Two new charismatic Pristimantis species (Anura: Craugastoridae) from the tepuis of the "Lost World" (Pantepui region, South America)

  • Philippe J.R. Kok Department of Vertebrates, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, rue Vautier 29, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Keywords: Anura, Guiana Shield, systematics, taxonomy, Terrarana


Two new colourful species of direct-developing frogs of the genus Pristimantis are described from the summit of two isolated tepuis (sandstone table mountains) in the Eastern Pantepui District of the Guiana Shield highlands. Pristimantis jamescameroni sp. nov. is described from the summit of Aprada-tepui from 2557-2571 m elevation, and P. imthurni sp. nov. is described from the summit of Ptari-tepui at 2471 m elevation. Both species share the absence of a differentiated tympanic membrane and external tympanic annulus (but presence of tiny pharyngeal ostia), the presence of nuptial pads in males, and the presence of lateral fringes on fingers and toes, a combination of characters that immediately distinguishes them from all other known Pantepui congeners. The two new species are morphologically similar to each other and are phylogenetically closely related, but they can be distinguished based on colour pattern and morphological characters such as head proportions, dorsal skin texture, and condition of the supratympanic fold. The IUCN conservation status of the new species is considered as Endangered (EN) owing to their apparent very restricted ranges. The number of described Pristimantis species occurring exclusively on tepui (and faunistically related granitic mountains) summits and upper slopes now reaches eleven.


Barrio-Amorós C.L. & Brewer-Carías C. 2008. Herpetological results of the 2002 expedition to Sarisariñama, a tepui in Venezuelan Guayana, with the description of five new species. Zootaxa 1942: 1-68.

Barrio-Amorós C.L., Mesa J., Brewer-Carías C. & McDiarmid R.W. 2010. A new Pristimantis (Anura, Terrarana, Strabomantidae) from Churi-tepui in the Chimanta massif, Venezuelan Guayana. Zootaxa 2483: 35-44.

Berry P.E., Huber O. & Holst B.K. 1995. Floristic analysis and phytogeography. In: Berry P.E., Holst B.K. & Yatskievych K. (eds) Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana. Volume 1. Introduction: 161-192. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St Louis.

Davis S.D., Heywood V.H. & Hamilton A.C. 1997. Centres of Plant Diversity: A Guide and Strategy for their Conservation, Volume 3, The Americas. IUCN Publications Unit, Cambridge.

Dalziell R. 2007. Everard im Thurn in British Guiana and the western Pacific. In: Hulme P. & McDougall R. (eds.) Writing, Travel and Empire: 97-116. I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd, London.

Doyle A.C. 1912. The Lost World. Hodder & Stoughton, London.

Duellman W.E. & Lehr E. 2009. Terrestrial-breeding Frogs (Strabomantidae) in Peru. NTV Science, Münster.

Frost D.R. 2013. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.5 (9 Jan. 2013). American Museum of Natural History, New York [online]. Available from [accessed 20 Jul. 2013].

Fuentes-Ramos O. & Barrio-Amorós C.L. 2004. A new Eleutherodactylus (Anura, Leptodactylidae) from Marahuaka Tepui, Amazonas, Venezuela. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales 28: 285-290.

Gorzula S. & Señaris J.C. 1999 “1998”. Contribution to the herpetofauna of the Venezuelan Guayana. I. A data base. Scientia Guaianae 8: 1-269.

Hedges S.B., Duellman W.E. & Heinicke M.P. 2008. New World direct-developing frogs (Anura: Terrarana): Molecular phylogeny, classification, biogeography, and conservation. Zootaxa 1737: 1-182.

Huber O. 1995. Geographical and physical features. In: Berry P.E., Holst B.K. & Yatskievych K. (eds) Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana. Volume 1. Introduction: 1-61. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St Louis.

IUCN 2001. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 3.1. Available from [accessed 20 Jul. 2013].

Jungfer K.-H., Faivovich J., Padial J.M., Castroviejo-Fisher S., Lyra M., Von Muller Berneck B., Iglesias P., Kok P.J.R., MacCulloch R.D., Rodrigues M.T., Verdade V.K., Torres Gastello C.P., Chaparro J.C., Valdujo P.H., Reichle S., Moravec J., Gvozdík V., Gagliardi-Urrutia G., Ernst R., De La Riva I., Means D.B., Lima A.P., Señaris J.C., Wheeler W. & Haddad C.F.B. 2013. Systematics of spiny-backed treefrogs (Hylidae: Osteocephalus): an Amazonian puzzle. Zoologica Scripta 42: 351-380.

Kok P.J.R. 2013. Islands in the Sky: Species Diversity, Evolutionary History, and Patterns of Endemism of the Pantepui Herpetofauna. PhD thesis, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Kok P.J.R. & Barrio-Amorós C.L. 2013. On the taxonomic validity of Pristimantis tepuiensis (Schlüter & Rödder, 2007) and P. stegolepis (Schlüter & Rödder, 2007), with remarks on the type series of P. guaiquinimensis (Schlüter & Rödder, 2007). Zootaxa 3694(1): 75-80.

