A spectacular new species of Hyloscirtus (Anura: Hylidae) from the Cordillera de Los Llanganates in the eastern Andes of Ecuador
We have discovered a spectacular new species of frog in the genus Hyloscirtus, belonging to the H. larinopygion species group. The adult female is characterized by a mostly black body with large bright red spots on the dorsal and ventral surface, extremities, and toe pads. The adult male is unknown. Small juveniles are characterized by a yellow body with variable black markings on the flanks; while one larger juvenile displayed irregular orange or yellow marks on a black background color, with light orange or yellow toe pads. Additional distinctive external morphological features such as cloacal ornamentation are described, and some osteological details are imaged and analyzed. The performed phylogeny places the new species as the sister to a clade consisting of ten taxa, all of which are part of the H. larinopygion group. We use genetic distances to fit the new species into a published time-calibrated phylogeny of this group; our analysis based on the published chronology suggests that the divergence of the new species from its known congeners pre-dates the Quaternary period. The new species is currently only known only from Cerro Mayordomo, in Fundación EcoMinga´s Machay Reserve, at 2,900 m in the eastern Andes of Tungurahua province, Ecuador, near the southern edge of Los Llanganates National Park, but its real distribution may be larger.