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Bryophryne cophites

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AMPHIBIA ANURA CRAUGASTORIDAE

Scientific Name: Bryophryne cophites
Species Authority: (Lynch, 1975)
Synonym(s):
Phrynopus cophites Lynch, 1975

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-02-25
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group,
Reviewer(s): Angulo, A. & Richards, S.
Contributor(s): Catenazzi, A., Lehr, E., Icochea M., J. & Arizabal, W.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bowles, P.
Justification:
This species is listed as Endangered on the basis that its extent of occurrence, while currently unquantifiable, is certainly less than 5,000 km², all known individuals are in fewer than five locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in the Peruvian Andes. This assessment needs to be qualified on the basis that the species' distribution is extremely poorly-known and the recognized threats are highly localized around the known localities. If this species is found to occur more widely within protected puna grasslands, it will therefore warrant listing in a less threatened category.
History:
2004 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known only from the north and south slopes of Abra Acjanacu, 14–27 km NNE Paucartambo, Cordillera de Paucartambo (Region of Cusco), Manu National Park, Peru (Frost 2011, Lehr 2006). The species is continuously distributed between approximately 3,200 m and 3,800 m asl. (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. Feb 2011). The frog is known from at least three locations, although the exact number is presently impossible to quantify (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. Feb 2011). A frog resembling this species was recorded in a mountain range parallel to the Cordillera de Paucartambo in 2009, indicating that this may be a more widespread species than is presently recognized (although this record needs to be verified and it was not used to estimate number of locations). No surveys have been conducted in other grasslands in Manu National Park, which lie over 20 km from the type locality, to establish whether the frog is present in these as well (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. Feb 2011). Although its extent of occurrence is uncertain, related species have very restricted distributions, and this frog's range is unlikely to exceed a straight line distance of 40–50 km² along the cordillera ridge (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. Feb 2011).
Countries:
Native:
Peru
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species can be very common where it occurs; exceptionally, 20 individuals were recorded from one 10 x 10 m plot in 1997 (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2011). The frog appears to be highly localized, being rare or absent in other surveys (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2011); for instance, being recorded only once from 10 litter plots sampled between 1974 and 1975 (Pefaur and Duellman 1980). This patchiness in the species' distribution makes it difficult to identify population trends. Repeated leaf litter surveys in Manu National Park recorded 60–70% fewer individuals overall in 2008 and 2009 than in 1997–1999 (Catenazzi et al. 2011); however, this includes the data from the plot with 20 individuals, which appears to have been an outlier and which was destroyed by fire in 2006 (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. March 2011). This apparent decline may therefore be an artefact or the short-term consequence of a single stochastic event. In individual plots where this species was recorded, densities remained as high in 2008-2009 as in previous surveys (e.g., 8–10 individuals per 10 x 10 m plot in 2007 - A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2011) and the overall population trend is unknown.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a terrestrial species of wet puna grasslands and elfin forest, and is not present in degraded areas. While it has been recorded from cloud forest within Manu, it is very rare in this habitat (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. Feb 2011). Breeding takes place by direct development.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Grasslands along the western boundary of Manu National Park are being destroyed by the activities of smallholder farmers (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2011), and this may represent the major threat to this species. Cattle grazing may also destroy the bunchgrasses where this frog occurs (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2011). Fires set outside the reserve have also impacted the frog's habitat, and have destroyed at least one survey plot where the species was formerly abundant (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2011). These threats are however restricted to areas bordering the main road, and their impacts on the population are unclear even there (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2011). There is anecdotal evidence that the frequency of fires at one survey site is decreasing due to improved enforcement by park rangers, although this cannot be quantified (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. Feb 2011). This species is susceptible to infection by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which is suspected to have caused severe declines and disappearances in several stream-breeding frogs in the same area of Manu National Park (Catenazzi et al. 2011). It is unknown whether this disease represents a threat to this direct-developing frog, although it is thought unlikely (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2011).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in Manu National Park, and extensive suitable habitat exists in roadless areas of Manu and the adjoining Megantoni reserve to both the north and the south of known localities (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. Feb 2011). Amphibian surveys have been confined to accessible areas of Manu with road access; as these are also the areas threatened by human activities, the threats to this species may appear more severe than they are. Further research is therefore needed to establish whether this species occurs more widely than is currently known, and studies are needed to obtain information on its population status and susceptibility to threatening processes, including chytrid fungus.

Bibliography [top]

Catenazzi, A., Lehr, E., Rodriguez, L.O. and Vredenburg, V.T. 2011. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and the collapse of anuran species richness and abundance in the Upper Manu National Park, southeastern Peru. Conservation Biology 25(2): 382-391.

Frost, D.R. 2011. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.5 (31 January, 2011). Electronic Database accessible at: http://research.amnh.org/vz/herpetology/amphibia/. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 17 October 2012).

Lehr, E. 2006. Taxonomic status of some species of Peruvian Phrynopus (Anura: Leptodactylidae), with the description of a new species of the Andes of southern Peru. Herpetologica 62: 331-347.

Lynch, J.D. 1975. A review of the Andean Leptodactylid frog genus Phrynopus. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History of the University of Kansas: 1-51.

Pefaur, J.E. and Duellman, W.E. 1980. Community structure in high Andean herpetofaunas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 83(2): 45-65.

Rodríguez, L.O., Cordova, J.H. and Icochea, J. 1993. Lista preliminar de los anfibios del Peru.: 1-22.


Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2012. Bryophryne cophites. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 October 2014.
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