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Gastrotheca riobambae Fowler, 1913

Riobamba pouched frog (Cochran, D. M. 1961.Cochran, D. M. 1961)
Riobamba marsupial frog (Frank, N. E. Ramus. 1995.Frank, N. E. Ramus. 1995)
Rana marsupial andina (Coloma, L. A., S. Ron. 2001.Coloma, L. A., S. Ron. 2001)




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  Hemiphractidae: Gastrotheca riobambae  

Fowler, H. W. 1913. Amphibians and reptiles from Ecuador, Venezuela and Yucatán. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia, 55:153–176.

Hemiphractidae: Gastrotheca riobambae   Hemiphractidae: Gastrotheca riobambae   Hemiphractidae: Gastrotheca riobambae   Hemiphractidae: Gastrotheca riobambae   Hemiphractidae: Gastrotheca riobambae
  Borde 1


It is an endemic species of Ecuador.

It is distributed in forests and valleys of northern and central Ecuador (~7310 km2) (Carchi and Chimborazo Provinces), at altitudes between 2200–3500 meters.

Type locality: "Rio Bamba, [Provincia Chimborazo,] Ecuador".

Altitudinal zones: High Andean, western temperate, eastern temperate.


Habitat and biology

Montane forests, wet and dry valleys, cultivated areas. It is found near water sources like irrigation canals, ponds, streams, marshes, etc. It has been found in Agave and in corn plantations. The female carries the embryos in a dorsal pouch and releases an average of 130 tadpoles in quiet water. One female gave birth (on October) 93 embryos (Duellman, W. E. 1974.Duellman, W. E. 1974; Duellman, W. E., D. M. Hillis. 1987.Duellman, W. E., D. M. Hillis. 1987; Almendáriz, A. G. Orcés. 2004.Almendáriz, A. G. Orcés. 2004). Under laboratory conditions, a female from San Rafael, Imbabura Province, produced 76 tadpoles that completed metamorphosis 30 days latter; the dorsal pouch was formed after five months and the males began calling in 6 months (Fitzgerald, K. T., et al. 1979.Fitzgerald, K. T., et al. 1979). A female from Ibarra, Imbabura Province, produced 124 tadpoles, which reached adulthood and reproduced after ten months. The duration of development depends on lab temperature; for example at about 20 degrees Celsius gestation lasts about 60 days and metamorphosis takes place two months later (Auber-Thomay, M. F. Letellier. 1986.Auber-Thomay, M. F. Letellier. 1986.).



See synonyms and taxonomic comments in Frost, D. R. 2007.Frost, D. R. 2007. Its sister species is Gastrotheca espeletia (Duellman, W. E., D. M. Hillis. 1987.Duellman, W. E., D. M. Hillis. 1987).


Conservation Status

Endangered (IUCN, et al. 2004.IUCN, et al. 2004).

It was a very common species. Currently populations are severely fragmented and reduced, especially for the loss of habitats due to urban growth in the valleys, climatic changes in their range, pathogens, deforestation, agriculture, livestock, burn, intensive use of pesticides on crops, plantations of pine and eucalyptus, etc. Despite being a tolerant species to change in habitat conditions, its populations are restricted only to areas where there are remnants of natural vegetation.


Presence at protected areas

In Ecuador, its geographic range overlaps with Reserva Ecológica Cayambe-Coca Reserva Ecológica Antisana, and Parque Nacional Cotopaxi.


Additional information

Hoogmoed, M. S. 1967.Hoogmoed, M. S. (1967) provides data of development in the pouch, mating and development of tadpoles (under the name G. marsupiata).

Duellman, W. E., T. H. Fritts. 1972.Duellman, W. E., T. H. Fritts. (1972) provide distribution data.

Jones, R. E., et al. 1973.Jones, R. E., et al. (1973) provide information on the formation of pouch.

Duellman, W. E. 1974.Duellman, W. E. (1974) redescribed the species and provide data on its distribution. He also considered it as a species complex.

Del Pino et al. (Del Pino, E. M., et al. 1975.1975, 1977, 1978, 1983, Del Pino, E. M., et al. 1986.1986, 1998, 1994, 1996), y del Pino (Del Pino, E. M. 1975.1975, Del Pino, E. M. 1977.1977, Del Pino, E. M. 1980.1980, Del Pino, E. M. 1983.1983, Del Pino, E. M. 1989a.1989a, Del Pino, E. M. 1989b.1989b, Del Pino, E. M. 1996.1996) provide information and discussions on reproductive adaptations, ovarian structur, hormones during incubation in the marsupial pouch, oogenesis, oocyte development and embryonic stages, the protein expression of Brachyury (T) during gastrulation, neural development, the presence of urea in the fluid in the capsular incubating pouch.

Fitzgerald, K. T., et al. 1979.Fitzgerald, K. T., et al. (1979) provide data for development in laboratory conditions, on treatment with thyroxine to stimulate metamorphosis and ontogenetic changes in coloration.

Del Pino, E. M. 1980.Del Pino, E. M. (1980) provides data on the maintenance aspects and behavior in captivity.

Schmid M., et al. 1983.Schmid M., et al. (1983) provide data heteromorphic sex chromosomes.

Boonman, J. 1985.Boonman, J. (1985) provides data on its breeding in terrariums.

Auber-Thomay, M. F. Letellier. 1986.Auber-Thomay, M. F. Letellier. (1986) provide information on the development of the tadpole to adulthood, mating, pregnancy, laying, breeding laboratory, shedding. They also provide 22 color photographs that illustrate these aspects. Auber-Thomay, M. 1986.Auber-Thomay, M. (1986) made a film about its biology.

Duellman, W. E., D. M. Hillis. 1987.Duellman, W. E., D. M. Hillis. (1987) provide a new diagnosis, illustrations ventral color patterns of populations of Chimborazo and Imbabura provinces, a lateral head illustration, and an illustration of the right foot. They also provide phylogenetic information based on data from allozymes and morphology.

Werning, H. 1999.Werning, H. (1999) provides a summary with aspects of habitat and reproduction, habitat and photographs of several individuals.

Almendáriz, A. G. Orcés. 2004.Almendáriz, A. G. Orcés. (2004) provide data on morphology, distribution and ecology.

Moya, I. M, et al. 2007.Moya, I. M, et al. (2007) provide data and compare it with other species of frogs, the blastopore formation, embryonic disc, archenteron and notochord elongation and expression of Brachyury. The reported differences indicate that the gastrulation of amphibians is modular.

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