Andinobates geminisae is characterized by its tiny size with a snout-vent length of 11.63 - 13.63 mm. It has a skinny body with smooth skin on its backside while its back areolates are characterized by a coarse, grainy texture. The eye length of A. gemininisae is longer than the length of its slender snout. It has a distinguishable, average-sized tympanum (relative to the eye length) that is slightly visible through the skin. The head length and head width are of equal distance, but head length is only 31% of the snout-vent length. Rounded all around, the snout has nostrils positioned outward along the tip. These nares are visible from an anterior view as well as from underneath the species though they are not visible from a bird’s eye view. The distance between these nares is around 44% of the head width. Andinobates geminisae has a flat loreal region that then becomes marginally curved between the head crown and snout. A pair of discernable vocal slits is located between its jaw articulation and extendable tongue. The hands are moderate in size with the finger lengths varying as such in length: 1 < 2 < 4 < 3, where fingers 2 and 4 are very close in length when pressed or adjacent to one another. The disk of finger 3 is 1.26 times wider than the ends of the fingers 2 and 4. Andinobates geminisae has palmar, thenar, and subarticular tubercles but lacks supernumerary tubercles, nuptial pads, and fringes along the phalanx. The round, elevated palmar tubercle is faintly bigger than the low, elongated thenar tubercles. The subarticular tubercles are orbed and bowed. The hind legs from heel to knee are 43% of the snout-vent length. The lengths of their pressed toes are: 1 < 2 < 3 < 5 < 4. Andinobates geminisae has a lengthened inner metatarsal tubercle and smaller outer metatarsal tubercles that are rounded. Although this species lacks tarsal ridges, their toes have disks that are sparsely expanded. In entirety, the species has hands and legs that do not have any webbing (Batista et al. 2014).
Andinobates geminisae is different from other species of the genus because of its uniform chrome orange color, smooth back, and idiosyncratic male call. However, it is similar to Andinobates opissthomelas in coloration, but can be differentiated by A. geminisae not having a granular skin texture. Usually mistaken for the species Andinobates minutus because of its close geographical distribution and similar mitochrondrial genes, this species has many conspicuous differences. There is a stark contrast in coloration and the advertisement calls of the similar species that have a higher dominant frequency with fewer pulses per note. Other closely related species, Oophaga pumilio and O. vicentei, are larger than this species in snout-vent length and population size. There is also a great difference in color and behavior between O. pumilio, O. vicentei, and A. geminisae. The dorsal color of O. vicentei is usually red but it is also seen in green, blue, or yellow with darker blotches. In behavior, O. vicentei is a tree-dwelling species unlike A. geminisae, which is seen primarily on the ground. The call duration for the O. pumilio and O. vicentei species are 0.04 – 0.07 seconds and 0.14 – 0.20 seconds respectively whereas the call of A. geminisae is longer than 1.60 seconds on average (Batista et al. 2014).
In life, A. geminisae have, for the most part, a chrome orange color with darker pigmented skin between its eyes. Below the tympanum, at the joints, and on the area between the armpit and body this species displays dainty, light brown coloration. Its fingers and toes have a bluish grey pigmentation while its subarticular tubercles present a faint, pale grey hue. Many other parts of the species not described exhibit spectrum orange chroma like the throat and belly. The lower mandible area including the lower lip demonstrates a dark violet color that seems almost black from afar (Batista et al. 2014).
In preservative, the area directly above the eyes to the area posterior of the dorsum have light grey coloration while the limbs and anterior area of head contain a reddish grey tone. The underside of this species becomes a hazel color with lavender spots around areas where glands are present. Some specimens contain scanty dark spots on its belly and throat, while others have darker pigmentation on their throat (Batista et al. 2014).
