Holdridge's toad

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Holdridge's toad
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Bufonidae
Genus: Bufo
Species: B. holdridgei
Binomial name
Bufo holdridgei
Taylor, 1952
Synonyms

Cranopsis holdridgei

Incilius holdridgei

Holdridge's toad (Bufo holdridgei) is a species of toad endemic to Costa Rica. In October 2008, it was declared extinct by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in its Red List since the species had not been seen since 1987, despite years of extensive searches. However, the species was rediscovered in 2009 and is now classified as critically endangered.[1] It is believed that the species is most threatened by the presence of the chytrid fungus in its habitat.[2]

Description[edit]

Taxonomy[edit]

Originally found on Barva volcano in Cordillera, Costa Rica, the Holdridge’s toad is still endemic to that particular small area of Costa Rica’s rainforests. The scientific name of the organism is Bufo holdridgei (B. holdridgei). It is named after the research scientist Holdridge for its discovery. It can be distinguished in classification from other toads by its morphological differences. For example, B. holdridgei differs from B. fastidiosus because of the different cranial crests and it differs from B. peripetates due to the different sizes at the adult age. [3] Holdridge’s Toad is classified under the kingdom animalia, phylum chordata, class amphibia, order anura, family bufonidae, genus bufo, and species holdridgei. It is included in approximately a family of 25 genera and a genus of 300 species. The reappeared organism also has the synonymous scientific name Incilius holdridgei because of new classification systems widely used in science.[4]

Morphology[edit]

The adult male is smaller in size and is between 32 and 46 mm snout vent length (SVL). The adult female is slightly larger, measuring between 38 and 53 mm SVL. Both the male and female have similar dorsum coloration ranging from black to light brown with a lighter colored venter. The limbs, as well as the dorsal and lateral surfaces are spotted with reddish warts of varying sizes. The head is broad with low crests, excluding the thicker supratympanic crest. The reddish colored parotoid gland is smooth and globular. Limbs are shortened and feature fleshy hands and feet that are moderately webbed and lack tubercles. Both males and females of the species lack structures of the ear, causing deafness. Males lack vocal slits and sac, and have unusually hypertrophied testes. [4]

B. holdridgei tadpoles are small in size with ovoid-shaped bodies that are dark brown in color and feature a lighter venter surface. The tail and caudal fins are rounded. The mouth is directed ventrally and the oral disc has beaks and 2 to 3 rows of denticles which are bordered by a row of large papillae. [2] [4]

Behavior[edit]

B. holdridgei are fossorial, and remain relatively inactive while burrowed underground. During seasons of heavy rain, they can be found underneath layers of forest floor debris. During dryer periods, they can be found near stream banks. Members of the species become more active during the daytime when they are above ground.[4] Due to their morphology, B. holdridgei are deaf and mute; they do not communicate through sound or have mating calls- a rarity among frogs and toads. Before 1986, the species had been relatively easy to spot during its two month mating season from April to May when males and females became more active and gathered in the hundreds. However, outside of the mating season, the toads were very difficult to locate.[5] Since 1987, the species has declined in numbers and currently exists in a critically endangered state. [1]

Habitat[edit]

Holdridge's toads have been mainly observed in the rainforests of the Central Mountain Range of Costa Rica. [5] The species has recently been found living in open grassy areas.[1] The Holdridge’s Toad is a species that exists in montane rainforest of Costa Rica. This class of toads settles below the surfaces’ rubbish inside the forest during the duration of excessive rainfall. They are classified as a fossorial species due to the act of digging or burrowing themselves. When they are not avoiding the heavy rainfall, they favor massy stream banks. [4] The forest, wetlands, and/or pasturelands are sufficient enough for the Holdridge’s Toad. [1]

Diet[edit]

Due to the fact that the Holdridge’s Toad is reappearing from assumed extinction, research is beginning on this small organism. Revival of past research gives current research scientists direction of what to discover and learn from this toad. From collected past and new research along, as the Holdridge’s is exposed to Costa Rica’s rainforests’ bacteria and fungus, the diet can be inferred. The Holdridge's Toads’ diet include a broad range of arthropod invertebrates which includes spiders, larval stages of moths and butterflies (lepidopterans), flies, beetles, earwigs (dermoptera), ants, and mites (Savage 2002).[2]

Reproduction[edit]

The average age for sexual maturity of B.holdridgei is about three years. Due to the lack of development of vocal slits and tympana B.holdridgei do not have a breeding call. This species is an explosive breeder that lays clutches of large eggs in pools of water on the forest floor, they are also known to lay eggs in man-made drainage ditches. [2] Historically however, B.holdridgei were known to breed in more open areas such as pastures, but due to habitat conservation efforts these pastures are now evolving back into forests.[1] The males are know to arrive to these breeding pools following periods of heavy rain around early to mid-April and wait for the arrival of the females. At one time there were so many of them that some of the toads would try to mate with other species during these mating frenzies.[5] [2] It is also believed that the females only stay at the breeding pool for about only an hour or so. [2]

