Monday, February 26, 2024

[Herpetology • 2024] Atelopus calima • A New Species of Harlequin Toad (Anura: Bufonidae: Atelopus) from the Western Cordillera of Colombia, with comments on other forms

 Atelopus calima 
 Velásquez-Trujillo, Castro-Herrera, Lötters & Plewnia, 2024

The harlequin toads (Bufonidae, Atelopus) from the Cordillera Occidental of Colombia are poorly understood, with several species being known only from few specimens and a single locality. Material from the Yotoco area, Departamento Valle del Cauca, has been addressed in previous studies and was allocated ambiguously to different available names. We here describe the Yotoco Atelopus as a species new to science as it is readily distinguished from all congenerics by a combination of morphological characters (i.e., snout profile, cranial crests, skin texture, pattern and coloration). In addition, we comment on the taxonomy of three Atelopus populations from the Cordillera Occidental and the Cordillera Central of Colombia; two of them we tentatively assign to A. nicefori and A. sonsonensis, respectively. The third one remains of unclear status. The need for further examination of the harlequin toads from the Andes of Colombia in an integrative taxonomic framework is emphasized. 

Key words. Amphibia, Anura, Atelopus calima sp. n., conservation, morphology, taxonomy

 Amplectant couple of Atelopus calima sp. n. in life (individuals not collected), photographed in March 1988 at Reserva Nacional Forestal Bosque de Yotoco.
Photograph: F. Castro-Herrera.

Atelopus calima sp. n.

Diagnosis: Atelopus calima (Figs 2–4) can be readily distinguished from all other described species by the combination of medium body size, projected snout with a knob-like protuberance on the tip and dorsal as well as lateral skin smooth with few scattered large and flat warts which are covered with clustered spiculae on the flanks and whitish brown to cream flanks with dark brown warts in preservative. It is most similar to the central Cordillera endemics A. nocturnus and A. sonsonensis. Further, A. calima resembles the western Cordillera endemics A. carauta, A. chocoensis, A. famelicus (including its junior synonym A. negreti), A. galactogaster, A.  longirostris (including its junior synonyms A.  boussingaulti and A. longirostris marmorata), A. lynchi sensu stricto, A. nicefori and A. pictiventris, and the central Cordillera endemics A. quimbaya, A. sanjosei and A. sernai.

Etymology: The specific name calima is a noun in apposition in dedication to the Calima culture (ca. 1600 BC to 1700 AD), which during their early Ilama and Yotoco phases exclusively inhabited the upper Río Calima region and its vicinities in the Cordillera Occidental where the new species is found. The Calima people honoured anurans, which they also depicted in the form of jewellery. We propose to use the English common name ‘Calima Harlequin Toad’ and the Spanish common name ‘Rana Arlequín de Calima’ for this new species.

David Andrés Velásquez-Trujillo, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Stefan Lötters and Amadeus Plewnia. 2024. A New Species of Harlequin Toad from the Western Cordillera of Colombia (Bufonidae: Atelopus), with comments on other forms. SALAMANDRA. 60(1): 67–81   
Resumen. Los sapos arlequín (Bufonidae, Atelopus) de la Cordillera Occidental de Colombia son poco conocidos, con varias especies conocidas sólo a partir de unos pocos especímenes y una sola localidad. El material del área de Yotoco, Departamento del Valle del Cauca, ha sido abordado en estudios previos y fue asignado de manera ambigua a diferentes nombres disponibles. Aquí describimos al Atelopus de Yotoco como una especie nueva para la ciencia, ya que se distingue fácilmente de todos los congenéricos por una combinación de características (i.e., perfil del hocico, crestas craneales, textura de la piel, patrón y coloración). Adicionalmente, comentamos la taxonomía des tres poblaciones de Atelopus de la Cordillera Occidental y Central de Colombia. Asignamos tentativamente dos de ellos a A. nicefori y A. sonsonensis, respectivamente. El tercero sigue sin estar claro. Se enfatiza la necesidad de realizar un examen más profundo de los sapos arlequín de los Andes de Colombia en un marco taxonómico integrador. 
Palabras clave. Amphibia, Anura, Atelopus calima sp. n., conservación, morfología, taxonomía.