AmphibiaWeb - Pristimantis ledzeppelin


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Pristimantis ledzeppelin Brito-Zapata & Reyes-Puig, 2021
English name: Led Zeppelin's Rain Frog; Spanish name: Cutín de Led Zeppelin
family: Strabomantidae
genus: Pristimantis
Species Description: Brito-Zapata D, and C Reyes-Puig. 2021. A new species of terrestrial-breeding frog Pristimantis (Anura: Strabomantidae) from the Cordillera del Cóndor, Zamora Chinchipe, Ecuador. Neotropical Biodiversity 7: 213–222.
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Pristimantis ledzeppelin is a small to medium sized frog described from three specimens with snout-vent lengths of 23.9 and 24.6 mm in two adult males, and 36.1 mm in one adult female. The snout is rounded with a small rostral papilla in dorsal view. In lateral view it is moderate in length and rounded with a row of subconical tubercules on the lower jaw. The upper eyelid possesses one evident subconical tubercule on the center of the eyelid surrounded by several lower subconical tubercules. The tympanic membrane and tympanic annulus are round, measuring about ⅓ the diameter of the eye. A supratympanic fold is present, extending from the eye toward the posterior edge of the tympanum (covering an eighth of the tympanum). There are also several conical to subconical tubercles prominent located behind the rictus. There are skin protrusions on the dorsum and flanks, and the venter has coarsely areolate skin. This frog has a “W” shaped scapular fold and a discoidal fold, but dorsolateral folds and cranial crests are absent. Vocal slits are absent, but nuptial pads are present. The relative lengths of the fingers are as follows: II > I > III > IV. The fingers have truncated discs that are expanded, especially on fingers II and IV. The fingers have narrow lateral fringes and subconical ulnar tubercles are present. The heel has one conical tubercle that is surrounded by 2 - 5 lower subconical tubercles and the outer edige of the tarsus has 4 - 6 subconical tubercles. Many supernumerary tubercles are distributed throughout the plantar surface. The toes possess narrow lateral fringes, basal webbing, and truncated discs that are broadly expanded, especially on toes II - IV. Toe II is longest, followed by toe I, which reaches the second tubercle on toe II. Toes III - V progressively decrease in length (Brito-Zapata and Reyes-Puig 2021).

In general, P. ledzeppelin can be distinguished from other red-eyed Pristimantis (such as P. barrigai and P. nigrogriseus) by its W shaped scapular fold. Pristimantis ledzeppelin is most morphologically similar to P. muscosus (located in Northern Peru) but can easily be distinguished by several traits. Pristimantis ledzeppelin possesses a rounded snout with a small rostral papilla (vs. papilla is absent in P. muscosus), coarsely areolate venter (vs. areolate), truncated discs that are three times the width of the digits (vs. nearly truncate and more than twice the width of the digits), evident and subconical ulnar tubercules (vs. low and diffuse), supernumerary tubercles distributed throughout the plantar surface (vs. prominent in a single row on each digit), 4 - 6 subconical tubercles on the outer edge of tarsus (vs. one or two subconical tubercles proximally), and groins and hidden surfaces of thighs that are yellowish-cream with distinctive brownish-black markings and/or irregular orange blotches (vs. orange-yellow spots). Another species that is very morphologically similar to P. ledzeppelin is P. spinosus (from the central southeastern slopes of Ecuador). However, P. ledzeppelin has one evident subconical tubercle on the center of the eyelid surrounded by several lower subconical tubercles (vs. 2 - 3 elongate tubercles in P. spinosus), does not have cranial crests (vs. present), and the groin and hidden surfaces of thighs have yellowish cream with distinctive brownish black marks and/or irregular orange blotches (vs. black enclosing white spots) (Brito-Zapata and Reyes-Puig 2021).

