Water frog (Telmatobius espadai)

loading
Telmatobius espadai, dorsal view on rock
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Water frog fact file

Water frog description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAmphibia
OrderAnura
FamilyLeptodactylidae
GenusTelmatobius (1)

This small waterfrog is just one of fourteen species of Telmatobius water frogs endemic to Bolivia (3). With greenish-brown skin, speckled with black and yellow flecks, this frog is well camouflaged as it sits under tree roots or stones. On close inspection it is possible to see that its rather robust body has many small bumps, known as pustules, on the back. The undersides of the legs are orange, and the underbelly and throat are grey (2). The hind legs are long and slender, suited to propelling the frog through water, and its feet are only partially webbed, indicating that it spends part of its life on land. Juveniles of this species are greener than adults with more yellow flecks (2).

Size
Length: 5 cm (2)
Top

Water frog biology

Little is known about the biology of this extremely rare water frog, which is thought to live a partially terrestrial life (1). The tadpole of this species possesses a large oral sucker, a unique feature amongst Telmatobius water frogs (2). The function of this sucker has not yet been determined, although it is possible it may help the tadpole cling on to surfaces to prevent it from being swept away by currents, or it could even be used to suck up prey (4) (5).    

Top

Water frog range

Telmatobius espadai occurs only in Bolivia, where it has been found in just two areas: the Rio Miguillas valley near Choquetanga Chico, in the department of La Paz, and near Rio Apaza, in the department of Cochabamba (1) (2).

Top

Water frog habitat

An inhabitant of clear streams in the upper limits of cloud forest, this water frog occurs between 3,000 and 3,500 metres above sea level. Adults are generally found resting above the water sheltered by tree trunks and stones, whilst tadpoles and juveniles have been found hidden under stones and amongst aquatic plants (1) (2).

Top

Water frog status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered

Top

Water frog threats

Telmatobius espadai is now an extremely rare species; a population census undertaken in 1998 found just one tadpole. This tadpole showed symptoms of chytridiomycosis, a disease that causes death in frogs and is thought to contribute to declines, and even extinctions, in frog species around the world (1) (6). There are also significant concerns over the possible effects of a road situated very near to one of the locations where the frog has been located (1). In addition, various species of water frog are sometimes consumed as part of drink with supposed aphrodisiac qualities and this may also have contributed to the decline of this species (7).

Top

Water frog conservation

Despite Telmatobius espadai being classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, there are presently no known conservation methods in place for this species and no current information on its status. The Rio Apaza population is located on the edges of the Carrasco National Park and if it persists it will hopefully benefit from this proximity (1) (3).

Top

Find out more

To learn more about conservation in Bolivia see:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
Top

Glossary

Cloud forest
Tropical mountain forest, with a high incidence of cloud cover throughout the year.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (February, 2009)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2.  De la Riva, I. (2005) Bolivian frogs of the genus Telmatobius: synopsis, taxonomic comments, and description of a new species. Herpetological Monographs, 7: 65-100.
  3. De la Riva, I. (February, 2010) Pers. comm.
  4. Roach, J. (2002) Tiny African Tadpole a Big Sucker to its Prey.National Geographic News, November 7. Available at:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/11/1107_021107_tadpoles.html
  5. Morell, V. (2001) The fragile world of frogs. National Geographic, 199(5): 106-23.
  6. Stuart, S.N., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A., Young, B.E., Rodrigues, A.S.L., Fischman, D.L. and Waller, R.W. (2004) Status and trends of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide. Science, 306(5702): 1783-1786.
  7. BBC News. (2005) Peruvian Frogs Saved from Blender. BBC News, Online. Available at:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4498281.stm
X
Close

Image credit

Telmatobius espadai, dorsal view on rock  
Telmatobius espadai, dorsal view on rock

© Ignacio De la Riva

Ignacio De la Riva
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales
C/ Jose Gutierrez Abascal 2
Madrid
28006
Spain
Tel: +34 (91) 4111328 ext. 1202
Fax: +34 (91) 5645078
iriva@mncn.csic.es
http://www.mncn.csic.es/IRiva.htm

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Water frog (Telmatobius espadai) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog