© 2003 Dr. Axel Kwet (1 of 4)
Elachistocleis erythrogaster is differentiated from other species of its genus by its deep black throat in both females and males, its sky-blue and deep black streaks on its lateral surface, and its flame-orange ventral surface with irregularly shaped sky-blue and deep black splotches on the posterior portion of the venter. It is easily differentiated from Elachistocleis ovalis, which occurs in the same region, by their differing adult morphology, coloration, advertisement call, and reproductive behaviors. Elachistocleis erythrogaster is larger than E. ovalis as an adult and also has a larger clutch size, larger eggs, and larger tadpoles. Elachistocleis erythrogaster has a louder and longer call than E. ovalis composed of fewer pulses and with a dominant frequency 1000 Hz lower than E. ovalis. Elachistocleis erythrogaster does not have the femoral stripe on the posterior surface of the thigh that is present in E. ovalis. Finally, whereas E. ovalis has tadpoles with chocolate-brown dorsal surfaces and slightly pigmented fins, E. erythrogaster has tadpoles with chocolate-brown dorsal and lateral surfaces and transparent fins with a curved tip. Elachistocleis ovalis tadpole tail ends in a sharp point. (Kwet and Di-Bernardo 1998).
In life, male Elachistocleis erythrogaster have deep black dorsal surfaces with streaks and splotches of sky-blue and flame-orange. Females of this species have flame-orange dorsal surfaces with streaks and splotches of sky-blue and deep black. The coloration of the dorsal surfaces of the limbs resembles that of the dorsum. The ventral surfaces of the limbs are flame-orange but on the hindlimbs that region is smaller due to the overlap of the deep black and sky-blue from the dorsal surfaces. There is no femoral stripe on the thighs and the lateral surfaces are sky-blue marbled with deep black. Elachistocleis erythrogaster has a flame-orange venter with irregularly shaped deep black splotches and sky-blue spots on the posterior half of the venter. The throat is deep black and has sky-blue marbling laterally. At the corner of the mouth is an irregularly shaped flame-orange splotch. In preservative, all dorsal surfaces are beige to chocolate-brown and are darker in males than in females. The marbled colors are not as clear as in life and the blue color does not show. The flame-orange ventral surfaces grow to a dull yellow but still display the irregular black spolotches. The throat remains black. Preserved, juvenile Elachistocleis erythrogaster have chocolate-brown ventral and dorsal surfaces except for several transparent spots on the chest, forelimb, and mouth (Kwet and Di-Bernardo 1998).
The dark splotches on the venter are usually found toward the posterior end, although they may extend anteriorly in some specimens. The flame-orange background of the venter has varying degrees of brightness (Kwet and Di-Bernardo 1998).
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
During mating, males bind themselves to females using axillary amplexus and with a strong glue-like secretion. Two mating pairs brought into captivity laid 991 and 476 eggs, respectively. The black eggs were approximately 2.5 mm in diameter and formed a thin egg film on the surface of the after (Kwet and Di-Bernardo 1998).
In January 2001, anti-predator behavior of E. erythrogaster, triggered by light touching, was observed in five of six individuals. It consisted of the frogs inflating their lungs and straightening their hindlimbs, which the frogs held for approximately one minute. Elachistocleis erythrogaster also produced a white, sticky skin secretion, of which the toxicity is unknown but assumed to be noxious to predators. The frogs, however, did not expose their ventrums during the anti-predator response, making the function of their bright coloration currently unknown (Kwet and Sole 2002).
It is assumed that E. erythrogaster feed on termites and ants because of the well formed dermal fold behind the eyes that is known to protect E. ovalis from ants. It is also assumed that E. erythrogaster is fossorial and remains hidden most of the year, making it difficult to find and study (Kwet and Di-Bernardo 1998).
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Elachistocleis erythrogaster is part of the Ovalis-Bicolor species complex (Kwet and Di-Bernardo 1998).
The species was named for its red vent, where “erythros” means red and “gaster” means venter in Greek (Kwet and Di-Bernardo 1998).
Elachistocleis erythrogaster is only the second microhylid know from the Rio Grande do Sol (Kwet and Di-Bernardo 1998).
Kwet, A. and Sole, M. (2002). ''Elachistocleis erythrogaster (red-bellied oval frog). Defensive behavior.'' Herpetological Review, 33(1), 46.
Kwet, A., and Di-Bernardo M. (1998). ''Elachistocleis erythrogaster, a New Microhylid Species from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.'' Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 33(1), 7-18.
Silvano, D., Kwet, A., Garcia, P. (2004). Elachistocleis erythrogaster. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 17 February 2015.
Written by Riley David Kermanian & Ann T. Chang (rkermanian AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2015-02-17
Edited by Ann T. Chang (2015-02-17)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2015 Elachistocleis erythrogaster <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/5427> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 24, 2019.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2019. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 24 Jun 2019.
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