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Ranitomeya abdita (Myers & Daly, 1976)

Ranitomeya abdita

This species, ranked as »critically endangered« (CR) on the Red List and by The Global Amphibian Assessment, inhabits the eastern slope of the volcano Reventador at 1,700 m a.s.l. in the Napo Province of Ecuador. Its natural habitat is the cool, dense montane forest with low, moss- and bromelaid-laden trees, relative humidity levels and high amounts of precipitation, where they live in the dense herbaceous ground cover. Their natural habitat has average temperatures varying between 15°C during the day in cloudy weather and around 25°C during sunshine, while it can cool down to 8-12°C at night.

The female specimen can grow up to 17.7 mm and males up to 17.3 mm in lenght. The body is uniformly blackish to dark bronze-colored with bright golden orange spots on the posterior areas of the upper arm and thigh.
There are no information yet available on their diet, terrarium or husbandry and breeding, while only a single larvae was found in the leaf axil of a terrestrial bromeliad.

The Ranitomeya abdita seems to have diappeared from its natural habitat together with may other frog species, as many herpetologists have unsuccessfully tried to find this frog since the late 1980s. The most obvious explanation might be drawn from the presence of chytridiomycosis in northeastern parts of the Ecuadorian Andes whis was revealed by the material preserved in alcohol. However, this region has also been experiencing a lot of volcanic activity. Eruptions and mudslides are therefore common, and the volcanic ash found in the leaf axils of bromeliads also has been discussed as a possible cause for the disappearance of this frog.

On the eastern Amazon versant of the Andes, this species is the only representative of the R. minuta group. Another Amazon species is Minyobates steyermarki (formerly Dendrbates steyermarki and a member of the former Dendrobates minutus) but that is possibly not more closely related to the species living on the Pacific side of the Andes.
Genetic analyses whether R. abdita is more closely related to the Pacific species or M. Steyermarki would therefore be interesting. The same could possibly also apply to some Andean Ranitomeya (e.g., R. virolinensis) as well as »Dendrobates« mysteriosus.