Kok P.J.R. & Kalamandeen M. 2008. Introduction to the taxonomy of the amphibians of Kaieteur National Park, Guyana. Abc Taxa 5: 1-278.

Kok P.J.R., MacCulloch R.D., Means D.B., Roelants K., Van Bocxlaer I. & Bossuyt F. 2012. Low genetic diversity in tepui summit vertebrates. Current Biology 22(15): 589-590 + supplementary information.

Kok P.J.R, Means D.B. & Bossuyt F. 2011. A new highland species of Pristimantis Jiménez de la Espada, 1871 (Anura: Strabomantidae) from the Pantepui region, northern South America. Zootaxa 2934: 1-19.

Kok P.J.R., Willaert B. & Means D.B. 2013. A new diagnosis and description of Anomaloglossus roraima (La Marca, 1998) (Anura: Aromobatidae: Anomaloglossinae), with description of its tadpole and call. South American Journal of Herpetology 8(1): 29-45.

Lynch J.D. & Duellman W.E. 1997. Frogs of the genus Eleutherodactylus (Leptodactylidae) in Western Ecuador: Systematics, Ecology and Biogeography. University of Kansas Natural History Museum, Special Publication 23: 1-236.

Lynch J.D. & Hoogmoed M.S.H. 1977. Two new species of Eleutherodactylus (Amphibia, Leptodactylidae) from northeastern South America. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 90: 424-439.

Mägdefrau H. & Mägdefrau K. 1994. Biologie von Anuren auf Tepuis der Roraima-Gruppe in Venezuela. In: Herrmann H.-J. & Zimmermann H. (eds) Beiträge zur Biologie der Anuren: 84-102. Tetra Werke, Melle.

Mayr E. & Phelps Jr. W.H. 1967. The origin of the bird fauna of the South Venezuelan highlands. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 136: 269-328.

McDiarmid R.W. & Donnelly M.A. 2005. The herpetofauna of the Guayana Highlands: amphibians and reptiles of the Lost World. In: Donnelly M.A., Crother B.I., Guyer C., Wake M.H. & White M.E. (eds) Ecology and Evolution in the Tropics: A Herpetological Perspective: 461-560. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Means D.B. & Savage J.M. 2007. Three new malodorous rainfrogs of the genus Pristimantis (Anura: Brachycephalidae) from the Wokomung Massif in west-central Guyana, South America. Zootaxa 1658: 39-55.

Myers C.W. & Donnelly M.A. 2008. The summit herpetofauna of Auyantepui, Venezuela: report from the Robert G. Goelet American Museum–Terramar Expedition. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 308: 1-147.

Nogué S., Rull V. & Vegas-Vilarrúbia T. 2009. Modeling biodiversity loss by global warming on Pantepui, northern South America: projected upward migration and potential habitat loss. Climatic Change 94:77-85.

Pyron R.A. & Wiens J.J. 2011. A large-scale phylogeny of Amphibia with over 2,800 species, and a revised classification of extant frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61: 543-583.

Rödder D. & Jungfer K-H. 2008. A new Pristimantis (Anura, Strabomantidae) from Yuruani-tepui, Venezuela. Zootaxa 1814: 58-68.

Rojas-Runjaic F.J.M., Salerno P.E., Señaris J.C. & Pauly G.B. 2013. Terraranans of the Lost World: a new species of Pristimantis (Amphibia, Craugastoridae) from Abakapá-tepui in the Chimantá massif, Venezuelan Guayana, and additions to the knowledge of P. muchimuk. Zootaxa 3686(3): 335-355.

Rull V. & Nogué S. 2007. Potential migration routes and barriers for vascular plants of the Neotropical Guyana Highlands during the Quaternary. Journal of Biogeography 34: 1327-1341.

Savage J.M., Hollingsworth B.D., Lips K.R. & Jaslow A.P. 2004. A new species of rainfrog (genus Eleutherodactylus) from the Serranía de Tabasará, west-central Panama and reanalysis of the fitzingeri species group. Herpetologica 60(4): 519-529.

Schlüter A. & Rödder D. 2007. Three new frogs of the genus Eleutherodactylus (Amphibia, Leptodactylidae) from Guaiquinima Table Mountain, Bolívar, Venezuela. Herpetotropicos 3: 88-99.

Steyermark J.A. 1982. Relationships of some Venezuelan forest refuges with lowland tropical floras. In: Prance G.T. (ed.) Biological Diversification in the Tropics: 182-220. Columbia University Press, New York.

How to Cite
Kok, P. J. (2013). Two new charismatic Pristimantis species (Anura: Craugastoridae) from the tepuis of the "Lost World" (Pantepui region, South America). European Journal of Taxonomy, (60).