Pristimantis erythros, Sanchez-Nivicela, Juan C., Celi-Piedra, Elvis, Posse-Sarmiento, Valentina, Urgiles, Veronica L., Yanez-Munoz, Mario & Cisneros-Heredia, Diego F., 2018

Sanchez-Nivicela, Juan C., Celi-Piedra, Elvis, Posse-Sarmiento, Valentina, Urgiles, Veronica L., Yanez-Munoz, Mario & Cisneros-Heredia, Diego F., 2018, A new species of Pristimantis (Anura, Craugastoridae) from the Cajas Massif, southern Ecuador, ZooKeys 751, pp. 113-128: 115-119

publication ID

publication LSID

persistent identifier

taxon LSID

treatment provided by

ZooKeys by Pensoft

scientific name

Pristimantis erythros

sp. n.

Pristimantis erythros   sp. n.

Common name.

English: Blood Rain Frog. Spanish: Cutín de Sangre


DHMECN 12103 (field series JCS.317); (Figs 2-4), an adult female collected at Chanlud, (02°40'57.30"S, 79°1'59.21"W, 3449 m), parroquia Chiquintad, cantón Cuenca, provincial de Azuay, República del Ecuador by JCSN, Verónica Urgilés, Elvis Celi, Valentina Posse and Cristian Nieves, in October 2014.

Paratopotypes (11 specimens).

DHMECN 12102, MZUA.AN.1355 adult male; MZUA.AN.1347, MZUA.AN.1348, MZUA.AN.1351, adult females; MZUA.AN.1350, subadult male; MZUA.AN.1349, MZUA.AN.1352, MZUA.AN.1353, subadult females;

MZUA.AN.1342, MZUA.AN.1343 juveniles, collected between October and November 2014 at the type locality.


Pristimantis erythros   differs from other species of the genus by the combination of the following characters: (1) Skin on head and dorsum granular, flanks and venter areolate with low warts; dorsolateral folds absent; discoidal fold weakly defined; (2) tympanic membrane and annulus present and visible, rounded, ca. 50% of eye diameter, upper half covered by parotoid macrogland; (3) snout short, rounded in dorsal and lateral views; (4) upper eyelid without tubercles, interorbital distance wider than width of upper eyelid (40%); cranial crests absent; (5) dentigerous process of vomers absent; (6) vocal slits and sacs present in males, nuptial pads absent; (7) Finger I shorter than II; discs laterally expanded with dilated pads and narrow fringes, (8) fingers with coarse lateral cutaneous fringes; (9) low ulnar warts in ventral view; radioulnar macroglands covering the upper surfaces of forearm; (10) heel and tarsus lacking tubercles; paracnemid macroglands on upper surfaces of legs, tarsi, and Toes IV and V; (11) inner metatarsal tubercle oval, not prominent, twice as large as outer metatarsal tubercle, outer metatarsal tubercle rounded and low, supernumerary tubercles low and indistinct; Toe V longer than III, disc of Toe III reaches distal border of penultimate subarticular tubercle on Toe IV, disc on Toe V reaches distal border of distal subarticular tubercle on Toe IV; (12) toes with conspicuous lateral fringes, extend to base of fingers, webbing absent; toe pads as large as or slight larger than those on fingers; (13) in life, dorsum uniformly burgundy, red to orange-red (reddish brown to burgundy in preserved) ; flanks, posterior surfaces of legs, groin, throat and venter crimson (dark reddish brown in preserved); iris dark brown with thin golden reticulations; ventral surfaces of hands and feet pinkish cream; (14) SVL in adult females 38.8-42.6 mm (x̄ = 40.3, n = 4), in adult males 36.8-37.1 mm (x̄ = 36.7, n = 2).


(Fig. 5) Pristimantis erythros   differs from all other Pristimantis   by its conspicuous red coloration in life (reddish brown in preservative), areolate flanks and belly with low warts, cutaneous macroglands: parotoid, paracnemid, and radioulnar; and absence of dentigerous processes of vomers. The distinctive macroglands are also known to be present in P. orcesi   (Lynch), P. pycnodermis   (Lynch), and P. loujosti   Yánez-Muñoz, Cisneros-Heredia & Reyes-Puig. It has a similar external appearance. Pristimantis orcesi   differs from P. erythros   by its uniform black to dark brown dorsum in life, areolate skin on dorsum and flanks, low parotoid macrogland and thin paracnemid and radioulnar macroglands on arm and thigh respectively, also P. orcesi   inhabits paramos on the northern section of Cordillera Occidental and inter-Andean depression of the Andes of Ecuador. Pristimantis pycnodermis   differs by having low cranial crests, the presence of dentigerous processes of vomer, dark canthal, tympanic marks, and green or brown color with large black spots on the flanks; it inhabits paramos in the southern section of Cordillera Oriental of the Andes of Ecuador. Pristimantis loujosti   differs by its subacuminate snout in dorsal view, large dentigerous processes of vomers, light orange dorsum, black spots on hidden surfaces of limbs, and light iris with dark reticulation.

