Amphibians and Reptiles of Bolivia

The Phrynopus guillei frog, which is known only from the Bolivian Andes.

Described in 2007, Phrynopus guillei is known only from the Bolivian Andes. This species was found in a high elevation cloud forest in Bautista Savedra Province, Bolivia. © Raoul Bain

Since 1998, the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) has been active in Bolivia surveying amphibians (frogs, salamanders, and caecilians), and reptiles (snakes, lizards, turtles, and crocodiles). This geographically and biologically complex country, which includes a rich diversity of ecosystems from glacial ice fields to rain-forests to grasslands, has set aside ten percent of its land for conservation protection.

Bolivian resource managers and planners require detailed surveys of critical habitats within these vast, diverse areas to provide them with baseline data for management and monitoring. To assist with this task, the CBC initiated the Conservación de la Biodiversidad para un Manejo Integrado (COBIMI), or Biodiversity Conservation through Integrated Management. This is a collaborative effort, with the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (La Paz), the Colección Boliviana de Fauna, and the Museo de Historia Natural Noel Kempff Mercado (Santa Cruz), to map biological diversity, and its distribution, zone for resource use, monitor impacts from agriculture and resource extraction, and develop outreach programs to encourage broad participation in conservation.

A Chaco water frog, endemic to Bolivia and recognized as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Chaco water frog (Telmatobius verrucosus). This Bolivian endemic is recognized as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because of its fragmented range and the continued decline in extent and quality of its wetland habitat. © Raoul Bain

Our researchers have contributed directly to these aims by surveying for amphibians and reptiles along the Amboró-Madidi corridor of the Bolivian Andes — a biodiversity hotspot highlighted for immediate conservation action. Project scientists have focused on three sites for their core efforts: Apolobamba National Integrated Management Area, in northern Bolivia's Apolobamba mountain range; Cotapata National Park and Integrated Management Area, 70 km from the city of La Paz; and Amboró National Park and Integrated Management Area, near Santa Cruz. These surveys include collecting, and identifying specimens in the field, and working with Bolivian counterparts to develop teaching and research collections, and housing voucher and tissue specimens for study. We also train local biologists in field and curatorial techniques. Data from this primary research has been used to update our knowledge of natural history of this fauna, including describing new taxa.

Related Publications
  • De la Riva, I., J. Aparicio, and J.N. Ríos. 2005. New Species of Telmatobius (Anura: Leptodactylidae) from Humid Paramo of Peru and Bolivia. Journal of Herpetology 39: 409-416.
  • Faivovich, J., C.F.B. Haddad, P.C.A. Garcia, D.R. Frost, J.A. Campbell, and W.C. Wheeler. 2005. Systematic review of the frog family Hylidae, with special reference to Hylinae: Phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revisionBulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 294: 1-240.
  • Frost, D. R., T. Grant, J. Faivovich, R. H. Bain, A. Haas, C. F. B. Haddad, R. O. de Sa, A. Channing, M. Wilkinson, S. C. Donnellan, C. J. Raxworthy, J. A. Campbell, B. L. Blotto, P. Moler, R. C. Drewes, R. A. Nussbaum, J. D. Lynch, D. M. Green, and W. C. Wheeler. 2006. The amphibian tree of lifeBulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 297:1-370.
  • Lötters, S., S. Reichle, J. Faivovich, and R.H. Bain, 2005. The stream-dwelling tadpole of Hyloscirtus charazani (Anura: Hylidae) from Andean Bolivia. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Development. 40(3):181-185. PDF
  • De La Riva, Ignacio. 2007. Bolivian frogs of the genus Phrynopus, with the description of twelve new species (Anura: Brachycephalidae). Herpetological Monographs. 21: 241-277.
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