AmphibiaWeb - Atelopus patazensis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Atelopus patazensis Venegas, Catenazzi, Siu-Ting & Carrillo, 2008
Harlequin Frog
family: Bufonidae
genus: Atelopus
Species Description: Venegas PJ, Catenazzi A, Siu-Ting K, Carrillo J. 2008. Two new harlequin frogs (Anura: Atelopus) from the Andes of northern Peru. Salamandra 44(3): 163-176.

© 2008 Alessandro Catenazzi (1 of 3)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (9 records).

Diagnosis: Live specimens can be distinguished from similar species by its orange dorsum with large, irregular black marks in a wavy pattern, or a black dorsum with orange marks in a wavy pattern. These markings extend onto the dorsal surfaces of the limbs. The ventral side of the body, including the palms of the feet, is uniformly orange.

Description: Atelopus patazensis has a robust body. The SVL of males is 37.8-39.8 mm and of females is 42.7-48.8 mm. The head length is about equal to the head width. A. patazensis has neither tympanic membrane nor tympanic annulus. The snout is truncated when viewed from the dorsal side and extends past the lower jaw. The forearms are short. The fingers have rounded pads and lack a circum-marginal groove. Relative length of fingers in increasing order are as follows: I,II,IV,III. The front foot is not webbed but the hind foot is webbed. The body’s dorsal surface on both males and females has warts. Females have pointed projections in the skin present in the postorbital area, dorsolaterally, and on the sides. Males have a row of large warts dorsolaterally and spiculae posteriorly on the throat and under the jaw (Venegas et al. 2008).

Coloration: Colors vary dorsally from almost entirely black with orange patterning to almost entirely orange with black patterning. The pupil is black and fully encircled by a ring of dark gold. Preserved specimens lose their orange color and appear yellow. Colors vary dorsally from almost entirely black with orange patterning to almost entirely orange with black patterning (Venegas et al. 2008).

Tadpole Morphology: A. patazensis belongs to the family Bufonidae, all of which have type IV tadpole morphology (Venegas et al. 2008).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Peru


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (9 records).
A. patazensis is endemic to Cordillera Central in northwestern Peru in the Andes Mountains. It is specific to an inter-Andean valley near the village of Pataz between elevations of 2000-3000 m. It inhabits montane environments dominated by alpine grassland and along mountain streams, shrubs and bunch grasses. (Venegas et al. 2008)

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
A. patazensis breeds in streams. After dissecting a dead female, it was found to be carrying 348 eggs with a diameter of 1.8-2.0 mm. (Venegas et al. 2008)

Trends and Threats
This species is critically endangered due to a declining population. A potential cause of the declining population is the chytrid fungus. (Venegas et al. 2008) Causes also include energy production and mining, quarrying, pollution, domestic and urban waste water, and military effluents. (IUCN 2011)

Relation to Humans
Informal mining activities introduced mercury into the streams inhabited by A. patazensis. Heavy metal concentrations have also been reported to exceed standards (IUCN 2011).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline


Species Authority: This species was first described by Venegas, Catenazzi, Siu-Ting, and Carrillo in 2008, but was first discovered by Rodriguez in 1993 (IUCN 2011).

Etymology: The word “patazensis” comes from Pataz, the location in Peru where A. patazensis was found (Venegas et al. 2008).

Synonymy/Taxonomy: A. patazensis was originally identified as A. pachydermis by Rodriguez in 1993 (Venegas et al. 2008).


Catenazzi, A., Lehr, E., Rodriguez, L., and Vredenberg, V. (2011). ''Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and the collapse of anuran species richness and abundance in the Upper Manu National Park, southeastern Peru.'' Conservation Biology, 5, 382-391.

Venegas, P., Catenazzi, A., Siu-Tang, K., and Carillo, J. (2008). ''Two new harlequin frogs (Anura: Atelopus) from the Andes of northern Peru.'' Salamandra, 44, 163-176.

Originally submitted by: Jillian Howard, Thi Ngo, and Galena Robertson (first posted 2011-04-20)
Edited by: Kandys Kim (2012-03-05)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Atelopus patazensis: Harlequin Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Apr 2024.

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