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Zaher H.,University of Sao Paulo | Arredondo J.C.,University of Sao Paulo | Valencia J.H.,Fundacion Herpetologica Gustavo Orces | Arbelaez E.,Bioparque Amaru y Zoologico de Cuenca | And 2 more authors.
Zootaxa | Year: 2014

We describe a new species of Philodryas from the highlands of southern Ecuador. The new species is distinguished from all known species of Philodryas by a unique combination of coloration, scalation, and hemipenial characters. The new species resembles Philodryas simonsii in color pattern. However, they differ notoriously by their hemipenial morphology. The three other trans-Andean members of the genus (Philodryas simonsii, Philodryas chamissonis, and Philodryas tachy-menoides), along with the new species, compose a probably monophyletic group that may be characterized by the presence of ungrooved postdiastemal teeth in the maxilla. Unlike most species of the genus Philodryas, the new species shows a restricted distribution, being apparently endemic to a small region of high-altitude (3150-4450m) grasslands in the south-ern Andes of Ecuador. Copyright © 2014 Magnolia Press.

Mauricio Ortega-Andrade H.,Institute Ecologia | Mauricio Ortega-Andrade H.,Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia | Valencia J.H.,Fundacion Herpetologica Gustavo Orces
Herpetology Notes | Year: 2010

The Upper Amazon Basin is located closer to Andes along the Equator, at eastern lowlands of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, which receives one of the highest levels of rainfall within all lowland Amazonia (Vigle 2008). These environmental conditions seem to favor the presence of the highest known species richness and complex herpetological communities (Dixon and Soini 1975; Duellman 1978; Duellman and Mendelson 1995; Lynch et al. 1997; Duellman 1999; Lynch 2005; Vigle 2008). For long time Amazonia was considered as one of the best studied regions in South America (Lynch 2005). Anyway, despite intense effort our knowledge of the Amazonian herpetofauna is far from beeing complete (Duellman and Mendelson 1995). Central Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador are not an exception and many areas remain unexplored and several species unreported or undescribed (Cisneros-Heredia and Meza-Ramos 2007; McCracken et al. 2007; Elmer and Cannatella 2008; Vigle 2008; Cisneros-Heredia et al. 2009; Ortega-Andrade 2009). Herpetological studies by Ecuadorian institutions through past fifteen years in the Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador resulted in the collection of novel species for the country, which we are glad to report herein.

Ortega-Andrade H.M.,Institute Ecologia | Ortega-Andrade H.M.,Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia | Valencia J.H.,Fundacion Herpetologica Gustavo Orces
Herpetologica | Year: 2012

We describe a new species of Pristimantis from evergreen lowland forest in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador. We observed all specimens to be active at night, located over leaves of shrubs in both primary forest and in the edge of forest clearings. The new species is tentatively assigned to Pristimantis (Pristimantis) frater group based on its small size (17.0-22.1 mm in snoutvent length of four males and 24.1 mm in a single female), relatively narrow head, short and subacuminate snout, lack of canthal stripes and labial bars, moderately long limbs, Finger I shorter than Finger II, and Toe V longer than Toe III. The new species differs from other congeneric species in Amazonia by possessing dense black reticulations on upper and lower borders of the iris, a dorsum that is orange or dark reddish brown without distinct pattern in life, a tympanic membrane not differentiated but ventral part of the tympanic annulus visible, and a small tubercle on each heel and eyelid. © 2012 by The Herpetologists' League, Inc.

Ortega-Andrade H.M.,Institute Ecologia AC | Ortega-Andrade H.M.,Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia | Rojas-Soto O.R.,Institute Ecologia AC | Valencia J.H.,Fundacion Herpetologica Gustavo Orces | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Pluralistic approaches to taxonomy facilitate a more complete appraisal of biodiversity, especially the diversification of cryptic species. Although species delimitation has traditionally been based primarily on morphological differences, the integration of new methods allows diverse lines of evidence to solve the problem. Robber frogs (Pristimantis) are exemplary, as many of the species show high morphological variation within populations, but few traits that are diagnostic of species. We used a combination of DNA sequences from three mitochondrial genes, morphometric data, and comparisons of ecological niche models (ENMs) to infer a phylogenetic hypothesis for the Pristimantis acuminatus complex. Molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed a close relationship between three new species - Pristimantis enigmaticus sp. nov., P. limoncochensis sp. nov. and P. omeviridis sp. nov. - originally confused with Pristimantis acuminatus. In combination with morphometric data and geographic distributions, several morphological characters such as degree of tympanum exposure, skin texture, ulnar/tarsal tubercles and sexual secondary characters (vocal slits and nuptial pads in males) were found to be useful for diagnosing species in the complex. Multivariate discriminant analyses provided a successful classification rate for 83-100% of specimens. Discriminant analysis of localities in environmental niche space showed a successful classification rate of 75-98%. Identity tests of ENMs rejected hypotheses of niche equivalency, although not strongly because the high values on niche overlap. Pristimantis acuminatus and P. enigmaticus sp. nov. are distributed along the lowlands of central-southern Ecuador and northern Peru, in contrast with P. limoncochensis sp. nov. and P. omeviridis sp. nov., which are found in northern Ecuador and southern Colombia, up to 1200 m in the upper Amazon Basin. The methods used herein provide an integrated framework for inventorying the greatly underestimated biodiversity in Amazonia. © 2015 Ortega-Andrade et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Schargel W.E.,University of Texas at Arlington | Lamar W.W.,University of Texas at Tyler | Passos P.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | Valencia J.H.,Fundacion Herpetologica Gustavo Orces | And 3 more authors.
Zootaxa | Year: 2013

We describe a new species of Atractus from Cordillera de los Guacamayos in the Andes of Ecuador. This new species is the largest known species of Atractus, reaching almost 120 cm in total length with a robust habitus. We also use multivariate statistical analyses of morphometric data to look into the taxonomic confusion involving other large, banded/blotched, species of Atractus in Western Amazonia. We show that A. snethlageae has a widespread distribution in Amazonia and has been repeatedly confused with A. major in Ecuador owing to its color polymorphism. Our multivariate statistical analyses support previous suggestions to recognize A. snethlageae as a distinct species relative to A. flammigerus. Taxonomic accounts are provided for both A. major and A. snethlageae including detailed color pattern descriptions. We also find that there are no valid morphological differences to support recognizing A. arangoi as a separate species from A. major; consequently we synonymize the former name with the latter. Copyright © 2013 Magnolia Press.

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