Description of holotype.

Adult female (Fig. 2), head as wide as the body, slightly wider than long, 8% of SVL; snout short, rounded in dorsal and lateral views, canthus rostralis rounded, loreal region concave, nostrils laterally protruding, interorbital area flat, wider than upper eyelid, upper eyelid 15% of interorbital distance; cranial crests absent; parotoid macroglands covering 65% suprascapular dorsal muscle; tympanic membrane differentiated from surrounding skin, evident and rounded ¾ tympanic annulus, laterally directed, upper quarter covered by parotoid macrogland on cucularis muscle, tympanum diameter 52% of eye diameter; choanae large and rounded, not covered by palatal floor or maxillary arch; dentigerous processes of vomers absent; tongue broader than long, wider in posterior region, 25% attached to mouth floor.

Skin of dorsum granular without tubercles; dorsolateral folds absent; ventral surface areolate. Discoidal fold weakly defined in ventral view; cloacal region short, and covered by small and pronounced warts (Fig. 2). Ulnar warts slow, radioulnar macrogland covering dorsal surface of arm, forearm and hand; palmar tubercles large, external palmar tubercle, slightly larger than inner, inner palmar tubercle oval; super numerary tubercles pronounced; subarticular tubercles expanded in dorsal and lateral view; fingers with lateral cutaneous fringes, without interdigital membranes; Finger I shorter than Finger II, discs expanded laterally, all fingers with well-defined circumferential grooves (Fig. 3).

Hind limbs robust, tibia length 44% SVL; heel and external border of tarsus without tubercles, covered dorsally and ventrally by paracnemid macroglands; inner tarsal fold absent; inner metatarsal tubercles oval, twice as larger than the external metatarsal tubercle; supernumerary tubercles present, rounded and flattened; toes with lateral cutaneous fringes; basal membrane absent between toes; foot disks same size as those of hand, laterally expanded from fingers I–IV; relative length of toes 1<2<3<4>5; Toe IV larger than Toe III (Fig. 3).

Measurements of holotype (in mm).

Snout-vent length 39.1; head length 10.8; head width 13.8; eye diameter 3.4; eye-nostril distance 3.5; interorbital distance 5.8; internarial distance 3.5; tympanum diameter 1.9; upper eyelid width 2.8; tibia length 17.5; foot length 20.7; hand length 14.5.

Coloration of holotype in life.

Dorsum dark red with slightly lighter shades on head and limbs; dark red on venter. Tips of fingers and toes pinkish cream in dorsal view; ventral surfaces of hands and feet, creamy pink. Iris homogeneously dark brown, with thin golden reticulations (Fig. 4).

Coloration of the holotype in alcohol.

Dorsum reddish brown, flanks, posterior surfaces of thighs, venter, and throat dark reddish brown. Dorsal surfaces of fingers pinkish cream; ventral surfaces of hands and feet, creamy pink (Fig. 2).


Morphometric variations of the type series are presented in Table 1. The color variation is the change of tonality that goes from dark red to clear (Fig. 4).


The specific epithet erythros   is derived from the Greek word for red, in allusion to the distinctive coloration of this species.

Distribution, natural history, and extinction risk.

Pristimantis erythros   is only known from its type locality in the Cajas Massif. The area is covered by paramos dominated by grassland and shrubs, between 3450 and 3500 m (Fig. 6). Specimens were collected mainly in terrestrial bromeliads ( Puya hamata   ) and grasses ( Neurolepis villosa   ), near to small streams. Vocalizations were heard (but unrecorded) during daytime hours from 08h00 to 11h00 and from 17h00 to 19h00. Active individuals were observed from dusk until approximately 21h00, afterwards activity decreased. The new species was recorded in sympatry with Pristimantis aff. cryophilius   , P. aff. orestes   and P. aff. riveti   .

The Paramos on the Cajas Massif (221000 h. approx.) appear well preserved. Part of its extension includes the Cajas National Park (28544 h). However, the continued changes on land cover and land use occurring in several areas over the massif on the buffer area of the national park and not protected nearest regions are leading to habitat loss ( Hofstede et al. 2002). During a period of four (4) years (2014-2017), twenty six (26) localities in suitable regions (2500-3500 m) on the Cajas Massif were surveyed, no additional records of this new Pristimantis   were added during these excursions mentioned above. It is probable that P. erythros   inhabit only a single locality in an area of less than 1 km2. Finally, based on the small area of occupancy that might be restricted to the type locality which it is not under conservation in a protected area, we suggest that, it should be classified as Critically Endangered (CR) under the UICN criteria B1,B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv) ( IUCN 2001).