Plectrohyla teuchestes – spikethumb frogs on the brink of extinction
This region of the Central Highlands is known to have a high level of endemism, and is home to several spectacular cloud forest specialists such as Rax Bolay (Bothriechis aurifer), brilliant alligator lizard (Abronia fimbriata), and Pokomchi spikethumb frog (Plectrohyla pokomchi).
We were feeling highly optimistic that we would encounter at least some of these amazing species. However, what we didn’t expect was to encounter one of Central America’s most endangered frogs.
The Alta Verapaz spikethumb frog
Previously, the Alta Verapaz spikethumb frog (Plectrohyla teuchestes) was known only from a single location – the original place the species had been described from in 1992. This location, known as the type locality, was some 40km away from where we were working at the opposite end of the same mountain range.
It was one of the first night walks of the expedition when the first individual was spotted two metres up in the branches overhanging the path. Then a few minutes later the second was found.
These two large treefrogs, a male and a female, which we carefully identified as Alta Verapaz spikethumb frogs, represented a newly discovered second population of a critically endangered species.
Amazing news for the conservation of an amphibian on the brink of extinction.
Indigo Archives: First Published 11 June 2015
This blog is not intended to be used as an identification guide. At Indigo we take the welfare of animals very seriously and identifying which species of amphibian or reptile you are observing is often tricky, especially in the tropics.
Wherever possible we use digital photography to look at identifying features and keep physical contact with these sensitive creatures to a minimum.
Handling of animals should always be carried out by a trained expert, or under the supervision of one. Where necessary and appropriate any handling of sensitive species undertaken by Indigo is carried out under licence from the relevant authorities.
Indigo Expeditions is not in any way suggesting that reptiles and amphibians are handled in the field without a trained expert.
Please ask a professional to help!