|Titicaca water frog|
|Juvenile from Isla del Sol|
Telmatobius culeus, commonly known as the Titicaca water frog, is a very large and critically endangered species of frog in the Telmatobiidae family. It is entirely aquatic and only found in Lake Titicaca and rivers that flow into this lake in South America. While the lungs are greatly reduced, this frog has excessive amounts of skin, used to help the frog respire in the high altitude in which it lives.
In the early 1970s, an expedition led by Jacques Cousteau reported frogs up to 50 centimetres (20 in) in outstretched length, with individuals commonly weighing 1 kilogram (2.2 lb), making these some of the largest exclusively aquatic frogs in the world (the fully aquatic Batrachophrynus macrostomus is larger, as is the African goliath frog, which sometimes can be seen on land). The snout-vent length is 7.5–13.8 centimetres (3.0–5.4 in).
Once common, the Titicaca water frog has declined drastically and is now facing extinction due to over-collecting for human consumption, pollution, and predation of tadpoles by introduced trout. It may also be threatened by the disease chytridiomycosis. Several other species in the genus Telmatobius are facing similar risks.
- Javier Icochea, Steffen Reichle, Ignacio De la Riva, Ulrich Sinsch, Jörn Köhler (2004). "Telmatobius culeus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
- Stuart, Hoffmann, Chanson, Cox, Berridge, Ramani and Young, editors (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. ISBN 978-84-96553-41-5
- 2004, Amphibiaweb, IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe
- Victoria Gill (12 September 2013). "Blobfish wins ugliest animal vote". BBC News. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- Data related to Telmatobius culeus at Wikispecies
- Media related to Telmatobius culeus at Wikimedia Commons
- Video footage and photographs of Titicaca Water Frog on ARKive
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