The natural history of most species of Telmatobius that live in the Altiplano of the Andes is unknown due to the difficulty of performing long-term studies and the logistics of working in these remote areas with extreme environmental conditions. One of these anurans inhabits the springs of the Ascotán salt flat of Chile. Here, we provide for the first time information on its distribution, habitat, microhabitat, density, diet and reproductive activity. Suitable habitat for the specie is restricted to a few springs that drain into the salt flat. Amphibian density was variable among springs and seasons and diet was composed mainly of bottom-dwelling invertebrates. We also found evidence of selection for some benthonic prey. Reproductive activity occurred mainly at night. Larvae were found during the whole year, which suggests a long larval developmental period. The salt flat is under strong anthropic pressure, although so far this anuran has managed to persist in spite of habitat perturbations. Our biological and ecological data might increase our ability to act and protect this high Andean anuran species.
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23 April 2018
Temporal Gap Between Knowledge and Conservation Needs in High Andean Anurans: The Case of the Ascotán Salt Flat Frog in Chile (Anura: Telmatobiidae: Telmatobius)
Jorge F. Perez-Quezada