Play Hyloxalus azureiventris Call
Additional info inLötters et al., 2000
Northern San Martin, Peru, near Tarapoto. This species ranges from the lowlands up to roughly 1100 meters elevation.
This frog is incredibly shy in the wild, preferring rock piles and small caves to open areas. While juveniles can sometimes be seen in the leaf litter, adults are rarely seen and usually only encountered at dusk when the males start to call from crevices in rock piles. Breeding takes place in dark recesses of these rock piles, where water temperatures may be a few degrees cooler than surrounding forest.
This species has a very small range and is therefore at risk of habitat loss through deforestation. Population size estimates are extremely difficult because adults are almost never encountered, though tadpoles are commonly found, suggesting that adult scarcity is a function of shyness and not rarity. This species was exported legally and sustainably in mid-2005 as part of the INIBICO project.
Despite spending nearly six months in the Cainarachi valley from 2004-2005, we had not seen or heard this species until Kyle Summers stumbled across a courting pair. After we had the call recorded, it was just a matter of crawling into a cave (face down in an ant nest) and grabbing a handful of leaf litter and dirt that luckily had a frog inside it.
Sister to Hyloxalus chlorocraspedus. Grant et al. (2006) suggested that these frogs be included in a much larger genus Hyloxalus which includes several of the former Colostethus species due to genetic similarities. However, as Grant notes, this placement in Hyloxalus may be only temporary, as the former Cryptophyllobates possess characteristics (e.g. aposematic coloration, skin toxins) that may warrant that they are considered a separate genus.