A relatively small species of Ameerega, with adults 18-25 mm in SVL. Frogs from near the type locality are black or dark brown on the dorsum with white dorsolateral stripes and white labial stripes. Yellow or orange flash marks present above groin, on shanks, and under arms. Ventral coloration is blue with black marbling. Populations further south have less prominent dorsolateral stripes and a brownish dorsum. The southernmost population (near Tocache) lacks entirely dorsolateral stripes, has a copper-brown dorsum, orange flash marks, and has very granular dorsal skin. First finger longer than second.
Tadpoles are dark brown with two prominent white spots lateral to the mouth which are visible from the dorsal aspect, and a labial tooth row formula of 2(2)/3.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Peru
This species occurs in central Peru, and is widely distributed throughout Departamento San Martin and known from some localities in Loreto and Ucayali. It may occur further south in Pasco and Junín, although further investigation is needed. This species is associated with premontane and lowland habitats near the east-Andean versant of central Peru, and is known from sites between 180-865 m elevation. Most common in disturbed habitats and secondary forest, rare in primary forest.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Ameerega altamazonica lays clutches of 14-22 eggs in leaf litter. Upon hatching, males transport tadpoles to aquatic habitats such as roadside ditches or forest pools. Tadpoles have been found in sympatry with Ameerega bassleri and Phyllomedusa tomopterna. This species is common throughout disturbed habitats in the central Huallaga river valley, and can most easily be encountered when males begin calling, typically early in the morning or late in the evening. The call is a quick ‘peep’ repeated at a rate of 1-2 notes per second. This call serves to distinguish A. altamazonica from a morphologically similar species, A. hahneli, which has a call consisting of a chain of metallic-sounding notes repeated at a rate of 5-9 notes per second.
Trends and Threats
This species does not appear to be threatened in the wild. It is tolerant of disturbance and common throughout a relatively large geographic area in central Peru.
This species was long thought to be a population of A. picta (Silverstone 1976) and later A. hahneli (Lötters et al. 1997), although had been suspected by some as belonging to a distinct species on the basis of advertisement call. Roberts et al. (2006) presented a molecular phylogeny demonstrating the clear existence of two distinct clades of putative A. hahneli. One clade (the nominal clade) contained individuals from the lower Amazon of Peru and Brazil, whereas the other clade was restricted to the east-Andean versant of central Peru. Twomey and Brown (2008) described this second clade as a distinct species, using molecular genetics, call parameters, and tadpole morphology as the basis for diagnosis.
Lötters, S., Debold, P., Henle, K. , Glaw, F., and Kneller, M. (1997). ''Ein neuer Pfeilgiftfrosch aus der Epipedobates pictus-Gruppe vom Osthang der Cordillera Azul in Peru.'' Herpetofauna, 19, 25-34.
Roberts, J. L., Brown, J. L., Arizabal, W., von May, R., Schulte, R., and Summers, K. (2006). ''Genetic divergence and speciation in lowland and montane Peruvian poison frogs.'' Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 41, 149-164.
Silverstone, P.A. (1976). ''A revision of the poison arrow frogs of the genus Phyllobates Bibron in Sagra (Family Dendrobatidae).'' Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Bulletin, 27, 1-53.
Twomey, E., and Brown, J. L. (2008). ''A partial revision of the Ameerega hahneli complex (Anura: Dendrobatidae) and a new cryptic species from the East-Andean versant of Central Peru.'' Zootaxa, 1757, 49-65.
Originally submitted by: Evan Twomey (first posted 2008-05-20)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2008-05-22)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Ameerega altamazonica: Tarapoto Poison Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/7108> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 6, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 6 Jun 2023.
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