Barrio's Frog
(Insuetophrynus acarpicus)
Barrio’s frog is only known from a single locality. It lives around streams, where it breeds some time between January and May, although both adults and tadpoles are not strong swimmers. However, adults are powerful jumpers and, if threatened, will move very fast, leaping into the middle of the stream and seeking shelter under submerged stones or along the stream bank. During the day they remain hidden under stones in areas with running water. At night they emerge and can be found on the stones in the stream or along the bank. This species is threatened by habitat destruction resulting from wood extraction and the establishment of pine plantations.
Urgent Conservation Actions
Protection of the remaining habitat; further survey work; development of a Conservation Action Plan.
Mehuin, Valdivia Province, Chile.
Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Anura
Family: Ceratophryidae
The Ceratophryidae is a moderate sized family of frogs containing around 86 species. This group was formerly included in the much lager Leprodactylidae family (commonly known as the “Leptodactylid frogs”). As a group, the Leptodactylidae has been reorganised recently and split into a number of different families, including the Ceratophryidae. It is now thought that the redefined Leptodactylidae diverged from all other amphibain groups about 60 to 70 million years ago, five milllion years after the extinction of the dinosaurs. It seems the Ceratophryidae also diverged around 60 million years ago from their closest relative, the Hylidae of “treefrogs”, which is when the zebras and the rhinos last shared a common ancestor.
This species is a moderate sized frog, with a total length of around 47.9 mm in males and 42.6 mm in females. The body is robust, with muscular arms and legs. The fingers are short, thick and unwebbed. In males, spines are present of the first finger (nuptial patch to aid grip during mating), and similar formations are visible on the first and second toe. The toes are thinner than the fingers, have rounded tips, and are partially webbed. The head is wider than it is long, with a broad, rounded snout. The eyes are large and fairly prominent. The upper jaw overhangs the lower jaw, and eardrums are visible, but not very large. The skin of the dorsal (or upper) surfaces of the body is quite granular or warty, and the ventral (or lower) region is also very granular, although the throat is fairly smooth. Pectoral nuptial patches are visible on both sides of the chest in males, supporting large, cone-like, black spines. The back is reddish brown in colour with little whitish granulations. The hind legs have transverse darker bands. The throat is pinkish yellow in colour, and the stomach is also pale.
Barrio’s frog is nocturnal and may be seen feeding by the sides of streams during the night. It reproduces in streams, with the eggs hatch into free-swimming tadpoles that develop over a 10-12 month period. Very few aspects of the life history and habitat of this species are known. However, breeding is thought to occur after January, possibly nearer to May when the smallest tadpoles of this species have been found. Barrio’s frog is a strongly associated with streams, although both tadpoles and adults are not good swimmers. Individuals are strongly built and move very fast, jumping into the middle of the stream and seeking shelter under submerged stones or along the stream bank if threatened. During the day they remain hidden under stones in areas with running water. At night they emerge and can be found on the stones in the stream or along the bank. Vocalisations have not been detected in the field, although males make weak calls in captivity.

Several individuals of different sizes and, in some cases, even tadpoles have been observed sheltering under the same stones. Tadpoles have been located under stones in muddy areas close to the stream bank with shallow water and slow current, but they have not been observed swimming freely. However, they move rapidly in the mud by strong tail movements, seeking shelter in recesses between stones. They are known to feed on mud mixed with organic debris.
It occurs in small streams and under stones, and does not tolerate deforestation. Preferred habitats are mountain gorge streams where the bottom is sandy and pebbly, and the water is very clear and fast. They also require semi-submerged stones to hide under. Barrio’s frog has been found to inhabit water temperatures of 10-13°C.
This species is known only from Mehuin in the Valdivia Province of Chile. Barrio’s frog has not been found elsewhere, despite survey work. Its altitudinal range is from 50-200 metres above sea level.
Population Estimate
Barrio’s frog is locally common in discrete populations, and was last recorded in 2003.
Population Trend
This species is thought to be in decline by the IUCN Red List of Threatened species.
Barrio’s frog is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because its extent of occurrence is less than 100 km sq. and its area of occupancy is less than 10 km sq., all individuals are in a single location, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in Valdivia Province, Chile.
The species is threatened by habitat destruction resulting from wood extraction and the establishment of pine plantations.
Conservation Underway
Barrio’s frog is not known from any protected areas, and there are currently no conservation measures underway for this species.
Conservation Proposed
Habitat protection a priority for this species, and further field surveys are required to closely monitor its status in the wild. A Conservation Action Plan should be developed for Barrio’s frog, addressing all major threats to this species and recommending ways of mitigating them.

In addition to conserving native habitat for this species, the IUCN Technical Guidelines for the Management of Ex situ Populations, part of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, recommend that all Critically Endangered species should have an ex situ population managed to guard against the extinction of the species. An ex situ population is ideally a breeding colony of a species maintained outside of its natural habitat, giving rise to individuals from that species that are sheltered from problems associated with their situation in the wild. This can be located within the species’ range or in a foreign country that has the facilities to support a captive breeding programme for that species. Since Barrio’s frog is categorised as Critically Endangered, the possibility of a captive breeding programme for this species should be investigated.
AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation [web application]. 2006. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: amphibiaweb. Accessed: 08 December 2006.

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Groombridge, B. (ed.) 1994. 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Halliday, T. and Adler, C. (eds.). 2002. The new encyclopedia of reptiles and amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

IUCN, Conservation International and NatureServe. 2006. Global Amphibian Assessment. . Accessed on 08 December 2006.

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Servicio Agrícola Ganadero. 1998. Cartilla der caza. Subdepartamento de vida silvestre (DIPROREN). Imp. I. Flores Santiago de Chile.

Veloso, A. and Navarro, J. 1988. Lista Sistemática y distribución geográfica de anfibios y reptiles de Chile. Bollettino del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali - Torino 6(2): 481-539.

Veloso, A., Núñez, H., Núñez, J. & Formas, R. 2004. Insuetophrynus acarpicus. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 06 July 2007.

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