Alejandro Arteaga, a 19-year-old university student, talks about his discovery of a new frog species living in Ecuador’s Andean highlands, the Bamboo Rain-Peeper (Pristimantis bambu). He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how he and his colleagues traipsed through the forest late at night searching for tiny creatures with the aid of headlamps. The result was many seemingly identical little, brown frogs. At first, Alejandro grouped them as the same species, Mountaineer Rain-Peepers (Pristimantis orestes). However, after much hard work and observation, he uncovered differences in their songs and ecological preferences. He soon came to realize that those frogs that had a different song also were restricted to patches of bamboo forest, while the other seemingly identical frogs lived in old-growth montane forests and paramos. Neither habitats, nor songs overlapped. Discovering a species new to science is not an easy task but as, Alejandro notes, in the right place, with the right info, and with the right assistance, the task becomes much easier, and even fun.
Alejandro Arteaga is an experienced and talented 19 year-old student from Venezuela studying biology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. He’s also the founder Tropical Herping, a novel initiative striving to discover, document and preserve tropical reptiles and amphibians through sustainable tourism, scientific research and effective environmental education. This episode of “The WildLife” was posted on September 5, 2011.
The WildLife is a show that explores the mysteries of the animal world through interviews with scientists, authors and other wildlife investigators. It airs every Monday from 1-2 pm EST on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont.