Progress of the Gastrotheca gracilis program
at Instituto de Ecorregiones Andinas (INECOA, UNJu-CONICET)


Gastrotheca gracilis

Common Name(s)

La Banderita Marsupial Frog

Region where program is based

South America

Country where program is based


The authority that recommended this species for an ex situ program

Has a genetic analysis been performed on wild populations to define the target taxon, i.e., verify that single, viable Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESU's) that are managed as separate populations, are not confounded by cryptic species or polymorphisms?


Name of the institution managing the ex situ population

Instituto de Ecorregiones Andinas (INECOA, UNJu-CONICET)

Year the program started


Is at least some portion of the captive population maintained in range country?


Are sufficient resources available to manage the ex situ population?


Are adequate numbers of skilled staff available with the appropriate ex situ amphibian experience?


Is sufficient space available for the required population size?


Additional Support required

Additional resources would be needed for further testing of the specimens for the detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Ranavirus.

Has a Taxon Management Coordinator for the ex situ population been appointed?


Taxon Management Coordinator

Mauricio Akmentins of Instituto de Ecorregiones Andinas (INECOA, UNJu-CONICET)

Has a Taxon Management Group or Recovery Team been established?


Has a Taxon Management Plan, Recovery Plan or Species Action Statement been written?


Have Husbandry Guidelines been written?


Have any knowledge gaps in the species biology or in their interaction with potential threats been identified that could benefit from research using the ex situ population?


List of knowledge gaps

Maximum age, age of first reproduction (sexual maturity), reproductive potential of females, gestation time of larvae in the dorsal pouch (marsupium) of females.

Have founder needs been calculated using the AArk Amphibian Population Management Guidelines ?


Have sufficient potential founders been collected? ( AArk Amphibian Population Management Guidelines recommends a minimum of 20 pairs of found animals).


If sufficient founders have not been collected, is there an ongoing search for additional founders?


Is the ex situ population managed by nationals from the range country?


What tools are used to maximize retention of genetic diversity?


Has the population produced viable offspring?


Have the first generation captive-bred animals bred successfully?

Not applicable

Is the ex situ population housed in permanent isolation from other populations occurring outside its range?


Is work being supported to study and mitigate threats to the species in the wild, either by the institution or by a regional wildlife agency?


Have captive-bred or captive-reared animals been released into the wild?


If releases were undertaken, have disease screening protocols or veterinary health checks been conducted prior to releases to the wild?

Is follow-up work being carried out to monitor progress of the released animals?


Is the taxon again secure in the wild, even if it might still require some ongoing in situ management? i.e. has the need for a captive assurance population been obviated such that we can call this a successfully terminated captive rescue program?


2022: In January and February this year, we obtained two cohorts of tadpoles for the population supplementation program in Reserva Provincial Los Sosa. 2021: Environmental and population status monitoring is continuing. During the 2020/2021 reproductive season, no collections or releases of individuals were made in the population supplementation program due to restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020: We began 2020 with a successful release into the wild of a cohort of froglets which had been raised in the Reserva Experimental Horco Molle facilities in Argentina, for a second consecutive year. Normally, the main ex situ activities of the population supplementation program span from December to March, when the female marsupial frogs release the tadpoles from their dorsal pouch in temporary water bodies, and for this year, we were able to “shut down” the breeding program during the intermediate months. We hope that the restrictive COVID-19 measures will be relaxed soon, and then we can resume our planned ex situ activities for 2021. The only in situ activity that continued during 2020 is the long-term passive monitoring of the rediscovered populations of La Banderita Marsupial Frog in the Aconquija National Park. This monitoring was established in 2014 when the species was recorded for the first time in the protected areas and was upgraded in 2019 by incorporating passive acoustic monitoring techniques with automated recording units. 2019: We collected the first cohort of forty-seven La Banderita Marsupial Frog tadpoles, in Gosner’s stage ranging from 31 to 35 and we obtained a survival rate to froglet stage of about 90%. A second cohort of twenty tadpoles is currently being raised in the breeding facilities. We will release the post-metamorphic frogs to the wild in the same breeding site that they were collected, after the quarantine period. We will select at least ten froglets from the two raised cohorts to start the conservation education breeding program (with no prospect of releasing these specimens into the wild). These specimens will act as species ambassadors and for scientific research of biology and behaviour of the species
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