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The Macaya breast-spot frog, Eleutherodactylus thorectes, is a frog from the large, diverse, New World frog family Leptodactylidae. Its common name highlights the distinctive thoracic spot found on most individuals. The genus Eleutherodactylus has the distinction of being the largest vertebrate genus, while E. thorectes has the distinction of being one of the smallest of the world’s frogs, with a snout-vent length between 12-15mm. Endemic to Southwestern Haiti, E. thorectes has a very restricted range, inhabiting less than 100 sq kms in high-elevation (1,700-2,340 m.) montane pine and cloud forest in the remote Morne Macaya and Morne Formon peaks in the Massif de la Hotte mountain range. Eleutherodactylus thorectes has been placed in the subgenus Euhyas, series bakeri, along with several other species primarily from the La Hotte range.
The Macaya Breast-Spot Frog is a terrestrial species and undergoes direct development, hatching from eggs into a miniature adult with no larval tadpole stage. The females carry one of the smallest clutches of oviparous amphibians, usually three eggs, which are laid on the ground. This species was last seen in 1991, and its population size is unknown. Its numbers are expected to decline 80% in the next 10 years due to its restricted range, the intense pressure on local people to develop its environment for charcoal lumber and agricultural land and the fact that the species is now comprised of one small subpopulation. The IUCN has identified E. thorectes as critically endangered, and along with the Zoological Society of London listed it as one of the world’s 100 most endangered species in a 2012 report. Conservationists call for management of the habitat to preserve the area and its species (there currently is none), and also for further surveys to better estimate the population size.
(Hedges 1988; Hedges et al. 2010; Heinicke et al. 2007; Wikipedia 2013)