Ranitomeya benedicta


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Ranitomeya benedicta
Species Authority: Brown, Twomey, Pepper, & Sanchez Rodriguez, 2008
Common Name/s:
English Blessed Poison Frog
Taxonomic Notes: This species was formerly classified as Ranitomeya fantastica (Brown et al. 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-08-02
Assessor/s: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer/s: Pascual Cuadras, A. & Cox, N.A.
Contributor/s: Angulo, A., Roelke, C. & Brown , J.
Listed as Vulnerable because of its estimated extent of occurrence of 19,000 km², it is know from six threat-defined locations, and there is continuing decline in the area and quality of its habitat in northeastern Peru, as well as a decline in the number of mature individuals due to harvesting for the international pet trade.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is distributed throughout the lowland forests of Pampas del Sacramento, in San Martín and Loreto Regions, northeastern Peru (Brown et al. 2008). The Pampas del Sacramento are bound by the Cordillera Azul and Río Huallaga to the west, Río Ucayali to the east, and the flooded forests of Pacaya-Samiria to the north (J. L. Brown and E. Twomey pers. comm. July 2011). Its extent of occurrence, taking into account both known and projected sites, is estimated to be 19,000 km² (but note that the depicted range refers to known sites), and it is known to occur in six threat-defined locations (J. L. Brown pers. comm. July 2011). It can be found at elevations between 150–405 m asl (Brown et al. 2008).
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species appears to be widely distributed yet difficult to find in the lowland forests of the Pampas del Sacramento (Brown et al. 2008). It seems to have a patchy distribution, but in some areas it is locally abundant (Brown et al. 2008). At the time of this assessment it was not possible to determine whether the population is severely fragmented.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits only older secondary and primary lowland rainforests (J.L. Brown and E. Twomey pers. comm. July 2011). It is often found around fallen trees and tangled branches (J.L. Brown and E. Twomey pers. comm. July 2011), and anecdotal reports have suggested that this species may be highly arboreal: farmers and loggers report this species leaping from bromeliads when trees are felled (Brown et al. 2008). It is a diurnal, at least partially terrestrial species, where reproduction (clutches of 4–6 eggs) has been observed within the humid leaf litter. Tadpoles are then transported to bromeliads, where they complete development (Brown et al. 2008). It is not found in areas disturbed by human activity (Brown et al. 2008).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It occurs in areas that are actively being farmed and logged, primarily for subsistence farming, logging and agroindustry (J. L. Brown pers. comm. July 2011), which will reduce the amount of suitable habitat substantially over the coming years (Brown et al. 2008). While it appears that much of its habitat is undisturbed, it is estimated that between 5–15% of subpopulations are currently being impacted by human-induced deforestation, possibly leading to slow declines (J. L. Brown pers. comm. July 2011). In addition, it has recently (2007) been illegally exported for the international pet trade, with legally-acquired individuals recorded in 2009 (J. L. Brown and E. Twomey pers. comm. July 2011). The projection that there will be a high demand for this species in the pet trade (Brown et al. 2008) seems to be confirmed in the area surrounding Shucushuyacu, where smuggling pressure has increased considerably, to such an extent that no individuals have been seen in the wild in this area since the species was described (J. L. Brown pers. comm. July 2011). It is suspected that local inhabitants may be felling trees to collect these frogs for the black market, impacting not only this species but others that share the same environment (J. L. Brown pers. comm. July 2011).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is not known to occur in any protected areas, and given land use change and habitat loss, habitat protection is needed. More information is needed on this species' population status and level of trade, and legislation and enforcement of legislation are needed to address the issue of illegal trade. CITES does not recognize Ranitomeya benedicta and R. summersi as separate species, so they are treated as subpopulations of Dendrobates fantasticus in Appendix II of CITES.

Bibliography [top]

Brown, J.L., Twomey, E., Pepper, M. & Sanchez Rodriguez, M. 2008. Revision of the Ranitomeya fantastica species complex with description of two new species from Central Peru (Anura: Dendrobatidae). Zootaxa 1823: 1-24.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2011. Ranitomeya benedicta. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 16 April 2014.
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