In reference to the reproduction of the Holdridge’s Toad, it was expressed as an “explosive breeder” [6] It acquired this title because it produced eggs in forest floor pools. [7] This species is known to reproduce in big collections in pools in open pastures. [1]



History[edit]

Presumed Extinction[edit]

Until 2009 the toad had not been observed since 1986. Due to the toad not being observed for over twenty years the International Union for the Conservation of Nature declared the species extinct.[5] Between 1968 and 2009 there were no sightings of Holdridge’s toad in their natural environment. Extensive searches were lead to determine if the species was extinct. The searches lasted for 7 years before the toad was declared extinct. [1] Multiple causes are believed to have lead to the toad’s presumed extinction, including chytridiomycosis, climate change, and deforestation. [3] The main threat to Holdridge’s toad is thought to be chytridiomycosis, a fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that causes an infections disease in amphibians. The fungus keratinizes any keratin containing skin layers in both the tadpoles and adult frogs. [8] High levels of this fungus were detected in the breeding grounds of Holdridge’s toad before and after the species appeared to vanish. [3] In 2009, tadpole and adult toads were discovered in two separate ponds that reclassified the species as critically endangered. [1]

Rediscovery[edit]

From 2008-2010, there was extensive searching efforts for the species. The search suggested that the adult population is less than 50 mature individuals, leading to its listing of Critically Endangered.[9] Juveniles were found, indicating relatively recent reproductive activity, but no large aggregations were seen; this species should be considered Critically Endangered.The entire known range of Bufo holdridgei falls within a protected area: Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo. However, breeding ponds in Alto El Roble are near the main road and may be under threat from increasing tourism. [10]

Conservation Efforts[edit]

The toad was added to the Red List of Endangered Species in 2006.[5] Of the forty recorded visits, Holdridge’s Toad has been observed on twenty-two occasions, accounting for sixty-seven organisms. [11] Much of the known range of this species is protected in Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, 20 km north-east of the capital of San José. The two sites where the species is known to persist in 2010 are located in the Cerro Dantos and Jaguarundi Refuges, neither of which have the same protection status as a national park. Even with the lower protection status, the forest cover of these refuges remains intact and seemingly not threatened. Although one might think that the population of I. holdridgei is recovering, information on the only known populations is still very limited; there needs to be more research on the population dynamics, environmental factors of the breeding sites, population health and genetics. [1]

Major Threats[edit]

It is believed that the major cause of the toad's decrease in population is Chytridiomycosis an infectious disease that affects amphibians caused by the Chytrid fungus. The increase of the Chytrid fungus has been connected to global warming.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k NatureServe & IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, (2012). Incilius holdridgei. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Incilius holdridgei. AmphibiaWeb (4 October 2011). Retrieved on 2013-01-01.
  3. ^ a b c Incilius holdridgei[1]. Retrieved 2014-10-23
  4. ^ a b c d e [from http://eol.org/pages/330838/overview]. Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved on 2014-10-19.
  5. ^ a b c d e Costa Rica's Holdridge Toad Declared Extinct [from https://ecopreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/costa-rica’s-holdridge-toad-declared-extinct/]. ECO PRESERVATION SOCIETY (16 October 2008). Retrieved on 2014-10-15.
  6. ^ Humans, pets and fungi the latest species killers[2]. Retrieved 2014-10-23
  7. ^ Humans, pets and fungi the latest species killers[3]. Retrieved 2014-10-23
  8. ^ An Overview of Chytridiomycosis[4]. Retrieved 2014-10-23
  9. ^ NatureServe & IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2012. Incilius holdridgei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 October 2014
  10. ^ Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors[5]. Retrieved 2014-10-23
  11. ^ FROGLOG PANAMA AMPHIBIAN RESCUE AND CONSERVATION PROJECT [from http://www.amphibians.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/FrogLog102.pdf]. Retrieved on 2014-10-15

Further reading[edit]

  • Frost, D. R.; Grant, T.; Faivovich, J. N.; Bain, R. H.; Haas, A.; Haddad, C. L. F. B.; De Sá, R. O.; Channing, A.; Wilkinson, M.; Donnellan, S. C.; Raxworthy, C. J.; Campbell, J. A.; Blotto, B. L.; Moler, P.; Drewes, R. C.; Nussbaum, R. A.; Lynch, J. D.; Green, D. M.; Wheeler, W. C. (2006). "The Amphibian Tree of Life". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297: 1–291. doi:10.1206/0003-0090(2006)297[0001:TATOL]2.0.CO;2. hdl:2246/5781.  edit
  • Pauly, G. B., D. M. Hillis, and D. C, Cannatella. (2004) The history of a Nearctic colonization: Molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of the Nearctic toads (Bufo). Evolution 58: 2517–2535.

External links[edit]

References[edit]