|Aparasphenodon pomba |
Assis, Santana, Silva, Quintela & Feio, 2013
A new species of casque-headed tree frog of the genus Aparasphenodon is described from the municipality of Cataguases (21º20’S, 42º45’W; 288 m a.s.l.) in the Atlantic Rain Forest of Minas Gerais State, southeastern Brazil. Aparasphenodon pomba sp. nov. is characterized by medium size (males, snout-vent length, SVL 51.6–60.5 mm; females, SVL 58.7–62.1 mm); snout almost round in dorsal view; dorsum and limbs with cream-colored reticulation on dark-brown background; spots on ventral surface cream-colored; lips white; cream-colored dorsolateral stripe originating on the snout, crossing the upper eyelid and extending posteriorly to the axilla level; and red iris.
Keywords: Amphibia, Aparasphenodon pomba sp. nov., Southeastern Brazil, Atlantic Rain Forest, taxonomy
Geographic distribution. Known only from the type locality, in the Municipality of Cataguases, State of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil (Fig. 5).
Natural history. The holotype was collected during the day inside a bamboo culm (Bambusa vulgaris) that had a small slit. All paratypes were found active during the night, during or after rains, occupying the same bamboo grove, at heights from 0.8 to 5.0 m. Bambusa vulgaris is native to Asia (Lima Neto 2010); the bamboo grove where the type series was collected has been in the area for about 70 years and its origin is unknown. Aparasphenodon pomba closes its eyes and contracts its body when manipulated (Fig. 4B). The new species occurs in sympatry with other three hylid species, Hypsiboas faber, Scinax eurydice, and Scinax sp. (gr. catharinae). We did not find A. pomba males in calling activity.
Habitat. Aparasphenodon pomba was found in a locality named Sítio Boa Sorte (21º20’20”S, 42º45’43”W; 288 m a.s.l.), which comprises an area of 135.52 hectares located on the border of the municipalities of Cataguases and Dona Euzébia, in the “Zona da Mata of Minas Gerais. This area is within an Atlantic Rain Forest fragment characterized as Submontane Seasonal Semideciduous Forest (Veloso et al. 1991). This region is currently highly fragmented, with mainly pastureland between forest remnants.
Remarks. The environment of the only known locality of Aparasphenodon pomba covers only a small area, and its known range is less than 10 km2 (actually only 1.36 km2 ). There are no protected areas close to the A. pomba type locality (Sítio Boa Sorte), a forest fragment that is highly impacted by human activities because of its proximity to the urban area of the municipality of Cataguases. The Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil is the most intensively studied region in the country, and since the 1990s areas close to the type locality of this new species have been repeatedly surveyed for amphibians. Apparently, A. pomba is at critical risk of becoming extinct within a very short period of time, as its presumed range is not included in any conservation unit and is entirely within privately owned land.
However, the finding of the new species only in a specific climatic conditions and associated with a bamboo grove environment also suggests subsampling in previous studies conducted in the Atlantic Forest in southeastern Brazil. Based on the criteria and categories of the IUCN Red List (Version 3.1, 2007), these data justify the assignment of A. pomba both the Critically Endangered category (CR) as in the Data Deficient category (DD).
Etymology. The specific name of the new species, a noun in apposition, refers to its discovery in an Atlantic Rain Forest fragment near the Pomba River, Cataguases, Minas Gerais.
Assis, Clodoaldo L. DE, Diego J. Santana, Fabiano A. D. Silva, Fernando M. Quintela and Renato N. Feio. 2013. A New and Possibly Critically Endangered Species of Casque-headed Tree Frog Aparasphenodon Miranda-Ribeiro, 1920 (Anura, Hylidae) from southeastern Brazil. Zootaxa. 3716(4); 583-591. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3716.4.6
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