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(Figs 5, 7, 8, 10) MUSM 31106, an adult, gravid female, from Quebrada Yanachaga (10°22.772'S, 75°27.717'W), 3000 m elevation, Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park (Sector San Daniel), Distrito de Huancabamba, Provincia de Oxapampa, Departamento de Pasco, Peru, collected on 20 January 2012 by Edgar Lehr, Jiri Moravec, and Juan Carlos Cusi.
(Fig. 10C) FMNH 282820-22, three hatchlings, collected as eggs with the holotype.
A species of Phrynopus having the following combination of characters: (1) Skin on dorsum shagreen with small scattered tubercles, prominent ridges, and two prominent middorsal Y-shaped ridges, flanks shagreen with small scattered tubercles, skin on venter weakly areolate; discoidal fold absent, weak thoracic fold present; ridges forming discontinuous dorsolateral fold; (2) tympanic membrane and tympanic annulus absent; (3) snout rounded in dorsal and lateral views; (4) upper eyelid with three enlarged tubercles; width of upper eyelid narrower than IOD; cranial crests absent; (5) dentigerous processes of vomers absent; (6) condition of vocal slits and nuptial pads unknown (no males found); (7) Finger I shorter than Finger II; tips of digits rounded; (8) fingers without lateral fringes; (9) ulnar and tarsal tubercles absent; (10) heel with a distinct conical tubercle; inner tarsal fold absent; (11) outer metatarsal tubercle rounded, about twice as large as ovoid inner metatarsal tubercle; supernumerary plantar tubercles absent; (12) toes without lateral fringes; basal webbing absent; Toe V slightly shorter than Toe III; toe tips rounded, about as large as those on fingers; (13) in life, dorsum reddish brown with dark gray and yellowish-brown mottling, venter gray with pale gray mottling and brownish-cream flecks around posterior half of belly, groin brown and gray mottled; (14) SVL in single female 20.7 mm.
The assignment of the new species to Phrynopus is based on the structure of the digital discs that lack circumferential groves as well as the overall morphological similarity with the other members of the genus. Phrynopus curator is readily distinguished from its congeners by having the dorsum with prominent middorsal Y-shaped ridges, a conical heel tubercle, absence of dentigerous processes of vomers, and a gray venter with pale gray mottling.
Furthermore Phrynopus curator differs from those species of Phrynopus (auriculatus, montium, and peruanus) that have a tympanum (absent in Phrynopus curator), and from those species (dagmarae, horstpauli, kotosh, miroslawae, nicoleae, and vestigiatus) that have dentigerous processes of vomers (absent in Phrynopus curator). Phrynopus curator lacks an aposematic coloration consisting of red, orange, salmon or flesh colored blotches in the groin (present in badius, bracki, dagmarae, heimorum, interstinctus, nicoleae, paucari, peruanus, and vestigiatus).
Six other species of Phrynopus have been recorded from the YCNP. Those are Phrynopus auriculatus (Duellman and Hedges 2008, at 2600 m), Phrynopus badius (this paper, 2900 m), Phrynopus bracki (Hedges 1990, at 2600 m), Phrynopus miroslawae (Chaparro et al. 2008, at 3363 m), Phrynopus nicoleae (Chaparro et al. 2008, at 3589 m),and Phrynopus tribulosus (Duellman and Hedges 2008, at 2600 m). Phrynopus miroslawae and Phrynopus nicoleae are from the puna of Santa Bárbara (Chaparro et al. 2008) which is located west of the Río Huancabamba, whereas all others are recorded east of the Río Huancabamba (see Fig. 3). Phrynopus curator lacks a tympanum (present in Phrynopus auriculatus), has the groin brown and gray mottled (groin dark brown with orange flecks on its lower half and a dark inguinal bar on its upper half in Phrynopus badius), does not have Toe I vestigial (vestigial in Phrynopus bracki), and its Finger I is shorter than Finger II (Finger I and Finger II of equal length in Phrynopus nicoleae). Furthermore Phrynopus curator lacks dentigerous processes of vomers (present in Phrynopus nicoleae), it has three enlarged tubercles on the upper eyelid (upper eyelid without enlarged tubercles in Phrynopus nicoleae), its flanks are reddish brown with dark gray and yellowish-brown mottling and with a broad gray diagonal stripe at the anterior half, bordered on both sides with a narrow tan stripe (flanks tan with abundant bluish-white spots in Phrynopus nicoleae), and its groin is brown and gray mottled (tan with abundant bluish-white spots and an orange spot in Phrynopus nicoleae). Phrynopus curator is smaller than Phrynopus miroslawae (SVL 20.7 mm vs. 29.2 mm in Phrynopus miroslawae, Chaparro et al. 2008), has dorsum with ridges (dorsum warty in Phrynopus miroslawae), and dorsolateral folds discontinuous (continuous), and has the dorsum reddish brown with dark gray and pale brown mottling (green in Phrynopus tribulosus).
Description of holotype
Head narrower than body, slightly longer than wide, HW 98.6% of HL; HW 33.8% of SVL; HL 33.3% of SVL; snout moderately long, rounded in dorsal and lateral views (Figs 5, 8), ED larger than E-N distance; nostrils not protuberant, directed dorsolaterally; canthus rostralis short, straight in dorsal view, rounded in profile; loreal region slightly concave; lips rounded; upper eyelid without enlarged tubercles; EW narrower than IOD (EW 82.6% of IOD); supratympanic fold short and low, extending from posterior corner of eye to level of jaw articulation, barely distinguishable in preservation; tympanic membrane and tympanic annulus absent; minute postrictal tubercles. Choanae small, ovoid, not concealed by palatal shelf of maxilla; dentigerous processes of vomers absent; tongue broad, longer than wide, not notched posteriorly, posterior one third free.
