Thursday, January 27, 2011

A New, Tiny, Two-toed Flea Toad

This illustration of a related species,
Brachycephalus ephippium shows the 
reduced digits on the hands and feet.
The family Brachycephalidae holds 47 species in two genera, Brachycephalus and Ischnocnema. These anurans have toad-like bodies, don’t jump very far, and are often brightly colored with yellow or orange on the dorsum. The 16 members of the genus Brachycephalus are commonly known as Saddle-back Toads due to the presence of bony shields above their vertebrae, or Pumpkin Toads, because of the bright orange or yellow coloration of some species. But, two species: B. didactylus and B. hermogenesi are known as flea toads because of their exceptionally small size, they are in the 8 to 9 mm range. Marcello Felgueiras Napoli and colleagues have now described a new species of flea toad from Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. The new species, Brachycephalus pulex, was found on Serra Bonita Mountain which contains a remnant of the Atlantic rainforest and is within the Municipality of Camacan, Bahia, Brazil, this locality represents the northernmost record for the genus. Brachycephalus pulex was found in the leaf litter and on a tree trunk in an area that is 800- 930 m above sea level, is only known from the type locality. Four specimens were between 8.0 and 8.4 mm in body length. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this tiny frog are its greatly reduced fingers and toes, there are two digits or digit remnants on each appendage.  


Citation
NAPOLI, M. F., U. CARAMASCHI, C. A. GONÇALVES CRUZ and I. RIBEIRO DIAS. 2011. A new species of flea-toad, genus Brachycephalus Fitzinger (Amphibia: Anura: Brachycephalidae), from the Atlantic rainforest of southern Bahia, Brazil. Zootaxa 2739: 33–40

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