Wednesday, January 5, 2022

[Herpetology • 2022] Noblella mindo • A New Species of the Genus Noblella (Amphibia: Strabomantidae) from Ecuador, with New Information for Noblella worleyae

 Noblella mindo 
 Reyes-Puig, Guayasamin, Koch, Brito-Zapata, Hollanders, Costales & Cisneros-Heredia, 2022

We describe a new species of terrestrial-breeding frog of the genus Noblella from the northwestern slopes of the Andes of Ecuador, in the province of Pichincha, Ecuador, and report a new locality for the recently described N. worleyae. We include a detailed description of the osteology of both species and discuss their phylogenetic relationships. The new species is differentiated from other species of Noblella by having discs of fingers rounded, without papillae; distal phalanges only slightly T-shaped; toes slightly expanded and rounded distally, without papillae; dorsum uniform brown with irregular suprainguinal dark brown marks; venter yellowish cream, ventral surfaces of legs and thighs reddish to brownish cream; and dark brown throat. The new locality for N. worleyae is located in Los Cedros Reserve, an area highly threatened by mining. We highlight the importance of protecting endemic species of small vertebrates in northwestern Ecuador.

Keywords: Frog, Los Cedros Biological Reserve, endemism, Imbabura, Mindo, Pichincha, phylogeny

Color patterns of Noblella mindo sp. nov. in life.
 (A, C) Dorso-lateral and ventral patterns of holotype, ZSFQ 050, adult female, SVL = 18.3 mm.
(B, D) Dorsolateral and ventral patterns of paratype, ZSFQ 051, adult male, SVL = 16.9 mm.
Photos by Matthijs Hollanders.

  Noblella mindo new species 

Etymology: The specific name “mindo” is a word of unknown meaning in Panzaleo, an extinct pre-Columbian language of northern Ecuador (Jijón y Caamaño 1940). It is used as a noun in apposition, and alludes to the valley of Mindo, where the type locality of the new species is located. The remnant forests of this emblematic valley protect several species of endemic amphibians and reptiles such as Pristimantis mindo, Noblella mindo, and Anolis proboscis.

Diagnosis: Noblella mindo sp. nov.(Figs. 3–8) presents the following characteristics: (1) skin of dorsum finely sha-green, skin on venter smooth, discoidal fold slightly defined, discoidal and thoracic folds absent; (2) tympanic annulus and membrane visible externally, supratympanic fold inconspicuous (Figs. 3, 4); (3) snout short (eye-to-nostril distance 57% of eye diameter), rounded in dorsal and lateral views (Fig. 3); (4) eyelids without tubercles; (5) dentigerous processes of vomers absent; (6) vocal slits and sac present, nuptial pads not visible; (7) fingers not expanded distally, finger tips rounded, without papillae (Fig. 3); Finger I shorter than Finger II (Fig. 3); (8) distal phalanges slightly T-shaped, phalangeal formula of hands: 2-2-3-3 (Fig. 7); (9) supernumerary pal-mar tubercles present (slightly visible) mostly at the base of the digits, ....

Distribution and Natural History: Noblella mindo sp. nov. is only known from El Cinto (0.09022°S, 78.81858°W; 1,673 m), Mindo, province of Pichincha, Ecuador (Fig. 2). Noblella mindo sp. nov. inhabits secondary cloud forests, with the presence of palmito (Bactris gasipaes) plantations and trees that have emerged after the massive logging of forests in the area. These forests have a high humidity index, dense leaf litter layer, and abundant epiphytes. It has a restricted distribution; sampling activities were carried out in a range up to 3km around the type locality, and no individuals nor calls of N. mindo sp. nov. were recorded. The gecko Lepidoblepharis conolepis was found in sympatry. The locality is surrounded by livestock areas and within the type locality forest, there are trails used by farmers to move their livestock. The population of Noblella mindo sp. nov. could be impacted if livestock activity or deforestion expands. Three individuals (ZSFQ 049–051) were found active during the day between 10:00 and 11:00 am; all frogs were on the ground in a 2-meter depth hole.


Carolina Reyes-Puig, Juan M. Guayasamin, Claudia Koch, David Brito-Zapata, Matthijs Hollanders, Melissa Costales and Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia. 2022. A New Species of the Genus Noblella (Amphibia: Strabomantidae) from Ecuador, with New Information for Noblella worleyae.  Acta Herpetologica. 16(2); 63-87. DOI: 10.36253/a_h-10742