Monday, June 8, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Seven New Microendemic Species of Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) from the Atlantic Rainforest, southern Brazil

Figure 2 Brachycephalus mariaeterezae in life. The intensity of the light of the flash during photography led the light-blue coloration along their vertebral column to become less apparent.
Figure 4 Brachycephalus olivaceus in life.
Figure 6 Brachycephalus auroguttatus in life.
Figure 8 Brachycephalus verrucosus in life.

Figure 10 Brachycephalus fuscolineatus in life.
Figure 12 Brachycephalus leopardus in life. 
Figure 15 Brachycephalus boticario in life.
Figure 13 Brachycephalus leopardus during amplexus.


Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) is a remarkable genus of miniaturized frogs of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. Many of its species are highly endemic to cloud forests, being found only on one or a few mountaintops. Such level of microendemism might be caused by their climatic tolerance to a narrow set of environmental conditions found only in montane regions. This restriction severely limits the chance of discovery of new species, given the difficulty of exploring these inaccessible habitats. Following extensive fieldwork in montane areas of the southern portion of the Atlantic Rainforest, in this study we describe seven new species of Brachycephalus from the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina, southern Brazil. These species can be distinguished from one another based on coloration and the level of rugosity of the skin in different parts of their body. These discoveries increase considerably the number of described species of Brachycephalus in southern Brazil.

Keywords: Atlantic rainforest, Saddle-back toads, Cloud forest, Terrarana, Taxonomy

Figure 16 Geographical distribution of Brachycephalus species of the pernix group.
Blue symbols represent occurrence records of previously described species, based on Pie et al. (2013), whereas black symbols indicate the new species described in the present study.
Previously described species: A, B. tridactylus; B, B. brunneus; C, B. pernix; D, B. ferruginus; E, B. pombali; F, B. izecksohni. Species described herein: G, B. leopardus; H, B. auroguttatus; I, B. olivaceus; J, Bmariaeterezae; K, B. verrucosus; L, B. boticario; M, B. fuscolineatus. The black triangle on the inset with the map of Brazil indicates the position of the area in the larger map.

Luiz F. Ribeiro, Marcos R. Bornschein, Ricardo Belmonte-Lopes, Carina R. Firkowski, Sergio A.A. Morato and Marcio R. Pie​. 2015. Seven New Microendemic Species of Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) from southern Brazil. PeerJ. 3:e1011 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1011

Seven tiny frog species found on seven mountains