Rhinoderma rufum 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Cycloramphidae

Scientific Name: Rhinoderma rufum (Philippi, 1902)
Common Name(s):
English Northern Darwin's Frog
Spanish Ranita de Darwin del Norte, Sapito Vaquero
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2015. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-07-10
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Luedtke, J.
Contributor(s): Veloso, A., Charrier, A., Cuevas, C., Correa, C., Soto, C., Díaz-Paéz, H., Nunez, H., Mendez, M., Formas, R. & Díaz, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hobin, L. & Superina, M.
Listed as Critically Endangered, Possibly Extinct, because the species has not been recorded since 1981 in spite of intense attempts to find it in its historical range. The habitat where it formerly occurred has been destroyed, and chytridiomycosis has been identified in historical collections and may well have played a significant role in its disappearance. Nevertheless, the reasons for the sudden decline of this species remain unclear.
Date last seen: 1981
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species once occurred in Chile from Zapallar (Valparaíso region) to Ramadillas (Bíobío region), at elevations of 0-500 m asl (Soto-Azat et al. 2013). Its area of occurrence was 46,491 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
Chile (Biobío, Maule, O'Higgins, Valparaíso)
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It formerly occurred in small, isolated subpopulations, and was fairly regularly seen until around 1978. Hamburg Museum has a jar with 181 individuals collected in only 2 days in Chiguayante, Bíobío region (Soto-Azat et al. 2013). However, since 1981 there have been no confirmed reports despite several attempts to locate the species, giving rise to fears that it might be extinct; the last record was from Río Ramadillas.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:0
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It has been recorded in leaf-litter in temperate mixed forests, and also in small streams surrounded by forests. Females lay their eggs in the leaf-litter. When the larvae inside the eggs begin to move, adult males ingest the eggs and incubate them in their vocal sacs, where the larvae develop until they are regurgitated into streams where metamorphosis takes place.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no records of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The destruction of the native vegetation through the planting of pine plantations and for the building of second homes probably impacts this species. However this is unlikely to explain its disappearance completely, the causes of which are not fully understood. Declines that have taken place within suitable habitat might be the result of threats such as climate change or disease. Chytridiomycosis is probably implicated in the enigmatic disappearance of this species (Soto-Azat et al. 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
It is not known from any protected area, as there are none within its historical range. 

Research Needed
The species might well be extinct, but further survey work is urgently required to determine whether or not this is the case.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:No
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.5. Other impacts
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.2. Agro-industry plantations
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis ]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends

Bibliography [top]

Díaz-Páez, H. and Ortiz, J.C. 2003. Evaluación del estado de conservación de los anfibios en Chile. Assessment of the conservation status of amphibians in Chile. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 76: 509-525.

Formas, J.R. 1995. Anfibios. In: J.M. Simonetti, T.K. Arroyo, TA. Spotorno and E. Loz (eds), Diversidad Biológica de Chile, Comisión Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONICYT), Santiago-Chile.

Formas, J.R., Pugin, E. and Jorquera, B. 1975. La identidad del batracio chileno Heminectes rufus Philippi 1902. Physis (Argentina): 147-157.

Glade, A. 1993. Red List of Chilean Terrestrial vertebrates. Corporación nacional forestal (CONAF), Santiago-Chile.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Servicio Agrícola Ganadero. 1998. Cartilla de caza. Imp. I. Flores, Santiago de Chile.

Soto-Azat, C., Valenzuela-Sánchez, A., Clarke, B.T., Busse, K., Ortiz, J.C., Barrientos, C. and Cunningham, A.A. 2013. Is chytridiomycosis driving Darwin's frogs to extinction? PLOS One 8(11): e79862.

Soto-Azat, C., Valenzuela-Sánchez, A., Collen, B., Rowcliffe, J.M., Veloso, A. and Cunningham, A.A. 2013. The population decline and extinction of Darwin's frogs. PLOS One 8(6): e66957.

Veloso, A. and Navarro, J. 1988. Lista Sistemática y distribución geográfica de anfibios y reptiles de Chile. Bollettino del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali - Torino 6(2): 481-539.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Rhinoderma rufum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T19514A79809567. . Downloaded on 23 September 2018.
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