Faisanes Stubfoot Toad
© 2010 Division of Herpetology, University of Kansas (1 of 1)
Atelopus coynei can be differentiated from other similar species by its ventral patterning, thick fleshy finger webbing that covers its first finger, and from its long hind limbs that cause its heels to overlap when the legs are positioned perpendicular to the body (Miyata 1980).
In life, the male dorsum colors vary from green backgrounds with dark brown vein-like spotting to dark brown with green blotching. In all specimens, as the green color moves to the sides of the frog it becomes more turquoise blue. The ventral surface of males has an opaque white or yellow background that is decorated with a sparse black or brown network of color. The single female paratype had a venter that was bright, opaque yellow with dark brown reticulations. Both sexes had reddish-orange palms and soles, but with more prominent coloring on the females. Irises in both sexes were golden yellow to orange-copper. When preserved, green parts of the A. coynei turned pale lavender. Additionally, brown spots faded and obtain a reddish wash. In males, the venter white-belled variations were unchanged while yellow-belly colorations were lost. In the female, the venter retained its yellowish tint and the brown reticulations paled to a medium brown color (Miyata 1980).
Distribution and Habitat
Atelopus coyneiis currently known solely from the provinces of Pichincha, Imbabura and Carchi. The estimated elevation bracket of taxon occurrence lies between 600 and 1380 meters above mean sea level. Atelopus coynei demonstrates certain capabilities for adaptation to secondary forest growth, which is important because of the significant forest habitat destruction in the species range (Miyata 1980; Santiago et al. 2004).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
After fertilization, eggs are laid in swift moving clear freshwater surface waters. The tadpoles, like other tadpoles of the genus Atelopus, are found attached to submerged rocks (Santiago et al. 2004).
Trends and Threats
While no taxon specific conservation measures are in place, a portion of the species range lies within Reserva Ecologica Cotacachi-Cayapas. Due to the rarity of the species and its status as Critically Endangered, conservation efforts should include field surveys and captive breeding of this frog (Santiago et al. 2004).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
The type locality of A. coynei was lost to logging that caused sedimentation to the stream at which the holotype and paratypes were found (Miyata 1980).
Biodiversity within the range of A. coynei is very high, with an exceptional level of endemism as well. Notable mammals present here are the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), Jaguar (Panthera onca) and Andean Tapir (Tapirus pinchaque). Example avian species occurring in this ecoregion are the endemic Booted Racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii), Empress Brilliant (Heliodoxa imperatrix), the Fulvus Treerunner (Margaromis stellatus), the Black Solitaire (Entomodestes corocinus) and the Gorgeted Sunangel (Heliangelus strophianus).
There are an extraordinary number of amphibian taxa within the same ecoregion inhabited by A. coynei. Example associate endemic amphibians that overlap (or nearly overlap) the range of A. coynei are the Burrowe's Robber Frog (Pristimantis laticlavius), Duellman's Robber Frog (Pristimantis duellmani) and the Pirri Range Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus glyphus). Example reptilian endemics that overlap (or nearly overlap) the range of Atelopus coynei are: Antioquia Anole (Anolis antioquia) and the Saphenophis Snake (Saphenophis sneiderni).
Phylogeny and evolution:
All ancestral stock of genus Atelopus was likely present in South America prior to the Tertiary. Species within the genus Atelopus likely were adapted to stream-side habitats prior to the Andean uplift in the Cretaceous and Early Tertiary. As Andean uplift occurred, creating montane habitat, it lifted the species and corresponding speciation resulted for the medium to higher altitude species members including A. coynei; this higher altitude adaptation likely reflected the floral palette and microclimate (McDiarmid 1971).
McDiarmid, R. (1971). ''Comparative morphology and evolution on frogs of the neotropical genera Atelopus, Dendrophryniscus, Melanophryniscus and Oreophrynella.'' Bulletin of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, 12, 1-66.
Miyata, K. (1980). ''A new species of Atelopus (Anura: Bufonidae) from the cloud forests of northwestern Ecuador.'' Breviora, (458), 1-11.
Santiago, R, Coloma, L.A., Bustamante, M.R., Cisneros-Heredia , D., Almendariz, A., Yanez-Munoz, M. 2004. Atelopus coynei. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 3.1. Downloaded
Written by C. Michael Hogan (luminatech AT yahoo.com), Luminatech
First submitted 2012-11-20
Edited by Michelle S. Koo & Ann T. Chang (2013-05-05)
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