AMPHIBIAWEB
Melanophryniscus admirabilis
family: Bufonidae
 
Species Description: Di-Bernardo M, Maneyro R, Grillo H 2006 New species of Malanophryniscus (Anura: Bufonidae) from Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil. J. Herpetol 40:261-266.

© 2012 Samuel Renner (1 of 3)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Near Threatened (NT)
CITES No CITES Listing
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

 

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

   

From the IUCN Red List Species Account:

 

Range Description

This is a microendemic species known only from its type locality. It occurs in a narrow area along 700 m of the margins of the Forqueta River, in Perau de Janeiro, Municipality of Arvorezinha, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, between about 400 and 616 m asl (Di-Bernardo et al. 2006, M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012). Its range, taken as a proxy for extent of occurrence (EOO), is estimated to be 0.035 km

Habitat and Ecology

This species inhabits exclusively a small area of riparian forests along the steep slopes of the margins of the Forqueta River, in the southern extreme of the Atlantic Forest, in an area located in the transitional zone between seasonal and Araucaria moist forests (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012). 

Population

It is frequently encountered along the margins of the river Forqueta; however, its restricted EOO and AOO suggest that the population is circumscribed and very small (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012). There is no information on past and current population fluctuations and trends, although recent accounts by local inhabitants suggest that it is being collected by visitors (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012), which suggest a continuing decline in the number of mature individuals. There is also a plausible strong projected decrease in the next years due to the planned installation of a small hydroelectric power plant (SHP) in the river (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012).

Population Trend

Decreasing

Major Threats

The main threat to this toad is the installation of a small hydroelectric power plant (SHP Perau de Janeiro) a few meters upstream from where this species is found (Abadie et al. 2011, Zank et al. 2012). The SHP Perau de Janeiro has already received the first of three licenses provided by the environmental agency responsible (August 2010) and the area is now being prepared for the beginning of installation (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012). While the installation of the SHP will occur a few hundred metres upstream from the species' range and the reservoir formation would not impact the species directly, the energy demand-driven water flow following the installation is projected to have a continuous and permanent impact on the only known existing population, which is adapted to the natural variations in water level (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. May 2013).  Also, given the microendemism of the species, the SHP installation activities themselves have potential to severely impact the population. Moreover, alterations in the Forqueta river flow and possible environmental changes on its margins may even have more deleterious consequences to the species. The reproductive sites of the species are located along the river margins and their availability is clearly associated with natural fluctuations in the river flow (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012). Additionally, while tobacco and eucalyptus plantations and livestock production occur in the region and account for the observed forest fragmentation, the area where the species is found is surrounded by very steep slopes and is therefore not directly impacted by these activities (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. May 2013). The Rio Grande do Sul State Environmental Agency (Fundação Estadual de Proteção Ambiental-RS), which is responsible for licensing, did not require any monitoring activity that could assess possible impacts of installation and/or operation of the SHP, even though the species was recorded in the obligatory Environmental Impact Report (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012). Another potential threat, still not quantified, is the contamination by pesticides used on tobacco crops near the species' range, along the Forqueta River basin (Abadie et al. 2011, Zank et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions

Since 2010, the Fundação Grupo o Boticário is supporting the project entitled “Assessment of the conservation status of the rare red-bellied-toad Melanophryniscus admirabilis (Anura, Bufonidae)”, carried out by the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, which has collected data on the species' occurrence, population structure and habitat use, generating concrete data to assess the conservation status and to elaborate an action plan  (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012). The information gathered during this project resulted in the species' inclusion in the National Action Plan for the Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles in South Brazil (BRASIL 2012, Portaria Nº 25). The species does not occur within the limits of any conservation unit (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012). While it was recently assessed as Critically Endangered at the national level, it still needs to be officially published by the Ministry of the Environment, so it currently has no legal status (L.F. Marin da Fonte pers. comm. April 2013). In spite of the potential impacts that the SHP Perau de Janeiro installation may cause to this toad, the licensing agency has not demanded any specific actions for monitoring or preserving this species (M. Borges-Martins, C. Zank, M. Abadie, L.F. Fonte and T. Mendes pers. comm. June 2012). Given this scenario, the conservation of this species' habitat is an urgent priority, as is the development of the legal instruments needed to ensure that its habitat is safeguarded and the species is not driven to extinction. Population monitoring is also needed so as to track the population status of this highly restricted microendemic amphibian.

Taxonomic Notes

Melanophryniscus admirabilis differs from other similar species by a combination of morphological features and colour patterns (Di-Bernardo et al., 2006).

Citation

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2013. Melanophryniscus admirabilis. In: IUCN 2014

 

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