AmphibiaWeb provides information on amphibian declines, natural history, conservation, and taxonomy.

Species of the Week:
Pristimantis mutabilis

Amphibian News
Phenotypic plasticity in frogs has been known to range from variation in coloration to presence of spines and glands associated with reproduction. However, variation in skin texture has long been assumed to be limited, so much that the number, shape and distribution of tubercles, warts, and other skin protuberances is routinely used as a diagnostic character in species descriptions. The effectiveness of skin texture as a diagnostic trait is now questioned by Guayasamin et al. (2015)'s findings that in two species of the large frog genus Pristimantis, including the new species P. mutabilis, individuals have the ability to quickly change skin texture from tuberculate to nearly smooth. In addition to cautioning about the peril of ignoring intraspecific phenotypic plasticity when making taxonomic decisions, the new study hints at some intriguing hypotheses regarding the benefit of skin change abilities in these Andean frogs.

Current number of amphibian species: 7,405 (Apr 26, 2015) Newly added species