AmphibiaWeb - Nymphargus laurae


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Nymphargus laurae Cisneros-Heredia & McDiarmid, 2007
Laura’s Glassfrog, Rana de cristal de Laura
family: Centrolenidae
subfamily: Centroleninae
genus: Nymphargus
Species Description: Cisneros-Heredia DF, McDiarmid RW 2007 Revision of the characters of Centrolenidae (Amphibia: Anura: Athesphatanura) with comments on its taxonomy and description of new taxa of glassfrogs. Zootaxa 1572:1-82.
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Nymphargus laurae is a small frog, described in 2007 from a single preserved adult male specimen of 19.9 mm SVL, which was collected in 1955. The body is slender. The head is distinct, slightly wider than long, and wider than the body. The snout is short, and truncate in both dorsal view and in profile, with slightly elevated nostrils and a subtle depression in the internarial area. The loreal region is concave. The canthus rostralis is indistinct and separated by a shallow platform. Lips are slightly flared. The eyes are large with the eye diameter greater than the width of the disc on finger III, and directed anterolaterally. The tympanic annulus is evident and oriented dorsolaterally with a dorsal inclination. A weak supratympanic fold runs from behind the eye to the insertion of the arm. Vomerine teeth are absent. The tongue is round and slightly notched posteriorly. Paired vocal slits are present, extending from the anterior base of tongue to the jaw angles. The dorsal surfaces are slightly shagreened with scattered spicules as well as raised warts corresponding to ocelli. Some spicules ventral to the tympanum appear to be enameled. Ventral surfaces are granular but not enameled. There is no cloacal sheath. Cloacal ornamentation consists of a pair of large, round, flat warts on the ventral surfaces of the thighs below the vent. No dermal folds or tubercles are present on the hands, forearms, feet, or tarsi. The upper arm is thin, only about half the width of the forearm, but the forearm is moderately robust. No humeral spine is present. The relative length of the fingers is III > IV > II > I, with basal webbing between fingers I, II and III and webbing between the outer fingers III 2 2/3 to 2 1/2 IV. No bulla is present. The fingers have wide, nearly truncate discs, with the disc on the third finger slightly larger than those on the toes, and smaller than the diameter of the eye. Subarticular tubercles are rounded and elevated except for the distal subarticular tubercle of the fourth finger, which is bifurcated. Supernumerary tubercles are present. The palmar tubercle is large, rounded, and elevated, and the thenar tubercle is elliptic. The prepollex is concealed, and males bear unpigmented nuptial pads of Type I. Hind limbs are slender. Although the tarsal fold is apparent, it is thought likely to be an artifact of preservation. The inner metatarsal tubercle is large and elliptical, while the outer metatarsal tubercle is indistinct. Subarticular tubercles are rounded and low, and supernumerary tubercles are small and indistinct. Toes are webbed as follows: I 2- to 2+ II 1 1/2 to 2+ III 1+ to 2 1/2 IV 2 1/2 to 1 1/2 V. All toe discs are bluntly truncate except for that on toe I, which is round rather than expanded. Melanophores are absent from both fingers and toes. The parietal peritoneum is white, covering about 2/3 of the abdomen (condition P3), but all other peritonea are clear. No iridophores are present on the hepatic peritoneum (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2007).

The holotype of Nymphargus laurae also has two pointed projections (papillae) on each toe disc, except for toe V (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2007). Such toe projections have not been reported in many other centrolenids, but it is thought that these structures may have been overlooked by previous researchers (Noonan and Harvey 2000; Harvey and Noonan 2005). Some specimens of Nymphargus ignotus also have pointed projections on their toes (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid unpublished cited in Cisneros-Heredia et al. 2007), as does Centrolene papillahallicum at the end of toe I (Noonan and Harvey 2000).

Nymphargus laurae, N. anomalus, N. cochranae, and N. ignotus can be distinguished from all other glassfrog species by the presence of ocelli on the dorsum. Nymphargus laurae has larger and fewer ocelli, and lacks ocelli completely on the forearms and shanks, as well as possessing supernumerary tubercles while the other species do not, in comparison to the three other glassfrog species which exhibit ocelli. The N. laurae holotype was found at 500 m, while two of the similar species, N. anomalus and N. ignotus, occur at much higher elevations (1740 m and 1900 m above sea level, respectively). The third similar species, N. cochranae, occurs at intermediate elevations, from 1100-1600 m, but can easily be distinguished from N. laurae by the presence of tiny ocelli that sometimes merely resemble dark spots in N. cochranae, vs. large ocelli with creamy centers in N. laurae (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2007).

In life, this species is green with yellow spots surrounded by black. In preservative, the dorsal surfaces are tan cream with dark reddish lavender ocelli, with each ocellus having a cream-colored wart in the center (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2007).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Ecuador

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This species is endemic to Ecuador. It is known only from the type locality near the town of Loreto (77º20’S, 00º40’W) in the foothill evergreen forest on the northern Amazonian lowland slopes of the Sumaco Volcano on the Cordillera Oriental, in the Province of Orellana. The elevation of the type locality is 500 m. Detailed descriptions of the collecting site were apparently not recorded; it is thought that the adult male holotype of N. laurae was probably found along a stream in the foothill evergreen forests of the Loreto plateau (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2007).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Nymphargus laurae is known only from a single preserved specimen, described 52 years after its collection. No information about its natural history is available.

Trends and Threats
It is not known how abundant this species is, since it has been described from a single specimen collected in 1955.

This species was named in honor of Laura Heredia, the grandmother of D. F. Cisnos-Heredia (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2007).


Cisneros-Heredia, D. F., and McDiarmid, R. W. (2007). ''Revision of the characters of Centrolenidae (Amphibia: Anura: Athesphatanura), with comments on its taxonomy and the description of new taxa of glassfrogs.'' Zootaxa, 1572, 1-82.

Harvey, M. B. and Noonan, B. P. (2005). ''Bolivian glass frogs (Anura: Centrolenidae) with a description of a new species from Amazonia.'' Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 118(2), 428-441.

Noonan, B. P., and Harvey, M. B. (2000). ''A new species of glass frog (Anura: Centrolenidae) from the highlands of Guyana.'' Herpetologica, 56, 294-302.

Originally submitted by: Kellie Whittaker (first posted 2007-11-14)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2009-08-14)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Nymphargus laurae: Laura’s Glassfrog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 21, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 Jun 2024.

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