A name for the poison frog of Cordillera Azul, eastern Peru, with notes on its biology and skin toxins (Dendrobatidae). American Museum novitates ; no. 2674

Supplemental Materials
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
New York, N.Y. : American Museum of Natural History
"Dendrobates silverstonei, new species, is a distinctive orange-and-black or red-and-black frog discovered in the 1940s, as a consequence of road construction across the Cordillera Azul on the Amazonian flank of the Peruvian Andes. A colored photograph of a nurse frog, engaged in the dendrobatid trait of tadpole carrying, was widely promulgated in the multilingual editions of Cochran's Living amphibians of the world, as well as in other popular works. The species is now removed from consideration with Phyllobates bicolor, the only frog with which it has been previously confused or seriously compared. The newly named silverstonei belongs to a group containing the type species of Dendrobates rather than to the demonstrably monophyletic group containing the type species (bicolor) of Phyllobates. The color pattern of D. silverstonei is a convergent autapomorphy showing only the most superficial resemblance to that of P. bicolor, and silverstonei lacks the potent batrachotoxin alkaloids of Phyllobates. Skin secretions contain small amounts of alkaloids, mainly of the pumiliotoxin-A class. Dendrobates siliverstonei is placed tentatively in a species group containing D. trivittatus, because of similarities in morphology and natural history. The highland Dendrobates silverstonei (above 1300 m. elevation) shares various biological attributes with the widespread lowland D. trivittatus (below 800 m.), and their nearly identical songs are described as retarded trill calls, the fourth class of dendrobatid vocalizations to be defined. Both species are wary and usually quick to hide, and both seem to have some preference for edge situations. Similar-sized clutches of eggs of each species have been found in dead leaves on the forest floor, with male frogs in attendance. Tadpoles are carried to terrestrial water by the male nurse frog. There is interpopulational variation in the color pattern of D. silverstonei, and perhaps also in the ontogenetic development of the pattern. Geographic variation is likely to be extensive if the species proves to occupy a large range in the montane forest of Cordillera Azul"--P. [1].
24 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 23-24).