Species Description: AmphibiaWeb decision to recognize. Following Lescure 1981.
© 2008 Henk Wallays (1 of 2)
Atelopus barbotini is a harlequin frog from French Guiana. In the Saül population, males had snout-vent lengths of 26.5 ± 0.9 mm while females had lengths of 32.9 ± 2.6 mm. In the Sophie population, males had snout-vent lengths of 25.3 ± 0.8 mm while females had lengths 20.4 ± 0.6 mm. In the Mount Bakra population, males had snout-vent lengths of 26.1 ± 0.7 mm while females had lengths of 34.5 ± 0.1 mm. The snout is round at the upper part and it is prominent. The distance between the nostrils is about three quarters of the distance from the eye to the snout tip. The distance from the eye to the nostrils is the same as the eye’s diameter. The interorbital space is larger than the eye’s diameter. There is a vertical groove between the head and shoulder (Lescure 1981).
The forelegs are slim and long. The external metacarpal tubercle is large and circular. It lacks an internal metacarpal tubercle. The bases of the last three toes have subarticular tubercles that are wide and circular (Lescure 1981).
When the thighs are extended horizontally and the legs are folded beneath them, the heels only overlap somewhat. There is a large and circular external metatarsal tubercle but it lacks an internal metatarsal tubercle. The webbing formula is 0 - 1 II 0 - 1 ½ III 0 to ¾ - 3 IV 3 - ½ V. Webbing extends from the base of the first toe to the first phalange of the second toe, then from the base of the second toe to 1.5 phalanges on the third toe, then from between the base of the third toe and ¾ phalange to the third phalange on the fourth toe, then from that point to ½ phalange on the fifth toe (Lescure 1981).
The dorsum and legs have smooth skin while the sides of the body have wrinkled skin (Lescure 1981).
Atelopus barbotini can be differentiated from A. spumarius and A. hoogmoedi by A. barbotini’s red color in its dorsal patterns and its ventral surface in life (Lescure 1981).
Atelopus barbotini can be distinguished from A. flavescens by A. barbotini’s dorsal ornaments, which differ from A. flavescens’ curved markings in brown specimens (Lescure 1981).
Atelopus barbotini is different from A. manauensis because A. manauensis males have longer tibias and A. manauensis has a dorsum ranging from light brown to reddish brown with a light yellow or light green reticulation network, while A. barbotini has a black dorsum with scattered sinuous lines that are opaque red in color. Additionally, A. manauensis has an advertisement call duration of 689 - 840 ms while the duration is 1300 - 1600 ms with 15 - 26 pulses in A. barbotini (Jorge et al. 2020).
In life, the background color is black on the flanks, body, and anterior upper and hind limbs. There are red patterns that are shaped similar to commas, rings, and curved lines occurring irregularly on these parts of the body. The body’s ventral surface is red-purplish with black spots on the throat, the scapular region, and the limbs’ undersides (Lescure 1981).
In alcohol, the black background becomes a brown color and the red parts become white (Lescure 1981).
The dorsal spotting varies in number and shape and these marks appear bigger on smaller individuals. For some individuals, the black spots extend to the underside of the thighs but are not commonly found on the underside of the belly. Some have less numerous red patterns on the dorsum. In life, one individual has similar coloration on the ventral side as on the dorsal side, with a black background color on the throat and belly and that are streaked with red lines in life. Another individual had a black back with red comma-shaped marks on the back (Lescure 1981).
Males have slightly longer and wider heads than females. Males have nuptial pads on the upper part of their first finger (Lescure 1981).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: French Guiana
Atelopus barbotini is diurnal and lives in the primary forest in the Central Massif of French Guiana. This species can be found on paths and mossy logs nearby creeks or rivers in the forest (Lescure 1981).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Before a series of calls, Atelopus barbotini begins with a little prelude call that is repeated at the start of the call. Its advertisement call is one to two notes that last 0.16 - 0.18 seconds and has a frequency ranging from 2000 - 3500 Hz (Lescure 1981). Its call type is pulsed (Lotters et al. 2019).
Females were found with fully formed eggs in December and March. Females found in May, during the rainy season, did not have any eggs (Lescure 1981).
Trends and Threats
As of 2021, the IUCN does not recognize A. barbotini as its own species, however, it does recognize it as a subspecies of A. spumarius. Atelopus spumarius faces population decline due to chytridiomycosis and forest loss resulting from agriculture, logging and clear cutting (IUCN 2010).
