Pristimantis gretathunbergae Mebert, González-Pinzón, Miranda, Griffith, Vesely, Schmid & Batista, 2022
Greta Thunberg’s Rainfrog, Rana de Greta Thunberg (Spanish)
|Species Description: Mebert K, González-Pinzón M, Miranda M, Griffith E, Vesely M, Schmid PL, Batista A. 2022. A new rainfrog of the genus Pristimantis (Anura, Brachycephaloidea) from central and eastern Panama. ZooKeys 1081: 1-34.|
© 2022 Ángel Sosa-Bartuano (1 of 3)
Pristimantis gretathunbergae differs from other Pristimantis species of rain frogs throughout eastern and central Panama by multiple morphological characteristics. For example, P. gretathunbergae lacks nuptial pads and vocal slits. Moreover, the eyes of P. gretathubergae have non-reticulated irises that are dark brown to black in color, whereas other rain frog species have irises that are pale or contain heavy flecking. The most comparable Pristimantis species is P. cruentus, as it has a similar body size to P. gretathunbergae. They can be differentiated mainly by head characteristics. Pristimantis cruentus has a longer trunk, a wider head, a partially visible tympanum in female, larger eyes and eyelid width, a variable number of tubercles (vs. only one) on the upper eyelid, and light-colored irises that are reticulated, while P. gretathunbergae has very dark colored irises without any reticulation. However, there sometimes are small golden or reddish flecks in P. gretathunbergae irises as well. Furthermore, the upper lip in P. gretathunbergae has a light coloration that is starkly contrasted to a dark color that is on the snout above. This is different from P. cruentus, who does not have a contrasted lip coloration and instead has a diffused edge with the darker upper snout coloration. Other color differences can be used to differentiate the two species. For example, P. gretathunbergae has a reddish or whitish yellow venter, which is occasionally spotted, while P. cruentus ranges from a mottling of black and white to being heavily black and white. Dorsally, P. cruentus is a gray, brown, or brownish black color, in contrast, P. gretathunbergae usually has more of a yellowish- or reddish-brown colored dorsum that can also be a light gray color (Mebert et al. 2022).
Pristimantis gretathunbergae also differs from other species in the Pristimantis ridens group through its larger size and white, cream, yellow, or even orange-red colored inguinal area. Other closely related species have a general brown dorsal coloration and also have distinct tympanic membranes in comparison to P. gretathunbergae’s lack of visible tympanum. More specific differences include that P. caryophyllaceus has a smooth skinned dosum that is slightly covered in tubercles and has a sharp snout that projects outward. Pristimantis gaigai has orange dorsolateral stripes with black coloration. Pristimantis moro and P. museosus have a green dorsum. Pristimantis pardalis has white spots on the anterior and lateral parts of its thighs. Pristimantis erythropleura live in similar habitats as P. gretathunbergae, but has a smaller body size, red to gold eyes with reticulation, and nuptial pads on males. Pristimantis penelopus and P. sanguineus have a more visible tympanum and a venter that is orange to cream colored with specking of brown. The only other Pristimantis species that have black eyes from northwestern South America are P. arcerus, P. farisorum, P. orcesi, P. parectatus, and P. piceus. However, they are species that primarily occupy elevations of 2000 meters or more in the Andean Mountains, which is not within the same range as P. gretathunbergae (Mebert et al. 2022).
In life, the dorsum has a cream color background and large irregular reddish blotches, which do not extend to the flanks. The upper lip margin is contrasted with the darker snout coloring. Some males may have blotches that spread above the lip margin. The iris is nearly black and may have reddish gold speckles. Transverse bars are present on the thighs and anterior section of the tibia and foot. The top surface of the groin is reddish colored while the bottom is yellow. The venter is dirty white, and the area between the flanks is cream colored. In preservative, the dorsum is cream colored, with small dark pigmentations. The groin, hind limbs and forelimbs are pale with the dark transverse bands being less clear than in life. Moreover, the ventral area is cream colored, and the underparts of digits have dark scattered dark pigmentation (Mebert et al. 2022).
Most specimens of P. gretathunbergae follow the general description, however, there is variation in the coloration of the dorsal and ventral surfaces. While the dorsum is generally pale brown, it may also contain yellow to red pigmentation, scattered orange flecking, large red or distinct brown blotches, or a light dorsolateral band. The venter may have some dark spotting as well between specimens. A prominent light upper lip is existent in all female specimens, but only some males display this feature, while others exhibit some blotching vertically on the lip, stemming from the snout. Another large aspect of variation lies in the size of the frog, as females are much larger than male specimens. Females are also relatively wider and have less exposed tympanums than males (Mebert et al. 2022).
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The exact diet of the species is unknown, however, it is likely that they feed on arthropods such as ants, spiders, and orthopterans likewise to the diet of other Pristimantis species (Mebert et al. 2022).
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian methods on 16S and COI mtDNA showed that Pristimantis gretathunbergae is most closely related to P. cruentus. The next most closely related clade is composed of P. penelopus, and P. erythropleura, which are western Colombia species (Mebert et al. 2022).
The species epithet, “gretathunbergae” is in honor of Greta Thunberg who is a Swedish student known for her climate activism. Greta Thunberg encouraged students worldwide to advocate for action by the government to advert the dire consequences of climate change. She has organized many protests and strikes at climate talks and conferences to bring change to the status quo (Mebert et al. 2022).
OTHER INTERESTING INFORMATION:
Pristimantis gretathunbergae, was previously listed as P. aff. latidiscus on GenBank until it was revealed that the group had a large genetic divergence, greater than 11%, to P. latidiscus, which can be found in Ecuador (Merbert et al. 2022)
García-R, J., Carmen, P., Cárdenas, H. (2015). Diet of direct-developing frogs (Anura: Craugastoridae: Pristimantis) from the Andes of western Colombia. Acta Biológica Colombiana, 20, 79–87. [link]
Mebert K., González-Pinzón M., Miranda M., Griffith E., Vesely M., Schmid P.L., Batista A. (2022). A new rainfrog of the genus Pristimantis (Anura, Brachycephaloidea) from central and eastern Panama.” ZooKeys 1081: 1–34. [link]
Voyles, J., Woodhams, D. C., Saenz, V., Byrne, A. Q., Perez, R., Rios-Sotelo, G., Ryan, M. J., Bletz, M. C., Sobell, F. A., McLetchie, S., Reinert, L., Rosenblum, E. B., Rollins-Smith, L. A., Ibáñez, R., Ray, J. M., Griffith, E. J., Ross, H., Richards-Zawacki, C. L. (2018). Shifts in disease dynamics in a tropical amphibian assemblage are not due to pathogen attenuation. Science, 359(6383), 1517– 1519. [link]
Originally submitted by: Zain Faisal Zeitouni (2023-05-25)
Distribution by: Zain Faisal Zeitouni (updated 2023-05-25)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2023-05-25)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Pristimantis gretathunbergae: Greta Thunberg’s Rainfrog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/9484> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 1, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 1 Dec 2023.
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