Neotropics » Andes

We currently study the diversity and taxonomy of the terraranan frog genus Pristimantis and bufonid toads from the genus Rhinella from the Andes in central Peru. Both are widespread and speciose genera, the first with > 500 recognized species and the latter around 100, respectively, distributed both in lowland and highland areas. Pristimantis is characterized by direct development, in which eggs hatch directly into small frogs, completely bypassing the tadpole stage. This adaptation may be responsible for their extreme evolutionary success. Many Pristimantis and Rhinella species are confined to montane forests at high elevations.


A new miniature species of Pristimantis (adult size: 13–15 mm) was described from cloud forests at 3000 m a.s.l. in central Peru. The new species was named P. boucephalus, meaning big-headed due to its disproportionally large head with short snout. Phylogenetic reconstruction has showed that it belongs to a speciose clade, an as yet unnamed species group, comprising both montane (from two distant mountain ranges: Andes and Guiana Shield) and lowland (Amazon) taxa from the northern part of South America.

Photo by Jiří Moravec

Lehr E., Moravec J., Cusi J.C., Gvoždík V., 2017: A new minute species of Pristimantis (Amphibia: Anura: Craugastoridae) with a large head from the Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park in central Peru, with comments on the phylogenetic diversity of Pristimantis occurring in the Cordillera Yanachaga. European Journal of Taxonomy 325: 1–22.



We described a new toad species, Rhinella yunga, from montane forests on the eastern slopes of the Andes in central Peru. This species belongs to the predominantly lowland rainforest species group, R. margaritifera group. In addition, based on the molecular phylogenetic analysis a new species group, Rhinella festae group, was proposed.

Photo by Jiří Moravec

Moravec J., Lehr E., Cusi J.C., Córdova J.H., Gvoždík V., 2014: A new species of the Rhinella margaritifera species group (Anura, Bufonidae) from the montane forest of the Selva Central, Peru. ZooKeys 371: 35–56.



Rhinella lilyrodriguezae_photo_by_K_Tasker

As a follow up of our earlier research, we added new data to the previous dataset, which further supported the monophyly of the Rhinella festae species group showing that the R. veraguensis and R. acrolopha (former genus Rhamphophryne) groups do not constitute monophyletic groupings. Another new species of montane toad, Rhinella lilyrodriguezae with an obscure “beaked” snout was described from the eastern slopes of the Andes, Cordillera Oriental in Peru.

Photo by Kaitlin Tasker

Cusi J.C., Moravec J., Lehr E., Gvoždík V., 2017: A new species of semiarboreal toad of the Rhinella festae group (Anura, Bufonidae) from the Cordillera Azul National Park, Peru. ZooKeys 673: 21–47.


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Václav Gvoždík, Research on the Evolutionary biology of amphibians & reptiles | Last updated October 2022