Chasing the cloud forests of Alta Verapaz.

Indigo Expeditions Wildlife Research & Endangered Species Conservation in Guatemala

It’s mid-June 2014 and the Indigo field team have just completed their 4 day exploratory mission to a cloud forest reserve south of Coban in the highlands of Central Guatemala. This region of Guatemala is classed as a biodiversity hotspot due not only to its high biodiversity but also high levels of endemism, meaning there are lots of species found here that are not found anywhere else in the world. We quickly saw why.

Within minutes of arriving we had found a salamander and two species coffee snakes. We didn’t have a lot of time to survey the 70 hectare cloud forest reserve and to be fair our efforts barely scratched the surface. It is remarkable then that we encountered 23 species of amphibians and reptiles in such a short space of time, and it is certain that further survey effort will reveal many more!

Some of the highlights include the spectacularly coloured emerald spiny-scaled lizard (Sceloporus taeniocnemis) with its bright red head, green body, and electric blue tail, and the black-eyed treefrog (Agalychnis moreletii). Of the 23 species we encountered several were endemic to the region and threatened with extinction including:

Rio Sanania spikethumb frog (Plectrohyla pokomchi)
Las Palmas spikethumb frog (Plectrohyla quecchi)
Montane robber frog (Craugastor lineatus)
Müller’s climbing salamander (Bolitoglossa mulleri)

We are extremely excited to be able to work in this remote region of Guatemala and are planning an annual survey and monitoring programme.

Indigo Expeditions Wildlife Research & Endangered Species Conservation in Guatemala

Sceloporus taeniocnemis.

Indigo Expeditions Wildlife Research & Endangered Species Conservation in Guatemala

Agalychnis moreletii.

Indigo Expeditions Wildlife Research & Endangered Species Conservation in Guatemala

Bolitoglossa mulleri.

The secretive six – critically endangered!

We can confirm the identification, that we found 6 species of rare amphibian… on the critically endangered list (IUCN). Proudly announcing, and in no particular order!

Craugastor lineatus

Plectrohyla pokomchi

Plectrohyla quecchi

Ptychohyla hypomykter

Agalychnis moreleti (Black-eyed treefrog)

Bolitoglossa mulleri (Mullers mushroom tongued salamander)



Indigo Archives: First Published 21 June 2014


In 2014, eight of the 11 species of amphibians we found were considered to be endangered by the IUCN red list.

Three species were considered to be Vulnerable to extinction.

Five species were thought to be Critically Endangered.

However, there is some good news. A recent assessment of the status of amphibian populations by the IUCN Amphibian Species Specialist Group decided that two of these species that were considered Critically Endangered had not shown the anticipated declines in population that had led to their classification in the previous assessment.

Black-eyed treefrog and Copan stream frog downgraded from Critically Endangered

In 2017 both the black-eyed treefrog (Agalychnis moreletii) and the Copan stream frog (Ptychohyla hypomykter) were downgraded from Critically Endangered. The black-eyed treefrog is now classed as ‘Least Concern’ and the Copan stream frog as ‘Vulnerable’.

For both species, populations had not continued to decline (as expected). And in the case of the black-eyed treefrog, some populations had in fact increased. This highlights the need for continued monitoring of wildlife populations in order to accurately assess the conservation status of species.

The Endangered 8 now 7

Montane robber frog (Craugastor lineatus) Critically Endangered
Rio Sananja spikethumb frog (Plectrohyla pokomchi) Critically Endangered
Las Palmas spikethumb frog (Plectrohyla quecchi) Critically Endangered
Brook robber frog (Craugastor rivulus) Vulnerable
Bocourt’s robber frog (Craugastor bocourti) Vulnerable
Müller’s climbing salamander (Bolitoglossa mulleri) Vulnerable
Copan stream frog (Ptychohyla hypomkyter) Vulnerable (downgraded from Critically Endangered in 2017)
Black-eyed treefrog (Agalychnis moreletii) Least Concern (downgraded from Critically Endangered in 2017)

Published : 21st June 2014

Field Notes Archive

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