Discovering Species

Artibeus lituratus species of bat found on the Nangaritza, Ecuador expedition. © Carlos Boada
Artibeus lituratus species of bat found on the Nangaritza, Ecuador expedition.
© Carlos Boada
Tepuyes of the Upper Nangaritza River, Ecuador

In April 2009, CI traveled with a team of international scientists to southwestern Ecuador to survey Tepuyes of the Upper Nangaritza River and Cordillera del Cóndor, Provincia de Zamora-Chinchipe.

DISPATCHES FROM THE FIELD: Follow along with scientists through videos, maps and photos of the area.

Significant Findings

Cinchona sp.
Cinchona sp.

At least 150 plant species were recorded, with at least two species potentially new to science. Researchers also collected a species previously known only from a few collections from the region of Mapiri, Bolivia on the eastern slopes of the Andes.

Preliminary findings strengthen the theory that the study area has a high floristic diversity and high endemism.

Atelopus sp.
Atelopus sp.
Glass frog
Glass or Crystal frog

Reptiles and Amphibians

Four amphibians species potentially new to science were discovered: Dendrobates sp., Pristimantis sp., Osteocephalus sp., Bolitoglossa sp..

One lizard species potentially new to science was found, Enyalioides sp.

IN PHOTOS: View a gallery of species found on this expedition.

Herpetologists were very pleased to discover healthy population of Atelopus sp. This genus of amphibians has undergone drastic population declines and/or extinctions in the Americas. This is only the third population of this species found in Ecuador.

Nymphagus chancas, a glass frog, was recorded for the first time in Ecuador. This species is only known from one locality in northeastern Peru.


Range extensions, either elevationally or latitudinally, were recorded for at least 10 species of birds. Heliangelus regalis, or Royal Solángel, was recorded. This species was first found in Ecuador a year ago in the same region of Nangaritza.

Katydids and phasmids

At least 7 species potentially new to science were found, two of which represent new genera. Scientists may have also rediscovered Loja laevis, a species that had not been observed since its original description more than 100 years ago.

White-faced Gnome Katydid

Only two females have been found of this tiny species.

Emerald-legged Katydid

This katydid has strongly reduced wings and in close contact with the female, the male appears to rely on vibration signals produced by rapid body shivering.

Typophyllum sp. nov.

The group of “little walking leaves” has peculiar calling songs, which are almost pure sine waves with a very narrow frequency band.

Short-winged Ringfoot

This short-winged katydid is potentially new to science and possibly its own new genus as well, related to Brachyteleutias.

Diacanthodis sp.

This beautiful katydid with the spiny crest is potentially new to science.

Mystron sp. nov.

The genus Mystron has been described in 1999 for two new Ecuadorian species. This species is different and potentially new to science.

Myopophyllum sp. nov.

The genus Myopophyllum contains only one described species from the Andes of central Ecuador.

Human Well-being 

  • Educated the people that live in the area about their ecosystem and its importance to them and the region.

  • Gathered data which will support the proposal by the local people for stronger protection which will enable them to zone the area for strict protection, research, tourism and other livelihood activities.

  • Involved the local community in the Socio-bosque program which aims to provide alternative livelihoods that benefit communities and promote conservation.
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