From species collected thus far, the female frogs seem to be slightly larger than the male frogs. Among the females, their average length is about 13.2 mm, with little variation, while males range from about 11.6 to 13.6 mm in length (Batista et al. 2014).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Panama
Andinobates geminisae has only been found in the Río Belénbasin basin in areas of unperturbed forest with minimal human settlement. These frogs were found on ridges of hilly areas implying that the species prefer higher, drier areas over low, moist areas like most poison dart frogs. Usually found under rocks and logs, A. geminisae is also seen near tree roots and on top of leaf litter where it is very exposed. Its luminescent coloration creates a stark contrast with the forest floor allowing them to be easily spotted. Observed at around 136 m in elevation in an area of 40 m2, the species was spotted 15 times in 45 minutes. Based on the high frequency and area this species was found it is assumed to be relatively abundant and have a moderate distribution (Batista et al. 2014).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The call of this species is similar to that of a closely related species A. minutus when looking at its reverberation and buzz-like nature. The calls of two A. geminisae males were recorded on March 15th 2010 at Distrito de Donoso, Colón Province, Panama (8.8546° N, 80.8061° W). The calls were measured at 11:35 am and the air temperature was 25.9ºC. The recorded calls had 87 - 88 pulses and were an average of 1.60 seconds. Between calls, there is a silent interval of 59.4 seconds, leading to a call rate of about two calls per minute. The rise time in these calls was 5.64% in one call and 8.14 in another call. The frequency of the call at the peak displayed a range from 4.12 - 4.74 kHz in one and 4.03-4.80 kHz in another. Each pulse was about 8 milliseconds in length in intervals of 8.40 ± 1.6 ms. The call would begin with a larger pulse interval for the first one to two pulses (42, 52 ms) from which it would become relatively constant. There was an interval of silence that lasted 152 ms and 88 ms before the last click that signaled the end of the call. In the wild, males were heard calling from 8 am to about 2 pm indicating that the males call industriously throughout the day during breeding season (Batista et al. 2014).
Reproductive areas used by these frogs include water filled areas such as cupped, dry leaves or cavities and hollows in trees. This species has also been located reproducing in pitcher plants (phytotelmata) found in the same locality. Much is still to be learned among this species regarding juvenile stages, but no tadpoles have been found in reproductive areas of this species. One individual (whose sex is undetermined) was photographed carrying a tadpole on its back indicating parental intervention. This means the frog had to develop a system to ensure the safety of its tadpoles where conditions might not allow even a lucky few laid to survive (i.e. fast flowing water; Batista et al. 2014).
Trends and Threats
Although A. geminisae is found in mostly pristine primary forest, it faces many conservation challenges. Deforestation for agriculture and pasture use by non-indigenous people has become an increasingly greater threat. There is also the migration of the native Comarca Ngöbe Buglé people to establish new settlement in the area. Furthermore, recent events have brought multinational copper mining companies to the area. For these reasons and more, it is imperative that plans for the conservation of this species are put in place and made a high priority because of how restricted these frogs are in geographic range (Batista et al. 2014).
Relation to Humans
This species, due to its small and restricted distribution, is susceptible to smuggling for illegal pet trade (Batista et al. 2014).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intentional mortality (over-harvesting, pet trade or collecting)
The Dendrobatid species (including Colostethus pratti, Dendrobates auratus, Oophaga vicentei, Phyllobates lugubris, and Silverstoneia flotator) inhibits the same geographic region as A. geminisae and is believed to be sympatric (Batista et al. 2014).
The species authority is: Batista, A., Cesar, A., Jaramillo, A., Ponce, M., Crawford, A.J. (2014). ''A new species of Andinobates (Amphibia: Anura: Dendrobatidae) from west central Panama.'' Zootaxa, 3866(3), 333-352.
Based on molecular phylogenetic alone this species could be included with the A. minutus species group. However based on genetic distance, coloration, behavior, and vocalization A. geminisae was elevated to a full species (Batista et al. 2014).
The species epithet is dedicated to Geminis Vargas for her unwavering support of herpetology in Panama (Batista et al. 2014).
Batista, A., Cesar, A., Jaramillo, A., Ponce, M., Crawford, A.J. (2014). ''A new species of Andinobates (Amphibia: Anura: Dendrobatidae) from west central Panama.'' Zootaxa, 3866(3), 333-352.
Written by Shakil Huq (shuq AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2014-11-03
Edited by Ann T. Chang (2014-11-04)
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