Dendropsophus luddeckei is a hylid frog with a snout-vent length of 32.6 – 61.0 mm. This species has a head that is about as wide as it is long, and which is about as wide as the body. In the dorsal view, the head rounded and the canthus rostralis is concave while viewed from the lateral profile the snout is rounded. The distance between the eye and the nostril is shorter than the width of the eye. The loreal region is flat and the lips are thin with no flares. Dendropsophus luddeckei has a slightly concave internarial region with nostrils that are directed anterolaterally and only slightly protuberant. This species has medium sized, moderately protuberant eyes with transparent eyelids that are separated by a flat interorbital area. Dendropsophus luddeckei has conspicuous supratympanic folds that just cover the posteroventral edge of its moderately large, distinct tympanum, which is directed dorsolaterally and located approximately half the width of the tympanum away from the eye. The tympanum itself is approximately half the diameter of the eye. This species has short, robust arms that lack axillary membranes, has a weak ulnar fold, and has tubercles, which extend from the base of the hand to the elbow. Short fingers with lateral fringes are tipped with rounded discs that are slightly wider than the fingers. Relative length of fingers are 1 > 2 > 4 > 3, with basal webbing present only between fingers 2 through 4. Males have large nuptial pads that are conspicuously delineated starting from the base of the thumb and narrowing to the distal subarticular tubercle. Moderate length hind limbs have robust shanks, a distinct inner tarsal, and short toes that are capped with disc that are slightly smaller than those found on the fingers. Relative lengths of almost fully webbed toes are 1 > 2 > 5 > 3 > 4. Toes also have lateral fringes. Dorsal skin is smooth as is the skin on the axilla, groin and anterior surface of the thighs, while the skin on the flanks is scattered with warts, and the skin of the throat, chest, belly, and ventral surfaces of the thighs have small coarse bumps. The posteriorly directed cloaca has a slight dorsal flap and distinct cloacal sheath (Guarnizo et al. 2012).
Dendropsophus luddeckei and its sister species D. labialis are cryptic species. The species can be acoustically differentiated because D. luddeckei has shorter call duration than D. labialis, higher pulse rate, and fewer pulses per call (Guarnizo et al. 2009; Guarnizo et al., 2012).
In life there is strong variability in the dorsal coloration of individuals within and across populations. Such coloration can go from pale green to dark brown. It also displays strong geographic variation in pattern of dorsal spots (Guarnizo et al. 2012).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia
Dendropsophus luddeckei is a highland species. It can be found in open areas in the Andes between 2000 and 4100 m. Its distribution begins at Departamento de Boyacá in Colombia, reaching northeast the Departamento de Norte de Santander (Guarnizo et al. 2012). It is abundant and can be found in permanent and temporary ponds in both urban and rural areas.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The species is primarily nocturnal. However, it is a heliothermic species that thermoregulates in open areas during the day. Males have been seen calling close to roads in highly populated areas. There seems to be a correlation between elevation and body size, with larger individuals at higher elevations (Guarnizo et al. 2012).
Tadpoles develop from small, pigmented eggs that are deposited in clumps in shallow ponds (Guarnizo, personal communication). Similarly with D. labialis, D. luddeckei breeding seasons might be associated with the rainiest months of the year: October-November and April (Lüddecke 2002).
Trends and Threats
Given the very similar ecology and large distribution of D. luddeckei, this species is predicted to have a similar status to its cryptic sister species, D. labialis, which is listed as a Species of Least Concern (Pinilla et al. 2004).
Dendropsophus luddeckei is most closely related to D. labialis from South-Central Colombia. Genetically, D. luddeckei differs from D. labialis by 13 fixed nucleotide differences in 12S –16S gene, 30 in cytochrome oxidase I, 27 in cytochrome b, and 5 in the proopiomelanocortin A gene. The next most closely related species are D. pelidna (Colombia and Venezuela) and D. meridensis (Venezuela). All four species are found in mid- to high-elevations in the Colombian and Venezuelan Andes (Guarnizo et al. 2009; Guarnizo et al., 2012).
The species is named for Professor Horst Lüddecke, who taught and conducted research at the Universidad de los Andes for 30 years (Guarnizo et al. 2012).
Guarnizo, C.E., Amézquita, A., Bermingham E. (2009). ''The relative roles of vicariance versus elevational gradients in the genetic differentiation of the Andean tree frog, Dendropsophus labialis.'' Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 50, 84-92.
Guarnizo, C.E., Escallon, C., Cannatella, D.C., Amézquita, A. (2012). ''The relative roles of vicariance versus elevational gradients in the genetic differentiation of the Andean tree frog, Dendropsophus labialis.'' Herpetologica , 68, 523-540.
Lüddecke, H (2002). ''Variation and Trade-off in Reproductive Output of the Andean Frog Hyla labialis.'' Oecologia, 103(3), 403-410.
Pinilla, M.P.R., Osorno-Muñoz, M., Rueda, J. V., Amézquita, A., Ardila-Robayo, M. C. (2004). Dendropsophus labialis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Downloaded on 10 December 2012.
Originally submitted by: Carlos E. Guarnizo (first posted 2013-03-11)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2013-12-05)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2013 Dendropsophus luddeckei <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/7946> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Sep 24, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 24 Sep 2023.
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