The Ornate Rainfrog (Pristimantis ornatissimus) is a newcomer to Colombia’s enviable biodiversity after the small amphibian was identified in the southwestern department of Nariño. The green-skinned frog, considered endemic to Ecuador, has found in Colombia’s Pacific mountain ranges a protected habitat removed from man-made threats that have ranked this species as Vulnerable on the IUCN’s Red List of endangered species.
Juan Carlos Luna, deputy director of the conservation foundation ProAves confirmed that the species not only was inside the nature reserve where it had first been spotted back in 2003 during a migratory bird monitoring project, but has migrated from tropical lowlands to more montane ecosystems at 1,450 meters above sea level. El Pangán encompasses diverse biogeographic regions, from Chocó rainforest – territory with the highest amounts of endemism on the continent – to Andean cloud forests.
“The finding of this species constitutes the first documented record for Colombia, showing that the species is expanding its range,” states ProAves. “The Pristimantis ornatissimus is known to prefer well-preserved forests and, in both observations, the species was recorded in association with Heliconia flowers.”
For the scientifically inclined, or amateur frog spotters, this pristimantis belongs to the Strabomantidae family, and while, the vast majority of its relatives continue to inhabit Ecuadorian ranges, the presence of the amphibian on Colombian soil, proves that on-going conservation efforts, beginning with wildlife protection and climate change cooperation, cannot be restricted by physical boundaries.