In life, the base color of P. ledzeppelin is beige with irregular dark brown to greenish-brown transversal marks and scattered cream dots. The groin and hidden surfaces of the thighs are yellowish-cream colored with distinctive brownish-black marks (more common in males) and/or irregular orange blotches. The venter is yellowish-cream to light brown in color, possessing coppery tones and dark brown marbling. Ventral surfaces of the calf are brownish black, enclosing yellowish-cream to yellowish-orange blotches. The iris is coppery-red with thin brown reticulations. In preservative (70% ethanol solution), the dorsum is light brown to gray, with the snout being gray. The transversal marks on the hind limbs are black and white while the subocular and labial marks tend to be brown. The flanks are light brown marked by darker, diagonal brown stripes and the hidden surfaces of the groin and hind limbs are white with black markings. The underside and throat of the frog is white with dark brown marbling and the “V” shaped mark on the throat is light brown (Brito-Zapata and Reyes-Puig 2021).

There are differences between the male and female P. ledzeppelin with the female specimen being larger than either male specimen. Additionally, the W shaped scapular fold is present on both male and females, but is more pronounced in the males. Background coloration varies from light brown to gray with irregular dark brown marks to grayish brown to black. Marking on the thighs are also more pronounced in males. The venter color ranges from white to cream to light brown, but all marbling is with dark brown. Nevertheless, all variations of the frog present a “V” shaped brown mark on the throat and coppery iris (Brito-Zapata and Reyes-Puig 2021).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Ecuador

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Pristimantis ledzeppelin is only known from the place where they were initially collected, in the Comunidad Río Blanco, Cordillera del Cóndor, Cantón Paquisha, province of Zamora Chinchipe, Ecuador. This area is made up of low montane cloud forest with a canopy 15 - 20 m high. The trees are largely covered by moss and there is an abundance of leaf litter on the ground. The elevation at which the frogs were obtained was 1723 m above sea level (Brito-Zapata and Reyes-Puig 2021).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
All three specimens were found on shrub vegetation surrounding streams inside mature forest, perched on bush leaves between 1.7 and 3 meters above the water body (Brito-Zapata and Reyes-Puig 2021).

Trends and Threats
Although P. ledzeppelin is too newly described to have accurate population trend data, Cordillera de Cóndor is one of the most threatened ecoregions in the world. The main conservation threats facing this area are the expansion of agriculture and livestock borders, logging, small- and large-scale mining, the introduction of disease, and the possible effects of climate change (Brito-Zapata 2021). More specifically, anthropogenic climate change has produced a higher temperature variance and consequently more irregular rains in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Over the course of the past 46 years, there has been an estimated 94% species reduction in in this area (Domínguez-Gaibor et al. 2022).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Climate change, increased UVB or increased sensitivity to it, etc.

Pristimantis ledzeppelin was placed in the genera based on morphology alone. Specifically, having a head that is as wide as the body, a differentiated tympanic membrane, lack of cranial crests, presence of dentigerous process of vomers, “S” shape adductor muscles, expanded digits discs with well-defined circumferential grooves, variable comparative lengths of Fingers I and II, Toe III as long as or shorter than Toe V, variable texture of skin on dorsum, and an areolate venter (Brito-Zapata 2021).

Pristimantis ledzeppelin honors the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin, whose sound revolutionized the music world and influenced countless other creators, especially in the hard rock and heavy metal scenes throughout the 1960s and 1970s (Brito-Zapata 2021).


Brito-Zapata D., Reyes-Puig C. (2021). “A new species of terrestrial-breeding frog Pristimantis (Anura: Strabomantidae) from the Cordillera del Cóndor, Zamora Chinchipe, Ecuador.” Neotropical Biodiversity 7(1), 213–222. [link]

Domínguez-Gaibor I., Punina J. S., Carvajal M. V., Andrade B. F. (2022). “Posibles Efectos del Cambio Climático en los Anfibios de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana.” Green World Journal 5(1), 006. [link]

Originally submitted by: Christian Luensmann (2022-11-07)
Description by: Christian Luensmann (updated 2022-11-07)
Distribution by: Christian Luensmann (updated 2022-11-07)
Life history by: Christian Luensmann (updated 2022-11-07)
Trends and threats by: Christian Luensmann (updated 2022-11-07)
Comments by: Christian Luensmann (updated 2022-11-07)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-11-07)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Pristimantis ledzeppelin: English name: Led Zeppelin's Rain Frog; Spanish name: Cutín de Led Zeppelin <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 23, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 Jun 2024.

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