Figure 1. Andean frog Puquio Telmatobius intermedius near the town of Puquio, Ayacucho, rediscovered in December 2014. The record of this species led to the research proposal of the populations of this species within the Pampa Galeras National Reserve. Photo: Victor Vargas G.

Conservation Status of Telmatobius intermedius and Other Amphibians in the Pampa Galeras National Reserve – Barbara D’Achille, Ayacucho, Peru

Peru

The species of the family Telmatobiidae are endemic from South American Andes, they are distributed from central Chile to northern Ecuador, through Bolivia and Peru, above 2600 m.a.s.l. these frogs inhabit wetlands ecosystem of páramos and Andean subparamos and also dry and wet puna. 61 species are recognized In South America and 25 of these are distributed in Peru.

The species Telmatobius intermedius (Figure 1) is a semi-aquatic frog, it’s found under stones, in streams, and puquiales, in the pools formed in these environments. It was described by Dr. J. Vellard in 1951, since that date there is no trace about the species. The only known record is from the type locality in Allipaca town at 3300 m.a.s.l., near to Puquio, in the department of Ayacucho, in the Andes of southern Peru (Vellard 1951),.

In December 2014, researchers from “Asociación Pro Fauna Silvestre” visited the town of Puquio and found individuals of Telmatobius sold in the local market for human consumption as “frog extract” (Figure 2). With an examination of their morphological characteristics we deduce that it was Telmatobius intermedius. After consulting the source of these frogs, we decided to go to this town to look for more individuals of these frogs and confirm the species identity. In an evaluation of a transect of 100 meter installed in a creek near to Puquio we found a small population of Telmatobius and counted three adult frogs, including two mal, one female and many tadpoles in different stages of development. This creek is severely contaminated and presents a very low flow; nevertheless, this frog can survive in this dirty environment polluted by plastic and grazing livestock excrements (Figure 3).

Figure 2. Local market town of Puquio where frogs sold for human consumption as “frog extract”. December 2014. Photo: Pablo Najarro

Currently, T. intermedius is considered like a Data Deficient species (DD) by Peruvian legislation (Supreme Decree Nº 004-2014-MINAGRI) and also by the IUCN. The knowledge of their real distribution, status of their populations and information about their ecology is uncertain. T. intermedius is endemic to the Andes of Peru; one of the greatest threats that could suffer the species is the presence of chytrid fungus. However, it is not known if the fungus could affect them.

Puquio is located at 28 km NE from the National Reserve of Pampa Galeras – Barbara D’Achille, this protected area was created on May 18, 1967 and safeguards an area of 6500.00 hectares, with prevailing high Andean grasslands ecosystems that home a population of T.intermedius and other species of amphibians Telmatobius jelskii (NT), Gastrotheca marsupiata (LC), Pleurodema marmoratum (LC) and Rhinella spinulosa (LC)

The aim of this study is to evaluate the current condition of Telmatobius intermedius and other amphibians in Pampa Galeras National Reserve; and also in the type locality Allipaca – Ayacucho, where we want to assess the population status, identify the main threats to the species and determine the prevalence and intensity of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

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Figure 3. Andean frog Puquio Telmatobius intermedius habitat. December 2014. Photo: Victor Vargas.

Fast Facts

Location

Peru

Project Description
Our main objective is to determine the protection status of Telmatobius intermedius and other amphibians of RNPG. Evaluate the status of Andean frog Puquio population, identifying the major threats and determine the prevalence and intensity of the fungus B. dendrobatidis.

Target Species
Telmatobius intermedius, Data Deficient
Telmatobius jelskii, Near Threatened
Gastrotheca marsupial, Least concern
Pleurodema marmoratum, Least concern
Rhinella spinulosa, Least concern

Team Members
Víctor J. Vargas García
Alessandro Catenazzi
Oscar A. Chipana Marca
Amanda Delgado Cornejo
Vladimir Díaz Vargas
Allan Reinhard Flores Ramos

Partner Organizations
Asociación Pro Fauna Silvestre, Ayacucho
Department of Zoology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. EEUU
Museo de Historia Natural de la Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco
Reserva Nacional Pampa Galeras – Bárbara d’Achille

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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