Head in the clouds: a new dwarf frog species of the Physalaemus signifer clade (Leptodactylidae, Leiuperinae) from the top of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

  • Fernando Leal Laboratório de Herpetologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8757-4063
  • Camila Zornosa-Torres Laboratório de História Natural de Anfíbios Brasileiros (LaHNAB), Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7149-6611
  • Guilherme Augusto-Alves Laboratório de História Natural de Anfíbios Brasileiros (LaHNAB), Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4113-780X
  • Simone Dena Laboratório de História Natural de Anfíbios Brasileiros (LaHNAB), Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5935-4394
  • Tiago Leite Pezzuti Laboratório de Herpetologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1162-3954
  • Felipe Leite Sagarana Lab, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Campus Florestal, Florestal, MG, Brazil https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4561-5634
  • Luciana Bolsoni Lourenço Laboratório de Estudos Cromossômicos, Departamento de Biologia Estrutural e Funcional, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6602-6850
  • Paulo Garcia Laboratório de Herpetologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4789-7033
  • Luís Felipe Toledo Laboratório de História Natural de Anfíbios Brasileiros (LaHNAB), Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4929-9598
Keywords: Anura, Physalaemus araxa, species description, systematics, taxonomy


In an elevational gradient, the mountain top generally presents a reduced species diversity. However, it is there where we often find microendemic and quite often still undescribed species. That prediction is very common in underexplored Neotropical mountains, like those of the Caparaó National Park – a protected area that includes the highest peak of the Atlantic Forest, a megadiverse domain. Up in its top, we found a dwarf frog of the genus Physalaemus (Anura, Leptodactylidae, Leiuperinae), belonging to the P. signifer clade. After an integrative (morphological, bioacoustical, and genetic) analysis, we were able to describe it as a new species and found it to be sister to P. maculiventris. Due to its very restricted distribution at a site with extreme environmental conditions (which includes fires and frosts) and current instability in national environmental policy, we suggest this to be classified as an endangered species. A brief description of its natural history and the description of the species itself will now enable its proper conservation status categorization and the future planning for conservation actions.


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How to Cite
Leal, F., Zornosa-Torres, C., Augusto-Alves, G., Dena, S., Pezzuti, T. L., Leite, F., Lourenço, L. B., Garcia, P., & Toledo, L. F. (2021). Head in the clouds: a new dwarf frog species of the Physalaemus signifer clade (Leptodactylidae, Leiuperinae) from the top of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. European Journal of Taxonomy, 764(1), 119-151. https://doi.org/10.5852/ejt.2021.764.1475
Research article