Where is Calilegua’s Marsupial Frog?


The project is part of a conservation program focused in the long term preservation of the three species of marsupial frogs of Yungas Andean forest of Northwestern Argentina. Particularly, concern for the conservation status of Calilegua’s Marsupial Frog (Gastrotheca christiani) arises not only due to the sudden lack of registries in the wild since 1996, but also by evidences of a severe population decline. The Endangered Gastrotheca christianiis in the 250 “lost frogs” list of the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group. The project aim is to determine if the Calilegua’s Marsupial Frog is still extant, as keystone for any future conservation effort.Sadly its populations declined during the late 1980s as part of a wave of extinctions that affected many Andean species of frogs in the late 1980s–early 1990s. The causes for those declines are still contentious but an emerging infectious disease (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and climate change are believed to be most likely contributing factors.

One of the last specimens registered of Gastrotheca christiani in 1996 near Calilegua National Park, Jujuy province, Argentina. Photo © Marcos Vaira.

We will perform field search campaigns in the Calilegua National Park and near localities to obtain new registries (photographic/call recordings) of the missing Calilegua’s Marsupial Frog. These search efforts, employing visual and aural encounter surveys combined with playbacks at fixed point, will be complemented with the training in amphibian species recognition and monitoring techniques of the park rangers of Calilegua National Park. In the near future we look forward for more funding to incorporate passive monitoring techniques as automated recording devices (frogloggers), to increase the detection probability. Moreover, frogloggers could be very effective as a long term monitoring tool in case of rediscovering the Calilegua’s Marsupial Frog.

Rhinella gallardoi.  Photo ©  Mauricio S. Akmentins.

Rhinella rumbolli. Photo ©  Mauricio S. Akmentins.

Telmatobius oxycephalus.  Photo © Laura C. Pereyra.

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Gastrotheca gracilis.  Photo ©  Mauricio S. Akmentins.

Fast Facts


Project Description
Calilegua’s Marsupial Frog is strictly endemic of Yungas Andean forests of Northwestern Argentina. This endangered species is missing since 1996, and there are evidences of a severe population decline. It is imperative to determine if the Calilegua’s Marsupial Frog is still extant for any future conservation action. We plan combining intensive field search in collaboration with the park ranger staff of Calilegua National Park to obtain new registries of this missing Marsupial Frog species.


Target Species
Our conservation focus is in the three endemic species of marsupial frogs of Argentina

Calilegua’s Marsupial Frog – Gastrotheca christiani(Endangered – IUCN)

Baritú’s Marsupial Frog – Gastrotheca chrysosticta(Vulnerable – IUCN)

La Banderita Marsupial Frog – Gastrotheca gracilis(Vulnerable – IUCN)

Other endemisms and threatened species of Yungas Andean forests:

Rhinella gallardoi (Endangered – IUCN)

Rhinella rumbolli (Vulnerable – IUCN)

Telmatobius oxycephalus (Vulnerable – IUCN)


Gastrotheca gracilis metamorph. Photo © Laura C. Pereyra.

Team Members
Mauricio Sebastián Akmentins, Laura Cecilia Pereyra, Cecilia García, Yanina Bonduri, Noelia Gonzáles Baffa Trasci, José Urquizo, María Fernanda Quiroga & Marcos Vaira


Partner Organizations

Centro de Investigaciones y Transferencia de Jujuy (CIT-JUJUY), CONICET-UNJu

Conservation Leadership Programme

Grupo Yavi de Investigaciones Científicas

Administración de Parques Nacionales


Funding Needs
If you would like to further support this project or invest in the Amphibian Survival Alliance’s Seed Grant program please contact Candace M. Hansen-Hendrikx, Director of Communications & Partnerships.

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Your donation will make an immediate, real, and lasting impact. As a global alliance with partners generous enough to cover our operational costs, we are able to channel 100% of your donations directly to helping save these amphibians.

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