Two New Frog Species Discovered in Venezuela, One Named after James Cameron

Belgian biologist has described two new colorful species of frogs of the genus Pristimantis from northern South America.

Pristimantis jamescameroni. Image credit: Philippe J.R. Kok.

Pristimantis jamescameroni. Image credit: Philippe J.R. Kok.

One of the newly discovered species is named Pristimantis jamescameroni, in honor of film maker and explorer James Cameron.

“The specific epithet is a noun in the genitive case, honoring the Canadian film director, producer, environmentalist and explorer Mr James F. Cameron in recognition of his efforts to alert the general public to environmental problems through pioneering high quality blockbuster movies and adventurous documentaries,” Dr Philippe Kok, a scientist with both the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and the Free University of Brussels, wrote in an article in the European Journal of Taxonomy.

“James Cameron also encourages people to go vegan – a diet excluding animal products, one of the effective ways to reduce human environmental impacts such as global climate change.”

Pristimantis jamescameroni is a tiny (adults measure 20 to 27 mm in total length), orangish-brown frog covered with numerous tiny white flecks. It is only known from the summit of an isolated table-top mountain (tepui) in Bolívar state, Venezuela.

The second species, Pristimantis imthurni, is named in honor of the British colonial official, author, explorer, botanist, and photographer Sir Evrard im Thurn.

Pristimantis imthurni. Image credit: Philippe J.R. Kok.

Pristimantis imthurni. Image credit: Philippe J.R. Kok.

“Sir Everard im Thurn was the first to climb a major tepui (Mount Roraima in December 1884), along with British surveyor Harry Perkins, a Pomeroon Amerindian named Gabriel, and five other unnamed Amerindians.”

“Im Thurn’s expedition on Roraima and his numerous discoveries were partly eclipsed by the popular novel that they inspired: ‘The Lost World’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

Pristimantis imthurni is a 23 mm long, yellow frog with chocolate brown mid-dorsal stripe and chocolate brown band on flanks. It is only known from the summit of Ptaritepui in Bolívar state.

Both species considered as endangered owing to their very restricted range and to the sensitivity of tepui ecosystems to global warming.

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Bibliographic information: Philippe J.R. Kok. 2013. Two new charismatic Pristimantis species (Anura: Craugastoridae) from the tepuis of “The Lost World” (Pantepui region, South America). European Journal of Taxonomy 60: 1-24; doi: 10.5852/ejt.2013.60