In life, the dorsum is pea green with scattered black spots, freckles and/or black. Flanks are cream and black (in Colombian specimens) or yellowish-cream with a thick black reticulation (in Ecuadorian females). The venter is creamy white with small black spots that are elongated in shape and irregular size, and may be individual or coalescent (in Colombian specimens), or orange and black (in Ecuadorian specimens). Palms and soles are yellow. Iris greenish yellow with thick black circular line, parallel to the pupil (in Colombian specimens), or dark brown with yellow edging on the pupil (in Ecuadorian specimens) (Ardila-Robayo and Ruiz-Carranza 1998; Coloma et al. 2010).
Color in 70% ethanol: dorsum is medium gray with black blotches. All yellow coloration becomes cream.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia, Ecuador
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
There have been serious declines of other high-elevation Atelopus species in the region, mainly due to chytridiomycosis and suggesting that this species might also be at risk (Coloma et al. 2010). Amphibian chytrid fungus was found in 1993 at an Ecuadorian locality (42 km west of Tulcán, Provincia Carchi) near that of Atelopus angelito (Merino-Viteri 2001; Coloma et al. 2010).
The type locality is within Parque Nacional Natural Puracé, Colombia but additional protection from habitat disturbance might be beneficial (Stuart et al. 2008). In Ecuador it occurs within a protected area, Reserva Ecológica El Ángel, Provincia Carchi (Yánez-Muñoz and Altamirano B. 2005). More research into this species' population status and ecological requirements is needed (Stuart et al. 2008).
The genus Atelopus, with 113 described and putative species, appears to be the most threatened clade of amphibians (La Marca et al. 2005). Chytridiomycosis is thought to be a primary factor in the decline and disappearance of species in this genus (La Marca et al. 2005). At least 30 Atelopus species appear to be extinct, having been missing from all known localities for at least 8 years (La Marca et al. 2005). Only 52 of the surviving species have sufficient data with which to evaluate population trends; of these, 81% (42 of 52) have population sizes that have been reduced by at least half (La Marca et al. 2005). Higher-elevation species (those living at least 1000 m asl) have been hit the worst, with 75% (21 of 28) having disappeared entirely (La Marca et al. 2005). Most Atelopus species are local endemics and are restricted to very limited areas along mid- to high-elevation streams (generally 1500-3000 m asl, though the maximum vertical range is from sea level to permanent snow; Lötters 2007), a habitat preference frequently associated with the co-occurrence of chytridiomycosis (La Marca et al. 2005). At least 26 species are known only from a single population inhabiting a narrow altitudinal range (La Marca et al. 2005). Due to their restricted ranges, they are thought to have limited ability to adapt to warming climatic conditions (Lötters 2007).
Ardila-Robayo, M. C. (2005). ''Atelopus angelito.'' Ranas Arlequines. Rueda-Almonacid, J. V., Rodríguez-Mahecha, J. V., Lötters, S., La Marca, E., Kahn, T. R., and Angulo, A., eds., Conservación Internacional. Panamericana Formas e Impresos S. A., Bogotá, Colombia.
Ardila-Robayo, M. C. and Ruiz-Carranza, P. M. (1998). ''Una nueva especie de Atelopus A. M. C. Dumeril & Bibron 1841 (Amphibia: Bufonidae) de la Cordillera Central Colombiana.'' Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, 22(83), 281-285.
Coloma, L.A., Duellman, W.E., Almendáriz, A., Ron, S.R., Terán-Valdez, A., and Guayasamin, J.M. (2010). ''Five new (extinct?) species of Atelopus (Anura: Bufonidae) from Andean Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.'' Zootaxa, 2574, 1-54.
La Marca, E., Lötters, S., Puschendorf, R., Ibáñez, R., Rueda-Almonacid, J. V., Schulte, R., Marty, C., Castro, F., Manzanilla-Puppo, J., García-Pérez, J. E., Bolaños, F., Chaves, G., Pounds, J. A., Toral, E., and Young, B. E. (2005). ''Catastrophic population declines and extinctions in neotropical harlequin frogs (Bufonidae: Atelopus).'' Biotropica, 37(2), 190-201.
Lötters, S. (2007). ''The fate of the Harlequin Toads — help through a synchronous multi-disciplinary approach and the IUCN ‘Amphibian Conservation Action Plan’.'' Zoosystematics and Evolution, 83( Supplement 1), 69-73.
Merino-Viteri, A. (2001). ''Análisis de posibles causas de las disminuciones de poblaciones de anfibios en los Andes del Ecuador.'' Tesis de Licenciatura, Quito, Ecuador, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador,
Stuart, S., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J., Cox, N., Berridge, R., Ramani, P., and Young, B. (eds) (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, IUCN, and Conservation International, Barcelona, Spain; Gland, Switzerland; and Arlington, Virginia, USA.
Yánez-Muñoz, M. and Altamirano B., M. (2005). ''Atelopus sp. 14.'' Ranas Arlequines. Rueda-Almonacid, J.V., Rodríguez-Mahecha, J. V., LaMarca, E., Lötters, S., Kahn, T., and Angulo, A., eds., Conservación Internacional. Panamericana Formas e Impresos S. A., Bogotá.
Written by Michelle Fremming (mfremming AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2010-09-23
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2011-03-09)
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