Publications | Books | Mindo | Amphibians | Craugastoridae | Pristimantis chalceusPeters 1873
Copper Rainfrog  Cutín cobre

Recognition. ♂♂ 18–27 mm ♀♀ 28–31 mm. Pristimantis chalceus is distinctive in its genus by having areolate skin on a rusty to rosy-white dorsum19. Also, the deep black iris79 and the presence of elongate papillae on the tip of the digits1,2,79 readily distinguish this species from all other congeners. In Mindo, only Pristimantis eugeniae may hold a resemblance, but this latter rainfrog has a light-orangish iris9.

Natural history. Historically common710, particularly below 1000 m7. It is now uncommon2,11,12. During the day, Pristimantis chalceus takes shelter in bromeliads or in the axils of elephant-ear plants9,12. At night, it is active on vegetation 60–150 cm above the ground9,13 in primary and secondary evergreen forests as well as in somewhat less mesic and partially open areas such as cultivated vegetation79, often near9, but not restricted9, to streams. Pristimantis chalceus is active throughout the year7,911 and most likely breeds by direct development, as is believed to be the case for the other nearly 450 congeneric rainfrogs14.

Distribution. 10–1910 m. Chocoan lowlands and adjacent Andean slopes in Ecuador9 and Colombia15,16. In Mindo, Pristimantis chalceus is known from a locality 3.5 km northeast of the town9.

Conservation status. Near Threatened1719. To our knowledge, populations of this previously abundant and adaptable rainfrog have become scarcer2,12. The species is widely distributed9. At least in the Ecuadorian part of the range, it occurs over an area of 36,770 km2. However, recent surveys at historic localities2,12,20 have failed to locate it. This observation suggests that populations of Pristimantis chalceus are not as large and stable as previously thought, but have likely been negatively impacted by extensive habitat loss and degradation, general climate change, irregular rainfall patterns or emergent infectious diseases2126.

Etymology. The specific epithet chalceus comes from the Greek word chalkeos meaning "of copper"27, and is used to describe the species' unique dorsal coloration3.

Notes. This species was previously included in the genus Eleutherodactylus28 but has recently been moved to the resurrected genus Pristimantis29. In the latest phylogeny, Pristimantis chalceus is sister to a clade of yellow-thighed rainfrogs14,30: Pristimantis parvillus, Pristimantis luteolateralis and Pristimantis walkeri. These three rainfrogs are also known to occur in Mindo.

Authors. Alejandro Arteaga.

Reviewers and contributors. Andrew Crawford, Mario Yánez, Marco Reyes and Nick Pezzote.

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1Lynch JD (1999) Lista anotada y clave para las ranas (Género Eleutherodactylus) chocoanas del valle del Cauca, y apuntes sobre las especies de la Cordillera Occidental adyacente. Caldasia 21:184–202.

2Yánez-Muñoz MH and Bejarano-Muñoz EP (2013) Lista actualizada de ranas terrestres Pristimantis (Anura: Craugastoridae) en las estribaciones occidentales del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito, Andes de Ecuador. Boletín Técnico 11:125–150.

3Peters WCH (1873) Über eine neue Schildkrötenart, Cinosternon effeldtii und einige andere neue oder weniger bekannte Amphibien. Monatsberichte der Königlichen Preussische Akademie des Wissenschaften zu Berlin 1873:603–618.

4Boulenger GA (1882) Catalogue of the Batrachia Salientia s. Ecaudata in the collection of the British Museum. Second Edition (Taylor and Francis, London) 495 pp.

5Boulenger GA (1898) An account of the reptiles and batrachians collected by Mr. Rosenberg in western Ecuador. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 9:107–126.

6Myers GS (1962) The American leptodactylid frog genera Eleutherodactylus, Hylodes (= Elosia), and Caudiverbera (= Calyptocephalus). Copeia 1962:195–202.

7Lynch JD (1980) Systematic status and distribution of some poorly known frogs of the genus Eleutherodactylus from the Chocoan lowlands of South America. Herpetologica 36:175–189.

