his interest in our area and his frequent collaborations with us.)
Pristimantis ardyae was discovered in 2012 by Juan Pablo and his colleagues at at 2200m in our Rio Zunac Reserve (Ranas terrestres del género Pristimantis (Anura:Craugastoridae) de la Reserva Ecológica Río Zúñag, Tungurahua, Ecuador: Lista anotada y descripción de una especie nueva: Marco M.Reyes-Puig, Juan Pablo Reyes-Puig, y Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz). It was named after Ardy van Ooij, who along with her husband Henri Botter, have been long-time financial supporters of that reserve. This is another example of the correlation between interesting orchids and interesting frogs; the orchid flora on that mountain changes dramatically around this elevation, with many new and locally endemic species.
Osornophryne simpsonii, discovered by Diego J. Páez-Moscoso, Juan M. Guayasamin, and Mario Yánez-Muñoz (A new species of Andean toad (Bufonidae, Osornophryne) discovered using molecular and morphological data, with a taxonomic key for the genus: Diego J. Páez-Moscoso, Juan M. Guayasamin, Mario Yánez-Muñoz) in the same area, is yet another example of the correlation between distributions of unusual orchids and unusual frogs. This species was named after one of our directors, Nigel Simpson, who has a special interest in frogs and financed much research on them, as well as a book coauthored by Juan Pablo (and with a Foreword by Sir David Attenborough).
Pristimantis bellae was discovered in 2008 by Juan Pablo and his colleagues in our Cerro Candelaria Reserve at an elevation of 2000m (Una nueva especie de rana Pristimantis (Anura: Craugastoridae)
del corredor ecológico Llangantes-Sangay, Andes de Ecuador: Juan Pablo Reyes-Puig and Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz). This is named after Hilary Bell, at the time an employee of PricewaterhouseCoopers. When our crew was leaving the then-new Cerro Candelaria Reserve with Andy Orchard of Puro Coffee (see Pristimantis puruscafeum above), we ran into loggers sizing up the neighboring properties (which we also wanted to preserve) to decide whether they were worth buying for their timber. Alarmed, we reached out to the World Land Trust who asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to help us buy this land. Their quick action enabled us to secure this strategic land. We offered to name a frog after them, but they preferred to stage an environmental-themed contest among their employees and name the frog after the winner, who turned out to be Hilary Bell. This frog has since been found in a number of other localities in the upper Rio Pastaza and Rio Napo watersheds.
Pristimantis tungurahua was discovered by Juan Pablo and his colleagues in 2007 on the lower flanks of Volcan Tungurahua at about 2700m (Una nueva especie de rana Pristimantis (Terrarana: Strabomantidae) de los bosques nublados de la cuenca alta del río Pastaza, Ecuador: Juan P. Reyes-Puig, Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz, Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia, Salomón Ramírez). Since then it has also been found at similar elevations in other nearby mountains, including our Cerro Candelaria Reserve.
Pristimantis loujostii was discovered by Juan Pablo and his colleagues in 2008 in our Cerro Candelaria Reserve (Una nueva especie de rana terrestre Pristimantis (Anura: Terrarana: Strabomantidae) de la cuenca alta del Río Pastaza, Ecuador: Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz, Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia,and Juan P. Reyes) They decided to surprise me by naming it after me. Many thanks, my friends! That was a very touching surprise.
For those of you who know Spanish, here is a short talk Juan Pablo gave about our reptiles and amphibians during a recent zoology conference in Colombia: