Telmatobius jelskii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Telmatobiidae

Scientific Name: Telmatobius jelskii (Peters, 1873)
Common Name(s):
English Acancocha Water Frog
Pseudobatrachus jelskii Peters, 1873
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-04-21
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Neam, K.
Contributor(s): Catenazzi, A., Angulo, A., Aguilar Puntriano, A., Lehr, E., Icochea M., J., Padial, J. & Sinsch, U.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Luedtke, J., Neam, K.
Listed as Near Threatened because although this species is fairly widespread—with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 85,298 km2—it occurs in seven threat-defined locations, there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat caused by water extraction for the purpose of irrigation, pollution from agrochemicals and domestic waste, and continuing decline in the number of mature individuals caused by chytridiomycosis and harvesting for human consumption, thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known from much of the central Andes in Peru (from the Regions of Ayacucho, Apurimac, Huancavelica, Junín and Cusco). Its elevational range is 2,700–4,500 m asl. It is known from seven locations and its extent of occurrence (EOO) is approximately 85,298 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Number of Locations:7
Lower elevation limit (metres):2585
Upper elevation limit (metres):4500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is suspected to be decreasing due to ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat, and there is continuing decline in mature individuals caused by harvesting for human consumption and chytridiomycosis. In Ayacucho, this species was seemingly abundant at 2,500 m asl and higher elevations in the 1950s [Vellard (1951) reported over 200 specimens from 2,760 m asl], but now it is not possible to find it in other streams at comparable elevations (Catenazzi et al. 2013a,b). However, it is still relatively common above 3,800 m asl (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. December 2010). Between 2006 and 2008, tadpoles, adults and juveniles were found to be common in streams and wetlands around 4,000 m asl in Apurimac. Adults were not found in lower areas (ca 3,500 m asl, where human settlements were found), although it was still possible to find tadpoles at these elevations (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010). Two subpopulations have been reported in streams along the PERU LNG natural gas pipeline in the Regions of Ayacucho and and Huancavelica, one of which is the only subpopulation found on the western side of the Andes (Walsh Peru 2005, Catenazzi et al. 2013). During 2010 surveys, in the Regions of Ayacucho and Huancavelica, 70 adults, six juveniles and 550 tadpoles were captured, with the highest density occurring in the Huamanga-Vischongo Watershed Divide (ca 7.25 adults/100 m) and Apacheta (ca 56.5 tadpoles/100 m) (Catenazzi et al. 2013). Since the initial surveys in 2010, there have been no major changes in population abundances along the pipeline. No individuals were found in the Shullcas, Chanchas and Cunas rivers in the Huancayo province, department of Junín, during September–December 2013 surveys (Guerra 2015).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is a semi-aquatic riparian frog known to inhabit rocky-bottomed streams and soft-bottomed springs among shrublands and grasslands. It has been found in ditches on arable land. Reproduction, egg-laying and tadpole development takes place in springs, streams, and rivers with shallow, slow-moving waters (Sinsch 1986, 1990; Sinsch et al. 1995). Gravid females and breeding males, as well as eggs and tadpoles in all developmental stages (up to four different tadpole cohorts in each season), have been observed throughout the year, suggesting reproduction is continuous (Sinsch 1990).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is locally affected by harvesting for both food and traditional medicine; frogs are consumed as a source of protein. The hunting of this species occurs mainly in rivers or streams near human settlements (Aguilar et al. 2010). During a 2009–2013 study, 56 individuals were purchased from a market in Lima (Chero et al. 2014). It is directly consumed by local villagers in the department of Apurimac.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened by ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat due to water extraction for the purpose of irrigation, pollution from agrochemicals and domestic waste, and population declines caused by chytridiomycosis and harvesting for human consumption. Chytrid fungus has been reported for this species at a prevalence of  >50% in some populations (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. December 2010, Catenazzi et al. 2013a,b). Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was detected in five Ecological Landscape Units (ELUs) throughout the Regions of Ayacucho and Huancavelica and over a wide elevational range (3,230–4,506 m asl; Catenazzi et al. 2013a).

In Apurimac, Cotabambas province, there was a mine in exploration phase in 2006–2008; one of the mines has had its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approved by the government so it will be operational (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010). In the higher sections of streams, there were no trout, but they were present in the lower reaches, coinciding with human settlements (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010).

In Ayacucho, the heavy use of agrochemicals has been observed and habitat has been altered by the construction and operation of the PERU LNG pipeline (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. April 2017, Catenazzi et al. 2013a). The impact of the pipeline on the reproduction and population abundance of this species remains unknown. Tadpoles are especially vulnerable to modifications in their lotic environments (Catenazzi et al. 2013), as they spend several months in water before completing growth and metamorphosis (> 3 months; Sinsch 1986, 1990).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
This species occurs in the National Reserve of Pampa Galeras. It might be present in the Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve, although this requires confirmation. It is listed as Vulnerable (VU) in Peru and has legal protection provided by the Categorization in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (Decreto Supremo Nº004-2014-MINAGRI), which bans all hunting, capture, possession, transport or export of the species for commercial purposes.

Conservation Needed
There is a need to regulate its harvesting and to reduce the local water pollution. Continuous monitoring for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infections, as well as the establishment of a management plan to mitigate the transmission and impact of chytridiomycosis is recommended.

Research Needed 
Given that chytrid has been found in this species, populations should be monitored closely to determine the infection dynamic and, if possible, ameliorate disease outbreaks and potential population crashes. Further studies should monitor trends in harvest levels. In addition, there is a need to investigate the presence of this species at lower elevations, and assess the impact of different threats on its population levels.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.7. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.7. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
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
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.9. Artificial/Aquatic - Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.2. Invasive/problematic species control
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

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

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.3. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.4. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Aguilar, C., Gamarra, R., Ramirez, C., Suarez, J., Torres, C. and Siu-Ting, K. 2012. Anfibios andinos y estudios de impacto ambiental en concesiones mineras de Perú. Alytes 29(1-4): 88-102.

Aguilar, C., Ramirez, C., Rivera, D., Siu-Ting, K., Suarez, J. and Torres, C. 2010. Anfibios andinos del Perú fuera de Áreas Nationales Protegidas: amenazas y estado de conservación. Revista Peruana de Biología 17(1): 005-028.

Catenazzi, A., von May, R. and Vredenburg, V.T. 2013a. Conservation of the high Andean frog Telmatobius jelskii along the PERU LNG pipeline in the Regions of Ayacucho and Huancavelica, Peru. In: A. Alonso, F. Dallmeier, and G.P. Servat (eds), Monitoring biodiversity: Lessons from a Trans-Andean Megaproject, Smithsonian Scholarly Press, Washington, D.C.

Catenazzi, A., von May, R. and Vredenburg, V.T. 2013b. High prevalence of infection in tadpoles increases vulnerability to fungal pathogen in high-Andean amphibians. Biological Conservation 159: 413-421.

Chero, J., Cruces, C., Iannacone, J., Sáez, G., Alvariño, L., Guabloche, A., Romero, S., Tuesta, E., Morales, V. and da Silva, R.J., 2014. Gastrointestinal parasites in three species of Telmatobius (Anura: Telmatobiidae) of an area of high Andes, Peru. Neotropical Helminthology 8(2): 439-461.

Deichmann, J., Sahley, C., Vargas, V., Chipana,O., Smith, E., Velazco, W. and Catenazzi, A. 2013. Monitoring an endemic amphibian along a natural gas pipeline in the Peruvian Andes. FrogLog 21(2): 65-68.

Guerra, V.C. 2015. Recuento de dos poblaciones de especies de anfibios Rhinella spinulosa y Telmatobius jelskii, en el Valle del Mantaro. Apuntes de Ciencia & Sociedad 5(1): 157-161.

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. Available at: (Accessed: 5 December 2017).

Lehr, E. 2005. The Telmatobius and Batrachophrynus species of Peru. Monografias de Herpetologia, special issue "Estudios sobre las ranas andinas de los generos Telmatobius y Batrachophrynus (Anura: Leptodactylidae) 7: 39-64.

Rodríguez, L.O., Cordova, J.H. and Icochea, J. 1993. Lista preliminar de los anfibios del Peru. Publicaciones del Museo de Historia Natural U.N.M.S.M. 45: 1-22.

Sinsch, U. 1986. Anfibios de la sierra central del Peru. Boletin de Lima 45: 23-33.

Sinsch, U. 1990. Froschlurche (Anura) der zentral-peruanischen Anden: Artdiagnose, Taxonomie, Habitate, Verhaltensokologie. Salamandra 26: 177-214.

Sinsch, U., Salas, A.W. and Canales, V. 1995. Reassessment of central Peruvian Telmatobiinae (genera Batrachophrynus and Telmatobius). I. Morphometry and Classification. Alytes 13(1): 14-44.

Vargas García, V.J. 2013. ANFIBIOS de la Sierra de Ayacucho y Apurímac, Perú. The Field Museum, Chicago, IL Available at:

Vellard, J. 1951. Estudios sobre batracios andinos. I. El grupo Telmatobius y formas afines. Memorias del Museo de Historia Natural "Javier Prado" 1: 1-89.

Walsh Peru. 2005. Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Natural Gas Pipeline Transportation Project from Ayacucho to the Liquefaction Plant for Peru LNG. Walsh Peru, Lima, Peru.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2017. Telmatobius jelskii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T57346A3058839. . Downloaded on 20 August 2018.
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