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  • Writer's pictureCésar L. Barrio-Amorós CRWild


Updated: Jan 20

An international group of researchers (from Spain, Colombia, the Netherlands, Panama, the United States and Costa Rica), led by CRWild, reports the presence of a frog that until now was only known from Panama. This is the Alta Snouted Treefrog (Scinax altae), very similar to Stauffer's Snouted Treefrog, common in the northwest of the country and towards the northeast of Mexico. The Alta Treefrog (named in honor of Mrs. Alta, wife of the describer, Emmet Dunn, who worked in Panama and Costa Rica during the 1930s) is a small and unremarkable anuran that, so far, inhabits a couple of locations in Costa Rica and is very difficult to detect since it shares its microhabitat with other frog species with much more powerful calls, which overshadow it.

The work, published in the Venezuelan biological biological Journal Anartia, in a special issue on Alfred Russel Wallace, describes the differences between the two very similar species, thanks to advanced software that analyzes bioacoustics; it refers to the complete distribution of both species and provides a phylogenetic tree about this species and others related.

The possibility that this species has recently colonized the country through the importation of agricultural products is discussed. With this frog species, the current number of anurans in Costa Rica rises to 158, and the total number of amphibians to 224.

Scinax altae from Costa Rica. Photo: Remco Stuster

Distribution of Scinax altae in Panama and Costa Rica, and of Scinax staufferi from NW Costa Rica to the north.

Spectrograms of the calling of Scinax altae and its sister species S. staufferi


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