Cantillana Spiny-Chest Frog
Species Description: Charrier A, Correa C, Castro C, Mendez MA 2015 A new species of Alsodes (Anura: Alsodidae) from Altos de Cantillana, central Chile. Zootaxa 3915: 540-550.
Alsodes cantillanensis is differentiated from other Alsodes by the thorny patches seen on the chests of males with spines uniformly distributed, a triangular marking on the top of the head with contrasting color from the rest of the body, and smooth dorsal skin. Alsodes cantillanensis is found in sympatry with A. nodosus but the two do not share similarities in all of their morphological characteristics. Alsodes cantillanensis has uniformly distributed chest spines, yellow on the upper portion of its iris, a light triangle on its head, and smooth skin. These morphological characteristics are more similar to southern Chilean and Argentinian Alsodes species than to A. nodosus (Charrier et al. 2015).
In life, the males are yellow to ochre to dark grey with a lighter triangle and females are red to orange with a red-orange triangle. The triangle on their head is between the posterior border of their eyes and the tip of their snout, and there is dark coloration under the canthus. They have a thin vertebral yellow line on the posterior half of their dorsum. The ventral coloration is white with white spines on the chest. The tips of the fingers and toes are white. The dorsal portion of the iris is gold-yellow while the rest is dark brown or black (Charrier et al. 2015, Charrier 2019).
Because the species was only described from one male and one female, it is difficult to extrapolate if variation between them is from individual variation or sexual dimorphism. Physically, the male specimen has spiny patches on the chest and thicker arms than the female. In terms of color, the male is yellow to dark gray with a lighter triangle and the female is red to orange with a red-orange triangle (Charrier et al. 2015, Charrier 2019).
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The larvae of this species are commonly found under shaded areas of rivers or small streams, as well as calm, stagnant waters and ponds adjacent to the main riverbed. This habitat provides cool waters with little current and a rocky substrate. The larvae are commonly hidden beneath and between the crevices of the rocks found in these stagnant waters. The average number of eggs laid at a time is approximately 60 (Charrier 2019).
They commonly inhibit rivers with similar amphibians, including Alsodes nodosus and Pleurodema thaul, invertebrates, including those of the genus Aegla, and fish in the genus Trichomycterus (Charrier et al. 2015).
Alsodes cantillanensis shares breeding sites with A. nodosus. As of 2021, it’s unknown what reproductive mechanisms are used by to maintain reproductive isolation between these closely related species (Charrier et al. 2015).
Trends and Threats
The species is not known in any official protected area (Charrier 2019). Quebrada Infiernillo and another creek where this species was found are located on private property, which means that a large portion of the population is now somewhat territorially protected. However, the sanctuary does not have the legal right to exclude potential mining projects, as there is a history of this kind of activity there (Charrier et al. 2015).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
The phylogenetic relationships of 14 Alsodes species were determined using Bayesian and Maximum Parsimony analyses of 359 parsimony-informative characteristics from mtDNA and nDNA. That tree has two main clades; one clade includes A. cantillanensis, A. nodosus, and A. vanzolinii. The other clade is composed of the remaining Alsodes species. Alsodes nodosus is the sister lineage of A. cantillanensis. The two species have significant geographic overlap, even living and reproducing in some of the same water bodies (Charrier et al. 2015).
The genus Alsodes is made up of various spiny chest frog species found in Chile. The species name “cantillanensis” comes from the Latin variation of the word “Cantillana”, the mountainous region near Santiago, Chile known as Altos de Cantillana (Charrier et al. 2015).
OTHER INTERESTING INFORMATION:
A video of the frog and its habitat can be found on Vimeo by Andres Charrier, the lead author of the species description.
Charrier, A. (2019). Anfibios de los Bosques de la Zona Centro Sur y Patagonia de Chile. Corporación Chilena de la Madera, Madera, Chile.
Charrier, A., Castro-Carrasco, C., Correa, C.L., Mendez, M.A. (2015). "A new species of Alsodes (Anura: Alsodidae) from Altos de Cantillana, central Chile." Zootaxa, 3915(4), 540-550. [link]
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2015). "Alsodes cantillanensis." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T76338143A76338146. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T76338143A76338146.en. Downloaded on 25 January 2021.
National inventory of Chilean species. (2016). “Alsodes cantillanensis (Charrier, Correa, Castro & Mendez, 2015)”. Ministry of Environment. Accessed 16 February 2021 from http://especies.mma.gob.cl/CNMWeb/Web/WebCiudadana/ficha_indepen.aspx?EspecieId=5691&Version=1.
Originally submitted by: Daley McGhee, Jenna Turpin, Zoe Merck (2021-06-10)
Description by: Daley McGhee, Jenna Turpin, Zoe Merck (updated 2021-06-10)
Distribution by: Daley McGhee, Jenna Turpin, Zoe Merck (updated 2021-06-10)
Life history by: Daley McGhee, Jenna Turpin, Zoe Merck (updated 2021-06-10)
Trends and threats by: Daley McGhee, Jenna Turpin, Zoe Merck (updated 2021-06-10)
Comments by: Daley McGhee, Jenna Turpin, Zoe Merck (updated 2021-06-10)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-06-10)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Alsodes cantillanensis: Cantillana Spiny-Chest Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/8311> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 25, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25 Oct 2021.
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