Ranitomeya amazonica

Schulte, 1999

Ranitomeya amazonica

Amazon basin in lowlands of northern Peru and extreme southeastern Colombia, also occurs in the Guiana Shield and Amazon Delta in Brazil. Only known from lowland localities. This species was originally described from south of Iquitos, Peru.

Natural History
Similar to its sister species Ranitomeya variabilis. This species is most closely associated with bromeliads, which they use for breeding. It is most normally found in primary and late secondary forest although some levels of disturbance are tolerated by this species. Clutches of 2-6 eggs are laid in bromeliads, partially submerged in water. Upon hatching males will transport tadpoles to other phytotelmata.

Conservation Status
This species is broadly distributed throughout the lower Amazon basin. Much of its habitat is uninhabited and relatively pristine. As such, this species is not a major conservation concern.

There has been considerable doubt surrounding the validity of this species since its description in 1999. Many have suspected that R. amazonica and its sister taxon R. variabilis should be considered a single species. We have collected considerable genetic and bioacoustic data that supports the retention of R. amazonica as a valid species, sister to R. variabilis. For a more extensive discussion of this issue see Brown & Twomey et al. (2011).

Type Locality Map View Larger

Ranitomeya amazonica
Nominal Morph

This is the morph originally described by Schulte (1999). It occurs in the vicinity of Iquitos, Peru. Most frogs of this morph have reddish or orange dorsolateral stripes, though some are yellow and appear very similar to the closely related R. variabilis.

Arena Blanca Morph

This is a relatively recently discovered morph of R. amazonica. It also occurs in the vicinity of Iquitos. For some time we suspected that these frogs may have belonged to a new species, although extensive genetic data place them nested within the amazonica clade. Many individuals bear a striking resemblance to the sympatric R. reticulata; we suspect this may represent another instance of Muellerian mimicry in poison frogs.