8Lynch JD (1970) Redescriptions of three little-known Eleutherodactylus from northwestern Ecuador (Amphibia: Leptodactylidae). Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 73:169–180.

9Lynch JD and Duellman WE (1997) Frogs of the genus Eleutherodactylus in western Ecuador. Systematics, ecology, and biogeography. Special Publication of the Natural History Museum, University of Kansas 23:1–236.

10Lynch JD and Burrowes PA (1990) The frogs of the genus Eleutherodactylus (family Leptodactylidae) at the La Planada Reserve in southwestern Colombia with descriptions of eight new species. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas 136:1–31.

11Morales MA (2004) Dinámica Poblacional de las Comunidades de Anfibios y Reptiles de Siete Localidades de la Zona de Amortiguamiento de la Reserva Ecológica Cotacachi-Cayapas, Esmeraldas, Ecuador (Universidad del Azuay, Cuenca) 122 pp.

12Field notes of Alejandro Arteaga and Marco Reyes.

13Yánez-Muñoz M, Reyes MM and Meza-Ramos P (2004) Caracterización y Composición de la Herpetofauna en las Reservas de la Fundación Jocotoco (MECN, Quito) 49 pp.

14Hedges SB, Duellman WE and Heinicke MP (2008) New World direct-developing frogs (Anura: Terrarana): molecular phylogeny, classification, biogeography, and conservation. Zootaxa 1737:1–182.

15Acosta-Galvis AR (2000) Ranas, salamandras y caecilias (Tetrapoda: Amphibia) de Colombia. Biota Colombiana 1:289–319.

16Ruiz-Carranza PM, Ardila-Robayo MC and Lynch JD (1996) Lista actualizada de la fauna de Amphibia de Colombia. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales 20:365–415.

17Coloma LA, Guayasamin JM and Menéndez-Guerrero P (2011) Lista Roja de Anfibios de Ecuador. Available here.

18Heatwole H, Barrio-Amorós CL and Wilkinson HW (2011) Amphibian Biology (Surrey Beatty & Sons, Baulkham Hills) 196 pp.

19Amphibian Ark (2012) Amphibian Conservation Assessment for Ecuador (Amphibian Ark, Apple Valley) 70 pp.

20MECN (2009) Guía de Campo de los Pequeños Vertebrados del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito (Imprenta Editcar, Quito) 89 pp.

21Castro F, Ron S, Coloma LA and Bolívar W (2004) Pristimantis chalceus. In IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Available here.

22Dodson CH and Gentry AH (1991) Biological extinction in western Ecuador. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 78:273–295.

23Sierra R (1996) La Deforestación en el Noroccidente del Ecuador (Ecociencia, Quito) 7 pp.

24Mittermeier RA, Robles-Gil P, Hoffmann M, Pilgrim J, Brooks T, Mittermeier CG, Lamoreux J and da Fonseca GAB (2004) Hotspots Revisited (CEMEX, Mexico) 391 pp.

25Menéndez-Guerrero PA and Graham CH (2013) Evaluating multiple causes of amphibian declines of Ecuador using geographical quantitative analyses. Ecography 35:1–14.

26Olson DH, Aanensen DA, Ronnenberg KL, Powell CI, Walker SF, Bielby J, Garner TWJ, Weaver G and Fisher MC (2013) Mapping the global emergence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the amphibian chytrid fungus. PLOS ONE e56802.

27Brown RW (1956) Composition of Scientific Words (Smithsonian Books, Washington) 882 pp.

28Frost DR (2011) Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.5. Available here.

29Heinicke MP, Duellman WE and Hedges SB (2007) Major Caribbean and Central American frog faunas originated by ancient oceanic dispersal. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104:10092–10097.

30Pyron RA and Wiens JJ (2011) A large-scale phylogeny of Amphibia with over 2,800 species, and a revised classification of extant frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61:543–583.