Males range from 29.9 to 37.1 mm SVL while females range from 35.0-46.0 mm SVL. The head is wide and long, with a snout that is acuminate in dorsal view and protrudes beyond the lower jaw in profile. The pretympanic and tympanic areas are covered with warts. The tympanic membrane, tympanic annulus, and stapes are absent. A glandular, slightly raised postorbital crest is present, but a postocular crest is lacking. The skin is generally smooth dorsally with some individuals having scattered spiculae or warts. The throat, chest, belly, and undersides of hindlimbs are rugose or areolate. Warts are present lateral to cloacal opening.
The forearms are relatively short. Webbing is absent on the fingers, and they lack lateral fringes. The fingers have digital tips with rounded pads. The third finger is the longest, followed by the fourth, second and first. Webbing is present in between the toes, with relative toe length IV>V=III>II>I and distinct digital pads. Many tubercles are present on the hand: palmar tubercle is round, supernumerary palmar tubercles are distinct, thenar and subarticular tubercles are distinct. On the foot, the inner metatarsal tubercle is oval, the outer metatarsal tubercle is round and raised, and the supernumerary plantar and subarticular tubercles are conspicuous. Males have short, robust forearms compared to females, and males also have keratinized nuptial pads on the dorsal and inner surfaces of the thumb and inner side of the proximal phalanx of Finger II. Males also have vocal slits.
The dorsum and dorsal surfaces of limbs and flanks are uniform reddish orange, orange, or dark brownish orange. Dorsal surfaces of fingers and toes are yellowish orange with brown areas. White spiculae are visible on the flanks, forearms and dorsal surfaces of the thighs. The black iris lacks a pupillary ring.
Tadpoles are unknown.
Distribution and Habitat
This species occurs in the Chimbo Basin of the Cordillera Occidental of Ecuador, Provincia Bolivar, near Río Salinas and Río Illangama, at an elevation between 2600-2923 m. The area has disturbed Cloud Montane Forest with rainfall around 1000-2000 mm annually and a mean temperature around 12-18 degrees celsius.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
While it was formerly abundant, the last sighting of this species was on April 10, 1988 by Mario Tapia.
Trends and Threats
Chytridiomycosis is thought to have been a primary factor in the disappearance of this species. Although this frog was found in disturbed forest, habitat loss is also considered a major threat. Invasive domestic animal species such as dogs, cats, and chickens have also been reported to prey on it (IUCN 2008).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
The specific name was given in dedication to the Guanujo, a Quechua people inhabiting the area where this species was once abundant, and the local town of the same name The species is known locally as "puca sapo", meaning "red toad".
Coloma, L. (2002). ''Two new species of Atelopus (Anura: Bufonidae) from Ecuador.'' Herpetologica, 58(2), 229-252.
Originally submitted by: Keith Lui (first posted 2008-10-09)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2008-11-18)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Atelopus guanujo: Puca Sapo <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/5976> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 11, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 11 May 2021.
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