Skin on dorsum shagreen with small scattered tubercles, prominent ridges, and two prominent middorsal Y-shaped ridges connected at their bases; postocular folds short, ridges forming discontinuous dorsolateral fold; skin on flanks shagreen with small scattered tubercles, skin on throat smooth, skin on chest and belly weakly areolate; discoidal fold absent, weak thoracic fold present; cloacal sheath short; large tubercles absent in cloacal region. Outer surface of forearm without minute tubercles; outer palmar tubercle bifid, low, ovoid, about twice the size of ovoid inner palmar tubercle; supernumerary tubercles indistinct in preservative; subarticular tubercles low, ovoid, most prominent on base of fingers; fingers without lateral fringes; Finger I shorter than Finger II; tips of digits rounded, lacking marginal grooves (Fig. 7C).
Hind limbs long and slim, TL 49.3% of SVL; FL 49.8% of SVL; upper surface of hind limbs tuberculate with narrow diagonal ridges (Fig. 10A); posterior and ventral surfaces of thighs areolate; heel with a distinct conical tubercle; outer surface of tarsus with small tubercles; outer metatarsal tubercle round, about twice as large as ovoid inner metatarsal tubercle; supernumerary plantar tubercles indistinct in preservative; subarticular tubercles low, ovoid in dorsal view, most distinct on base of toes; toes without lateral fringes; basal webbing absent; toe tips rounded, lacking marginal grooves, about as large as those on fingers; relative lengths of toes: 1 < 2 < 3 > 5 < 4; Toe V shorter than Toe III (Fig. 7D).
Measurements (in mm) of holotype:SVL 20.7; TL 10.2; FL 10.3; HL 6.9; HW 7.0; ED 2.4; IOD 2.3; EW 1.9; IND 2.1; E-N 1.8.
Coloration of holotype in life
(Fig. 8): Dorsum reddish brown with dark gray and yellowish-brown mottling, and few white tubercles; dark brown interorbital bar bordered anteriorly with a narrow yellowish-brown stripe; dorsal surface of forearms and hind legs with diagonal dark brown bars outlined with pale grayish-brown stripes; dark brown canthal stripe; broad, dark brown supratympanic stripe outlined by tan; broad, dark brown bar on upper lip below eye, bordered by narrow, tan stripe on each side; flanks colored as dorsum with a broad gray diagonal stripe at the anterior half, bordered on both sides with a narrow tan stripe; axilla and groin brown and gray mottled; gray inguinal bar bordered on both sides with a narrow tan stripe extending onto dorsal surface of thigh; posterior surfaces of thighs and concealed surfaces of shanks brown and gray mottled; throat gray with pale gray mottling; chest, belly, and extremities gray with pale gray dots and flecks; outer fingers and outer toes yellowish brown, palmar and plantar surfaces dark gray; iris predominately reddish brown with fine black reticulations and golden ringlet around pupil.
Coloration of holotype in preservative
(Figs 5C, D): As described above but slightly paler with gray coloration being brown and yellowish brown being white; iris gray.
Freshly hatched froglets (FMNH 282820-22) had a SVL of 6.2–6.5 mm (n = 3). Froglets were pale green with brown blotches on dorsum, brown canthal and supratympanic stripes, brown bars on upper lip, and distinct diagonal brown stripe on flanks and on extremities (Fig. 10C), all brown bars and stripes bordered with white stripes.
The specific name curator is the Latin noun meaning caretaker and refers to the observed behaviour of the female guarding nine terrestrial eggs.
Distribution, natural history, and threat status
The species is only known from the type locality (a summit of a mountain ridge of Cordillera Yanachaga, 3000 m). The habitat consisted of transitional formation between cloud forest and wet puna. The type locality is a slightly swampy plain covered by scattered bushes, small isolated trees, ferns, moss, and lichens (Fig. 9). The single specimen was found at 3.30 pm under a moss layer at approx. 10–15 cm depth covering the stem of a fern. The female was gravid (small unpigmented eggs) and guarding a clutch consisting of nine terrestrial eggs and was partially sitting on them (Fig. 10A). Young frogs (Fig. 10B) were clearly visible based on their pale green coloration and moved inside the eggs when being disturbed. The eggs had a diameter of 5.7–5.8 mm (n = 3). Two days after collection of three eggs three froglets hatched. Phrynopus curator called from under moss during the day. Sympatric anurans include Gastrotheca sp. (heard call), Pristimantis aniptopalmatus, Pristimantis bromeliaceus and Pristimantis sp. We classify Phrynopus curator as “Data Deficient” according to the IUCN red list criteria and categories based on the limited information on its geographic range.
- Lehr, E; Moravec, J; Cusi, J; 2012: Two new species of Phrynopus (Anura, Strabomantidae) from high elevations in the Yanachaga-Chemillén National park in Peru (Departamento de Pasco) ZooKeys, 235: 51-71. doi
- Duellman W, Hedges S (2008) Two new minute species of Phrynopus (Lissamphibia: Anura) from the Cordillera oriental in Peru. Zootaxa 1675: 59-66.
- Hedges S (1990) A new species of Phrynopus (Anura: Leptodactylidae) from Peru. Copeia 1990: 108-112. doi: 10.2307/1445826
- Chaparro J, Padial J, De la Riva I (2008) Two sympatric new species of Phrynopus (Anura: Strabomantidae) from Yanachaga Chemillén National Park (central Peruvian Andes). Zootaxa 1761: 49-58.