Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
This frog is moderate-sized with a robust body, a snout-vent length of 70.8 mm, and long, slender limbs. This species has only been described from one adult specimen. The head length is one-third of the snout-vent length. The snout is shortened, and the nostrils are closer to the snout tip than to the eye. This frog lacks a tympanum, but has large, oval paratoid glands. The back has many prominent oval and round glands, while the underside is smooth. The forelimbs are thin with folds of skin on the upper arm, elongated glands extending from the elbow to the hand, and free fingers. There is a noticeable inner palmar tubercle. Relative finger lengths are as follows: 3 > 4 > 2 > 1. The hind limbs are also thin, with a tarsal fold present and webbing on the toes extending to the toe tips. The inner metatarsal tubercle is flat and faint, whereas the outer metartarsal tubercle is absent. The subarticular tubercles are faint. Relative toe lengths are as follows: 4 > 5 = 3 > 2 > 1 (Formas and Veloso 1982).
The larvae have a sinistral spiracle facing backwards and slightly up. When viewed from the side, the body is elliptical-shaped. The snout tip is truncate, whereas the tail tip is smoothed out. The mouth is located on the underside and is about 2/3 of the maximum body width. There are two large elliptical glands behind the eyes, as well as several smaller round glands going down the back (Diaz et al. 1983).
This species has a unique orange-spotted coloration in life that easily distinguishes it from any other frog species. In preservative, other Telmatobufo species have a few coloration differences that distinguish it from T. venustus. The back is brown in T. bullocki and gray in T. australis. The underside is light gray in T. australis with uneven dark spots, and the underside is spotted brown in T. bullocki. The outer edge of the fifth toe in T. venustus is wider in length than in T. bullocki, and lacks glands in that area. The toe tips are rounded in T. venustus versus pointed in T. bullocki and T. australis (Formas and Veloso 1982).
In life, it is black with orange spotting on the head, back, paratoids, and limbs. There are two orange stripes behind the paratoids that run down both sides of the midline of the body. There is some yellow spotting on the sides of the body, as well as the backside of the lower thighs, the backside of the feet, and the inner forearm. The fingertips and toe tips are yellowish-orange. In preservative, adult specimens are white, and juvenile specimens are black with uneven white spots (Formas and Veloso 1982).
In life, the larvae are dark with orange spots on the head and back. In formalin, the coloration fades to dark brown (Diaz et al. 1983).
Besides the aforementioned color differences between the adult and juvenile specimens in preservative, no other information is available on variation within the species (Formas and Veloso 1982).
The species authority is: Philippi, R. A. (1899). Descripciones breves de dos nuevas especies de sapos (Bufo). Anales Universidad de Chile 104:723-725.
This species was originally ascribed to the genus Bufo in 1899 by Philippi. In 1972, it was placed in the genus Aruncus by Donoso-Barros. Lynch placed this species in the genus Telmatobufo in 1978. Formas and Veloso wrote a detailed taxonomical description of this species in 1982 and using osteological analysis, confirmed its placement in the Telmatobufo genus (Formas and Veloso 1982).
The first description of the larvae was in 1983, which was 84 years after the original species description (Fenolio et al. 2011).