6 | FrogLog 23 (4), Number 116 (October 2015)
Twelve years have elapsed since the rst workshop aimed
at assessing the extinction risk of Chilean amphibians oc-
curred, with their resulting classication being published
in The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM (Universidad de
Concepción, October 2003). Since then, new and dierent lines of
research have contributed additional knowledge for this taxonomic
group (1–4). Much of this work has comprised of updates on dis-
tribution ranges, identication of relevant threats, evaluation of
taxonomic identity and studies on ecological features for several
anuran species inhabiting Chile (salamanders and caecilians are not
present in Chile). There are also newly described endemic species
that have increased the number of species for the country. Given
this and the fact that IUCN Red List assessments have a shelf life
of ten years or less, it was imperative to make eorts to update the
conservation status of Chilean amphibians so that a valid list was
current and useful.
Organized by the Chilean branch of the IUCN SSC Amphibian
Specialist Group (ASG), an assessment process to update the con-
servation status of Chilean amphibians for The IUCN Red List of
Threatened SpeciesTM was initiated in May 2015. The assessment
process followed three steps: 1) compilation of existing published
information, 2) a public consultation period to collect any relevant
information needed for the extinction risk assessment, and 3) an
expert workshop facilitated by two experienced Specialist Group
Chairs and the participation of 19 local herpetologists belonging to
dierent institutions, including academia, NGOs and government
agencies (Fig. 1). The workshop was hosted by the Universidad An-
dres Bello (UNAB), Santiago, Chile, on 9–10 July 2015. The event
was funded by the Outreach Scheme of the Dirección de Extensión
Académica-UNAB, with additional funding kindly provided by the
IUCN Species Survival Commission.
At the time of writing this note, the assessments were being pre-
pared for the next step in the assessment process, an external re-
view on the application of the IUCN Red List methodology based
on existing documentation. Once this process is completed, species
proles, along with their range maps, will be submitted for publica-
tion on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. Although there
is a possibility that changes could arise from the review process,
workshop results are summarized here.
Sixty-one species were assessed, encompassing 97% of the na-
tive anuran species previously identied for the country (5). One
assessment concluded that Telmatobius peruvianus is not present in
Chile (although it is still present in Peru), as previous records from
Putre in northern Chile, have been assigned to T. marmoratus based
on phylogenetic analyses (6). Also, the recently revalidated Telmato-
bius laevis (7), was not assessed at the workshop given that no new
data exist for this species since its original description in 1902 and
therefore to date no natural population can be assigned to this spe-
cies. From the species evaluated, 72% were identied as endemic
to Chile. If species having marginal distribution in Argentina are
included, this percentage increases to 90%. In addition, four species
were assessed for the rst time; three recently discovered species:
Alsodes cantillanensis (8), Eupsophus altor (9) and Telmatobufo ignotus
(10); and one taxonomic re-validation: Alsodes coppingeri (11).
Changes in the number of species within each conservation cat-
egory are shown in Fig. 2. The percentage of Threatened species
(i.e., Critically Endangered [CR], Endangered [EN] and Vulnerable
[VU]) increased from 38 to 47%. This increase is explained by the
addition into the Threatened categories of recently discovered or
previously described Data Decient (DD) species (Fig. 2C). It is
important to note that DD does not mean that the species is not
of conservation concern, but appropriate data on its distribution
and/or population is needed to make a consistent assessment of
its risk of extinction. Almost half of the assessed species (45%) ex-
perienced a change in category. Seven DD species changed their
category as follows: Least Concern (LC; one species), VU (2 spp.),
EN (1 sp.) and CR (3 spp.). The species that changed from DD to
CR were Telmatobius dankoi, T. fronteriensis and T. vilamensis, all
ASG Chile Leads Update of the Extinction Risk
of Chilean Amphibians for The IUCN Red List of
1Centro de Investigación para la Sustentabilidad, Universidad Andres Bello,
Santiago, Chile, 2ONG Ranita de Darwin, Santiago, Chile, 3Departamento
de Zoología, Universidad de Concepción, 4Departamento de Ciencias
Básicas, Campus Los Ángeles, Universidad de Concepción, 5Red Chilena
de Herpetología, 6Centro de Estudios Agrarios y Ambientales, Valdivia,
Chile, 7Instituto de Ciencias Marinas y Limnológicas, Universidad Austral
de Chile, Valdivia, Chile, 8Centro de Gestión Ambiental y Biodiversidad,
Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Pecuarias, Universidad de Chile,
Santiago, Chile, 9Laboratorio de Genética y Evolución, Facultad de
Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile, 10Instituto de Ecología y
Biodiversidad, 11Programa de Fisiología y Biofísica, Facultad de Medicina,
Universidad de Chile, 12Instituto de Ciencias Ambientales y Evolutivas,
Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile, 13Programa de Bachillerato en
Ciencias, Universidad Santo Tomás, Santiago, Chile, 14Universidad del Bío-
Bío, Chillán, Chile 15IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group.
By 1Claudio Soto-Azat, 1,2Andrés Valenzuela-Sánchez, 3Juan Carlos Ortiz, 4Helen Díaz-Páez, 3Camila Castro, 5Andrés Charrier, 3Claudio Correa,
6,7César Cuevas, 8Gabriel Lobos, 9,10Marco A. Mendez, 11Mario Penna, 1AlexandraPeñael-Ricaurte,12Felipe Rabanal, 13Claudia M. Vélez-R,
14Marcela A. Vidal & 15Ariadne Angulo.
