Pristimantis teslai , Paez, Nadia B. & Ron, Santiago R., 2019
Paez, Nadia B. & Ron, Santiago R., 2019, Systematics of Huicundomantis, a new subgenus of Pristimantis (Anura, Strabomantidae) with extraordinary cryptic diversity and eleven new species, ZooKeys 868, pp. 1-112: 1
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Pristimantis teslai sp. nov.
English: Tesla’s Rain Frog. Spanish: Cutín de Tesla.
QCAZ 46213, an adult male from Llanganatillo, Llanganates National Park border, Tungurahua Province, Ecuador (1.2658S, 78.4459W, 3600 m), collected by Rodrigo Toscano and Silvia Aldás-Alarcón on November 11, 2009. Figure 28AView Figure 28.
(4: 3 males, 1 juvenile). QCAZ 46108, QCAZ 46208, QCAZ 46211, adult males, QCAZ 46209, juvenile, collected by Elicio E. Tapia, Silvia Aldás-Alarcón, and Rodrigo Toscano in November 2009.
A species of the Pristimantis phoxocephalus group having the following combination of characters: (1) dorsal surfaces tuberculate, tubercles on anterior dorsum prominent, small and rounded, those on posterior dorsum larger; middorsal, dorsolateral, and lateral folds absent; head with two small middorsal tubercles; skin on flanks as or more tuberculate than dorsum, bearing scattered warts; skin on venter coarsely areolate; discoidal fold present; (2) tympanic membrane and tympanic annulus prominent, its upper and posterior margin concealed by thick supratympanic fold; (3) snout moderately long, acuminate with a fleshy keel in dorsal view, protruding in profile; (4) upper eyelid with distinct rounded tubercles surrounded by smaller tubercles; cranial crests absent; (5) dentigerous processes of vomers low to prominent, oblique, moderately separated, posteromedial to choanae; (6) vocals slits, vocal sac, and nuptial pads present in adult males; (7) Finger I shorter than Finger II; discs of digits expanded to broadly expanded, elliptical to truncate; (8) fingers with broad lateral fringes; (9) distinct, rounded ulnar tubercles; (10) heel bearing a prominent round tubercle surrounded by smaller tubercles; inner and outer edge of tarsus bearing a row of prominent, rounded tubercles; (11) inner metatarsal tubercle elliptical, elevated four times the size of round, elevated outer metatarsal tubercle; supernumerary tubercles distinct, as large as outer metatarsal tubercle; (12) toes with lateral fringes; basal webbing present; Toe V longer or much longer than Toe III (disc on Toe III reaches distal edge of penultimate subarticular tubercle on Toe IV, disc on Toe V reaches the proximal to distal edge of distal subarticular tubercle on Toe IV); toe discs smaller than those on fingers, elliptical to truncate ( Fig. 9AView Figure 9); (13) in life, dorsum olive to reddish brown with irregular red or cream markings; groins and anterior surfaces of thighs dark brown with yellow blotches irregularly bordered; dorsal surfaces of thighs with irregular oblique yellow stripes, posterior surfaces of thighs brown with yellow flecks; venter dusty white with scattered brown flecks, with or without faint yellow blotches; iris copper with thin black reticulations ( Fig. 29View Figure 29); (14) average SVL in adult males: 25.2 ± 1.8 mm (23.4-27.3 mm; n = 4); females: unknown.
Comparison with other species.
Pristimantis teslai is most similar to P. atillo , P. jimenezi , P. percultus , P. phoxocephalus , P. torresi sp. nov., P. totoroi sp. nov., and P. verrucolatus sp. nov. They share an acuminate and protruding snout with a keel at the tip. However, (except for P. percultus ) P. teslai is unique among them by having the dorsum covered by prominent rounded tubercles. Additionally, lack of lateral folds distinguishes P. teslai from P. jimenezi , P. totoroi sp. nov., P. torresi sp. nov., and P. verrucolatus sp. nov. Groins of P. teslai are dark brown with yellow blotches irregularly bordered, different from those of P. atillo (groins orange surrounded or not by yellow blotches), P. jimenezi (pinkish, purplish or dark brown with small light brown to yellow spots), P. phoxocephalus (yellow with dark brown to black reticulations), and P. verrucolatus sp. nov. (reddish brown with light brown to yellow spots). In males, the tympanum diameter is significantly larger than that of P. totoroi sp. nov. (males Z = -2.63144, p = 0.0085, TD/SVL = 5.0-5.5% in P. teslai , 4.4-5.1% in P. totoroi sp. nov). Pristimantis teslai is smaller than P. verrucolatus sp. nov. (males Z = 2.35, p = 0.0188, SVL = 23.4-27.3 mm in P. teslai , 25.1-34.5 mm in P. verrucolatus sp. nov). It can be distinguished from P. percultus by the absence of cranial crests (low in P. percultus ), the coloration of the iris (copper with thin reticulations in P. teslai ; golden with wide black reticulations in P. percultus ), and lacking the red labial stripe, characteristic of P. percultus .
Description of the holotype.
Adult male ( QCAZ 46213, SC29676). Measurements (in mm): SVL 27.3; TL 12.8; FL 12.9; HL 9.2; HW 9.5; ED 2.9; TD 1.4; IOD 3.1; EW 2.7; IND 2.3; EN 2.7; TED 1.0. Head wider than long, as wide as body; snout moderately long, acuminate in dorsal view, protruding in profile, bearing a fleshy keel; cranial crests absent; nostrils slightly protuberant, ovoid, directed laterally with slight dorsal inclination; canthus rostralis slightly concave in dorsal view, rounded in cross section; loreal region slightly concave; upper eyelid with prominent, rounded, medium sized tubercles surrounded by smaller tubercles; tympanic membrane distinct; tympanic annulus prominent, upper and posterior edge concealed by supratympanic fold; two prominent rounded postrictal tubercles. Choanae large, ovoid, not concealed by palatal shelf of maxillae; dentigerous processes of vomers small, prominent, oblique, narrowly separated, positioned posteromedial to choanae; each vomer bearing several teeth; tongue longer than wide, slightly notched, posterior three fifths not adherent to floor of mouth; vocal slits slightly curved, located at posterior half of mouth floor in between tongue and margin of jaw; vocal sac present.
Dorsal surfaces of body tuberculate, head and anterior dorsum with small prominent rounded tubercles, posterior dorsum with medium sized tubercles; middorsal, dorsolateral and lateral folds absent; head bears two prominent middorsal tubercles; flanks with the same texture as dorsum, bearing scattered warts; skin on venter coarsely areolate, ventral surfaces of limbs smooth, ventral surfaces of thighs coarsely areolate; discoidal fold absent. Low and round ulnar tubercles; white nuptial pads; outer palmar tubercle bifid, almost twice the size of ovoid thenar tubercle; subarticular tubercles prominent, rounded; low supernumerary tubercles at the base of fingers; fingers bearing broad lateral fringes; Finger I shorter than Finger II; discs on fingers expanded, truncate; pads on fingers surrounded by circumferential grooves on all fingers ( Fig. 9AView Figure 9).
Hindlimbs slender; dorsal surfaces of hindlimbs tuberculate; posterior surfaces of thighs smooth, ventral surfaces of thighs coarsely areolate; heel bearing a medium sized, prominent and rounded tubercle surrounded by several slightly smaller tubercles; outer and inner edge of tarsus bearing distinct, rounded tubercles; inner metatarsal tubercle elliptical, elevated 4 × the size of round, elevated outer metatarsal tubercle; supernumerary tubercles as large as outer metatarsal tubercle; subarticular tubercles prominent, rounded; toes bearing lateral fringes; basal webbing between toes IV and V present; discs on toes smaller than those on fingers, expanded and elliptical; toes having pads surrounded by circumferential grooves; relative lengths of toes: I < II < III < V < IV; Toe V much longer than Toe III (disc on Toe III reaches distal edge of penultimate subarticular tubercle on Toe IV, disc on Toe V reaches distal edge of distal subarticular tubercle on Toe IV; Fig. 9AView Figure 9). Coloration of the holotype in preservative is shown in Figure 28AView Figure 28.
Coloration of holotype in preservative. Dorsum brown with a light brown W-shaped scapular mark and interscapular blotch; head with dark brown supratympanic stripe, canthal and interorbital bands; dorsal surfaces of forelimbs, shanks and tarsus light brown with dark brown transversal bands; armpits, groins, anterior, and posterior surfaces of thighs cream; posterior surfaces of thighs brown with yellow flecks; venter cream with scattered brown flecks; throat, soles, and palms dusty cream ( Fig. 28AView Figure 28).
Coloration of holotype in life. Unknown.
Variation in preservative is shown in Figure 30View Figure 30, where all the type series is included. Coloration in life is known for two individuals; their photographs are shown in Figure 29View Figure 29. Coloration in life is in parenthesis. Background coloration of dorsal surfaces vary from gray to brown (olive to reddish brown); dorsum might bear dark brown W-shaped scapular marking, irregular chevrons, or longitudinal stripes (dorsum with red or cream irregular spots or blotches); head bears or not dark brown supratympanic stripe, canthal stripe, interorbital band and labial bars; flanks with or without black or white spots. Groins and anterior surfaces of thighs dark brown with pale (yellow) blotches irregularly bordered; posterior surfaces of thighs brown with pale (yellow) flecks; dorsal surfaces of thighs with irregular oblique pale (yellow) stripes, venter white to dusty white with scattered brown flecks (dusty white with or without faint yellow blotches). Iris is copper with thin black reticulations; light-blue sclera. Tubercles of the individual with the striped color pattern on dorsum are less prominent than those of the other individuals.
Distribution, natural history, and conservation status.
Pristimantis teslai is known from two Paramo localities in the eastern Andean slopes in Tungurahua Province ( Fig. 2View Figure 2). Individuals were found beneath rocks, among moss or bunch grasses at day, or active on low vegetation up to 80 cm above ground at night. Parque Nacional Llanganates is, to a large extent, unexplored. It could have additional populations for this species. Given the scant available information, we assign P. teslai to the Data Deficient Red List Category ( IUCN 2017).
The specific epithet is a noun in the genitive case and is a patronym for Nikola Tesla, a revolutionary inventor of the late 19th and early 20th century. It is named after him in recognition of his contributions to physics and his dedication to the ideal of providing free wireless electric power.
Pristimantis teslai has been mistakenly identified as P. phoxocephalus (e.g., collections at the QCAZ museum). Here, we recognize it as a different species and assign it to the P. phoxocephalus species group. Pristimantis teslai is most similar species to UCS1. They are sister species and have a genetic distance of 2.5%. Pristimantis teslai differs from UCS1 by having more prominent tubercles and smaller and fuzzier yellow blotches on the groins and posterior surfaces of thighs. However, these small differences may represent intraspecific variation. Hence, the status of UCS1 will remain tentative until additional specimens and populations of both species are examined.
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