Relation to Humans
This species can be found in the pet trade.
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
The species authority is Lescure, J. 1981. “Contribution à l’étude des amphibiens de Guyane Française. VIII. Validation d’Atelopus spumarius Cope, 1871, et désignation d’un neotype. Description d’Atelopus spumarius barbotini nouv. ssp. Données étho-écologique et biogeographiques sur les Atelopus du groupe flavescens (Anoures, Bufonidés).” Bulletin du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris. Section A, Zoologie, Biologie et Ecologie Animales 3: 893–910.
In 2020, two studies examined the phylogenetic relationships in Atelopus. In the first one, maximum likelihood and Bayesian Inference analysis were done on 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene sequences. These analyses support that A. barbotini belongs to the Guiana Shield clade, which includes A. flavescens, A. hoogmoedi, and A. franciscus. The Guiana Shield clade is sister to the Central Amazonia clade consisting of A. manauensis, and together these clades are sister to an undescribed Atelopus from Anapu. Together, this group is sister to the Western Amazonia Andres group consisting of A. pulcher, A. seminiferus, and A. spumarius. All these groups together form the flavescens-spumarius clade. This clade is sister to the tricolor clade, consisting of A. loettersi, A. tricolor, and A. oxapampae (Jorge et al. 2020).
The other study used Maximum Likelihood analysis on the 16S mitochondrial gene, found similar findings. It supported A. barbotini, A. flavescens, A. hoogmoedi, and A. franciscus form a clade. However, this analysis put this clade as sister to A. seminferus and A. pulcher, and all together, these six species form a clade that is sister to A. pulcher. This clade of seven species is sister to a clade consisting of A. bomolochos, A. nanay, A. longirostris, A. varius, A. zeteki, A. chiriquiensis, A. spurrelli, A. peruensis, A. oxapampae, and A. tricolor (da Silva et al. 2020).
Azevedo-Ramos, C., Ron, S., Coloma, L. A., Bustamante, M. R., Salas, A., Schulte, R., Stefan Lötters, Angulo, A., Castro, F., Lescure, J., Marty, C., La Marca, E., Hoogmoed, M. 2010. “Atelopus spumarius.” The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T54555A11166846. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-2.RLTS.T54555A11166846.en. Downloaded on 10 February 2021.
Jorge, R. F., Ferrão M., Lima, A. P. (2020). "Out of bound: A new threatened Harlequin Toad (Bufonidae, Atelopus) from the outer borders of the Guiana Shield in central Amazonia described through integrative taxonomy." Diversity, 12(310), 1–25.
Lescure, J. (1981). "Contribution à l’étude des amphibiens de Guyane Française. VIII. Validation d’Atelopus spumarius Cope, 1871, et désignation d’un neotype. Description d’Atelopus spumarius barbotini nouv. ssp. Données étho-écologique et biogeographiques sur les Atelopus du groupe flavescens (Anoures, Bufonidés)." Bulletin du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris. Section A, Zoologie, Biologie et Ecologie Animales, 3, 893–910.
Lötters, S., Mebs, D., Köhler, G., Vargas, J., La Marca, E. (2019). “The voice from the hereafter: vocalisations in three species of Atelopus from the Venezuelan Andes, likely to be extinct.” Herpetozoa 32: 267-275. [link]
da Silva, G. W. B., Cornélio, G. S., de Oliveira, E. A., Trindade, N. G. P., França, I., Hernández, E. J. (2020). "A candidate species currently classified as Atelopus hoogmoedi (Anura: Bufonidae) in the eastern Amazon, Pará, Brazil." Genetics and Molecular Research, 19(1), gmr18392.
Originally submitted by: Kira Wiesinger (2021-03-02)
Description by: Kira Wiesinger (updated 2021-03-02)
Distribution by: Kira Wiesinger (updated 2021-03-02)
Life history by: Kira Wiesinger (updated 2021-03-02)
Trends and threats by: Kira Wiesinger (updated 2021-03-02)
Relation to humans by: Kira Wiesinger (updated 2021-03-02)
Comments by: Kira Wiesinger (updated 2021-03-02)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-03-02)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Atelopus barbotini <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/7796> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 20, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Jun 2021.
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