Ranatomeya sirensis

Ranitomeya sirensis (lamasi)
Aichenger, 1991

The brilliantly colored, predominately striped Peruvian species of Ranatomeya known as lamasi (a junior synonym for sirensis) were reclassified in 2011 by Brown & Twomey et al as a result of bioacoustic, genetic and behavioral findings.[1]

It is interesting to note that the frog originally known as sirensis and considered as the nominant morph for the species bears no physical resemblance to the colorful, striped frogs that we’ve come to know as the lamasi.   It is a striking, bi-colored frog with reddish-orange color covering the head and dorsum ending in a wedge at the vent, and a platinum-green color underneath and on the legs.  A picture of this frog can be seen here.  This color pattern is seen often in a number of Oophaga species, such as granulifera, Escudo de Veraguas and various morphs of pumilio.  Nominant sirensis are rarely seen in the wild, and are not legally available to private collectors.

Until the reclassification, the bright yellow, black-striped morph with bright blue legs with black spots was considered the nominant morph. This frog is from the Tingo María highlands and is still referred to by many as the ‘standard lamasi’.  These are now variously known as Ranatomeya sirensis ‘Tingo María’, R. sirensis ‘Highland’, or most often, highland sirensis.

Whatever you call this morph, of all of the “lamasi” in U.S. collections, it is by far the rarest and most sought-after.  It also has the distinction of being the most challenging to keep and breed, and the cost of this frog is reflective of these challenges.  Due to over-collecting to the point of near extinction in the wild, it has not been legally imported for years.  It seems that what currently exists in captive collections will have to supply and sustain hobbyists and institutions that would like to work with it.

Ranatomeya sirensis ‘Orange’ is variously known as R. sirensis ‘Panguana’ orange, orange sirensis and orange lamasi.  This is a variable morph, with colors ranging from coppery, yellowish-orange to lipstick red.  The orange sirensis in my collection begin as copper-colored metamorphs; however, they are typically bright red by the time they are a year old.

[1]  Brown & Twomey: Dendrobates.org