Gastrotheca monticola

Duellman, William E., Barley, Anthony J. & Venegas, Pablo J., 2014, Cryptic species diversity in marsupial frogs (Anura: Hemiphractidae: Gastrotheca) in the Andes of northern Peru, Zootaxa 3768 (2), pp. 159-177: 162-164

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Gastrotheca monticola


Redefinition of Gastrotheca monticola 

As shown in the phylogenetic analysis, topotypic Gastrotheca monticola  are in the same clade as those from Pomacochas, from where a large series is available for the following redefinition; however, there is considerable variation in dorsal coloration ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2). Also, the analysis shows that specimens from Ecuador are distinct; for these the name Gastrotheca lojana Parker  is available. This species is being redefined by Carvajal-Endara et al. (in prep.) and, except for the sequence data, is not included herein.

Diagnosis. A moderately large species—SVL 49.0– 55.7 mm (x = 51.7 ± 2.62, n = 11 males), 48.0– 66.3 mm (x = 58.4 ± 5.11, n = 16 females)—with (1) tibia length 47–55 % SVL, about same length as foot; (2) interorbital distance much greater than width of upper eyelid; (3) skin on dorsum shagreen to finely granular, not co-ossified with skull, lacking transverse ridges; (4) supraciliary processes absent; (5) heel lacking calcar or tubercle; (6) tympanic annulus smooth; (7) Finger I slightly shorter than II with discs slightly wider than digits; (8) fingers unwebbed; (9) webbing extending maximally to penultimate subarticular tubercle on Toes IV and V; (10) dorsum green or brown with darker middorsal mark extending to sacrum or paravertebral marks usually connected in occipital region; (11) head markings consisting of dark canthal stripe and pale labial stripe; (12) pale dorsolateral stripe usually absent; (13) flanks and anterior and posterior surfaces of thighs with dark markings; (14) venter cream with dark spots; (15) brood pouch single, dorsal.

Gastrotheca monticola  most closely resembles four other species in northern Peru. Gastrotheca aratia  lacks black spots on the flanks and anterior and posterior surfaces of the thighs (Table 1); the nuptial excrescences are unpigmented. Additionally, the following phenotypic characters (although partially overlapping) can help distinguishing these species. Specimens of G. aratia  usually lack a pale supracloacal stripe (absent in 67 % of specimens studied) and are smaller (SVLs of males = 42.8–55.7 mm). Gastrotheca aguaruna  differs by being much smaller (SVLs of males = 41.6–46.8 mm) than G. monticola  and also by lacking a pale supracloacal stripe and black spots on the flanks and anterior and posterior surfaces of the thighs, and by having a green vocal sac. Gastrotheca dysprosita  is like G. monticola  in having a bluntly rounded snout in profile but differs from G. monticola  by having a green dorsum with a narrow, diffuse, yellow middorsal stripe and green flanks with small yellow spots; furthermore, G. dysprosita  has coarsely granular skin on the dorsum and a granular tympanic annulus and lacks a dark canthal stripe and pale labial stripe ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2). Gastrotheca lateonota  is like G. monticola  in size and most proportions, but G. lateonota  differs from G. monticola  by having a truncate snout in profile, smooth skin on the dorsum, and a nearly uniform grayish brown venter. Six other species of Gastrotheca  inhabit the Andes in northern Peru. Of these, G. peruana  , G. phalarosa  , and G. phelloderma  have pustular skin on the dorsum. In G. ossilaginis  the skin on the head is co-ossified with the underlying bones of the skull. Gastrotheca abdita  differs by having an acuminate snout in dorsal view, and G. galeata  differs by having a spatulate labium; the latter two species also produce eggs that undergo direct development. Gastrotheca monticola  also is similar to G. litonedis Duellman and Hillis  and G. lojana Parker  in southern Ecuador; both of these species differ from G. monticola  by having Fingers I and II equal in length, whereas Finger I is shorter than Finger II in G. monticola  . Furthermore, G. litonedis  has smooth skin on the dorsum and a uniformly pale grayish brown venter, in contrast to shagreen to granular skin on the dorsum and a cream venter with dark spots in G. monticola  .

Distribution and ecology. Gastrotheca monticola  , as recognized here, is known from elevations of 1900– 1960 m in the vicinity of the type locality in the valley of the Río Huancabamba, which flows southward into the Río Chamaya, a tributary of the Río Marañón. The species occurs at Ayabaca (2700 m) northwest of the type locality. Its range extends southeastward to several localities at elevations of 2360–3235 m in the northern part of the Cordillera Central in Departamento Amazonas. Individuals have been found in arboreal bromeliads by day; the species thrives in anthropogenic conditions, as was evident of individuals found at night on trees within the village of Pomacochas.