Fig. 1: Herpetologists at the workshop, Universidad Andres Bello. From left to right in
upper row: Mario Penna, Edgardo Flores, Juan Carlos Ortiz, Claudia Vélez, Camila Castro,
Felipe Rabanal, Claudio Correa, Marco Mendez, Sandra Díaz, Mariella Superina, Reinaldo
Avilés, César Cuevas, Claudio Soto, Andrés Charrier and Ariadne Angulo. Lower row:
Andrés Valenzuela and Charif Tala. Absent from the picture: Marcela Vidal, Helen Diaz
and Alexandra Peñafiel. Photo: Claudio Soto-Azat.
FrogLog 23 (4), Number 116 (October 2015) | 7
from northern Chile (Fig. 3). When DD species are not considered,
changes in categories involve six up-listings and 12 down-listings.
Among the latter, only two species were removed from a Threat-
ened status. Two CR species were considered as Possibly Extinct
(a tag used in conjunction with the CR category to describe those
instances where there is a possibility a species may be extinct):
Rhinoderma rufum and Telmatobius pefauri. In fact, R. rufum has not
been recorded since 1980, despite numerous attempts to nd it
(12,13). The reasons for the sudden decline of this species are not
fully understood, but the extensive habitat loss across its historical
distribution and possibly chytridiomycosis could have played an
important role (13). On the other hand, Telmatobius pefauri is only
known from its holotype, collected in 1976 at the locality of Mur-
muntani in northern Chile (14). This species has not been observed
since, in spite of attempts to nd it.
The main threats identied for Chilean amphibians (3,4,15) are:
a) water scarcity due to anthropogenic modication of natural
systems, b) mining activities in northern and central Chile; c) im-
pacts related to agriculture, d) residential development in central
and southern Chile, e) exotic tree plantations, and f) anthropogenic
res in southern Chile, which cause loss of habitat and refuges. In
addition, livestock pressure and invasive species (particularly sal-
monids and the African Clawed Frog Xenopus laevis) were cited as
threats to amphibians across the country.
Following IUCN criteria for assessing species in one of the
Threatened categories, most (76%) of the amphibians were catego-
rized by their restricted geographic range (criteria B1 and B2). An-
other 10% were assessed according to a population size reduction
(criteria A) and 14% following very small or restricted populations
(criteria C). This overview highlights an imperative necessity for
local herpetologists to conduct studies and generate data on popu-
lation ecology, helping make assessment more informative in the
future, with the nal purpose of contributing to the conservation
of these species.
We are very grateful to all those herpetologists who made
possible this fruitful assessment process. Special thanks to Dr.
Mariella Superina, Chair of the IUCN SSC Anteater, Sloth and
Armadillo Specialist Group, who acted as expert facilitator at the
workshop. We would also wish to extend our acknowledgements
to all the people who supported the assessment process, providing
valuable information through the open consultation period, and to
the IUCN SSC Amphibian Red List Authority and IUCN Red List
Unit for processing these assessments. We believe the workshop
results will be an important contribution to the conservation of
these amazing animals.
1. F. E. Rabanal, J. J. Nuñez, Anbios de los bosques templados de Chile
(Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile, 2008).
2. M. A. Vidal, A. Labra, Eds, Herpetología de Chile (Science Verlag, Santiago,
3. C. Soto-Azat, A. Valenzuela-Sánchez, Eds, Conservación de anbios de Chile
(Univ. Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile, 2012).
4. G. Lobos et al., Anbios de Chile, un desafío para la conservación (Ministerio
del Medio Ambiente, Fundación Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Pecuarias
de la Univ. de Chile y Red Chilena de Herpetología, Santiago de Chile, 2013).
5. D. R. Frost, Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0.
6. P. A. Saéz et al., Zool. J. Lin. Soc., 171, 769 (2014).
7. C. C. Cuevas, Herpetol. J., 23, 145 (2013).
8. A. Charrier, C. Correa, C. Castro, M. A. Méndez, Zootaxa, 3,915, 540 (2015).
9. J. J. Nuñez, F. Rabanal, J. R. Formas, Zootaxa 3,305, 53 (2012).
10. C. C. Cuevas, Gayana 74, 102 (2010).
11. J. R. Formas, J. J. Nuñez, C. C. Cuevas, Rev. Chil. Hist. Nat., 81, 3 (2008).
12. J. Bourke, K. Busse, W Böhme, North-West. J. Zool. 8, 99 (2012).
13. C. Soto-Azat et al., PLOS One 8: e79862 (2013).
14. A. Veloso, L. Trueb, Occas. Pap. Mus. Nat. Hist. (Lawrence), 1 (1976).
Fig. 2: Percentage of Chilean amphibian species within each conservation category at A)
present (IUCN Red List assessments, accessed on 20 August 2015), and B) under the new
proposed assessments. The changes in these percentages per category are presented
in C), where negative values (blue) indicate a decrease in the percentage of species
within the category, while the positive values (red) indicates an increase. CR: Critically
Endangered; VU: Vulnerable; EN: Endangered; NT: Near Threatened; LC: Least Concern;
DD: Data Deficient.
Fig. 3: Telmatobius vilamensis from northern Chile. Previously assessed as Data Deficient
and now proposed as Critically Endangered as a result of the Chilean IUCN Red List
workshop. Photo: Felipe Rabanal.