The process of discovery in and new species from northern Peru, Cerro Colán, Department Amazonas, Province Bagua


  • Thomas B. Croat Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Ann M. Grace Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Philip J. Barbour Botanical Research Institute of Texas
  • Thomas S. Schulenberg Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
  • Gary L. Graham



Anthurium, Araceae, aroids, birds, botanical exploration, Cordillera de Colán, Department Amazonas, endemism, frogs, high species richness, La Peca, lichens, new species, noteworthy collections, Peru, Province Bagua, Serrania de Bagua


A review of discoveries of plants and animals by a 1978 expedition from Louisiana State University to Peru is presented. Genesis of this study was owing to the senior author’s observation of unusually high species richness in Araceae among a collection of plants made in northern Peru. A subsequent review showed that the region was rich in many ways. Determinations to date include 983 species belonging to 513 genera and 145 families of which 81 species are endemic. Included are 59 plant taxa new to science described elsewhere. Eleven aroids (Araceae) from northern Peru are described and illustrated as new. Some records represent new taxa described from voucher specimens independently collected by botanists at prior or later dates and different localities. A collection was assigned the nov. sp. category of noteworthiness if Tropicos database ( showed either the Alwyn H. Gentry, et al. and or the Philip J. Barbour accession to be the first such collection known. Specimen searches in Tropicos by senior collector as Philip Barbour and separately by Gentry and constrained by appropriate dates revealed 1687 independent determined voucher specimens of which 1545 are noteworthy (92%) by the designated categories. Noteworthy categories are described and presented in appendices 2 and 3. Extralimital plant distribution records are not described here. Four new bird species/subspecies and seven new frog species were discovered on this expedition. It is important to note that after only 42 years much of the region where many of these discoveries were made is now largely devoid of natural vegetation. Appendix 4 provides detailed descriptions of habitat on Cerro Colán as recent as 2017. This study is a reminder that areas newly opened for exploration should be thoroughly and quickly studied to capture the greatest scientific benefit. It shows how much could be attained in a small span of time by a small but dedicated group of biologists.


Aarhus University 2019. Available at Accessed February 2019.
Berlin, B. & J.P. O’neill. 1981. The Pervasiveness of Onomatopoeia in Aguaruna and Huambisa Bird Names. J. Ethnobiol. 1(2):238–261.
Blake, E.R. & P. Hocking. 1974. Two new species of tanager from Peru. Wilson Bull. 86:321–324.
Brako, L. & J.L. Zarucchi. 1993. Catalogue of the flowering plants and gymnosperms of Peru. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 45.
British Museum of Natural 2019. Available at Accessed February 2019.
Deguignet M., D. Juffe-Bignoli, J. Harrison, B. Macsharry, N. Burgess, & N. Kingston. 2014. United Nations List of Protected Areas. UNEP-WCMC: Cambridge, UK.
Deluycker, A.M. 2007. Notes on the yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda) and its status in the protected forest of the Alto Mayo, northern Peru. Primate Conservation 22:41–47.
Duellman, W.E. 2004. Frogs of the genus Colostethus (Anura: Dendrobatidae) in the Andes of northern Peru. Sci. Pap. Mus Nat. Hist. Univ. Kansas 35.
Duellman, W.E. & J.B. Pramuk. 1999. Frogs of the genus Eleutherodactylus (Anura: Leptodactylidae) in the Andes of northern Peru. Sci. Pap. Mus Nat. Hist. Univ. Kansas 13.
Field Museum of Natural 2019. Available at Accessed February 2019.
Fitzpatrick, J.W. & J.P. O’Neill. 1979. A new tody-tyrant from northern Peru. Auk 96:443–447.
Fitzpatrick, J.W. & J.P. O’Neill. 1986. Otus petersoni, a new screech-owl from the eastern Andes, with systematic notes on O. colombianus and O. ingens. Wilson Bull. 98:1–14.
Gentry, A.H. 1993. A field guide to the families and genera of woody plants of northwest South America (Columbia, Ecuador, Peru) with supplementary notes on herbaceous taxa. Conservation International, Washington, DC, U.S.A.
Graham, G.L. 1983. Changes in bats species diversity along an elevational gradient up the Peruvian Andes. J. Mamm. 64:559–571.
Graham, G.L. 1986. A search for patterns in the use of roosting resources by bats of eastern Peru. (dissertation) University of New Mexico.
Graham, G.L. 1987. Seasonality of reproduction in Peruvian bats. Studies in Neotropical Mammalogy: Essays in Honor of Philip Hershkovitz. Fieldiana Zoology No.39.
Graham, G.L. 1990. Bats versus birds. Comparisons among Peruvian volant vertebrate faunas along an elevational gradient. J. Biogeogr.17:657–668.
Graham, G.L. & L.J. Barkley. 1984. Noteworthy records of bats from Peru. J. Mamm. 65(4):709–711.
Graves, G.R. 1981. A new subspecies of coppery metaltail (Metallura theresiae) from northern Peru. Auk 98:382.
Graves, G.R. 1987. A cryptic new species of antpitta (Formicariidae: Grallaria) from the Peruvian Andes. Wilson Bull. 99:313–321.
Graves, G.R., J.P. O’Neill, & T.A. Parker, iii. 1983. Grallaricula ochraceifrons, a new species of antpitta from northern Peru. Wilson Bull. 95:1–6.
Holdridge, L.R. 1967. Life zone ecology. San José, Costa Rica: Tropical Science Center.
Isler, M.L., R.T. Chesser, M.B. Robbins, A.M. Cuervo, C.D. Cadena, & P.A. Hosner. 2020. Taxonomic evaluation of the Grallaria rufula (Rufous Antpitta) complex (Aves: Passeriformes: Grallariidae) distinguishes sixteen species. Zootaxa 4817:1–74.
Johnson, N.K. & R.E. Jones. 2001. A new species of tody-tyrant (Tyrannidae: Poecilotriccus) from northern Peru. Auk 118:334–341.
Judd, W.S., C.S. Campbell, E.A., Kellogg, & P.F. Stevens. 1999. Plant systematics: A phylogenetic approach. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Krabbe, N.K., T.S. Schulenberg, P.A. Hosner, K.V. Rosenberg, T.J. Davis, G.H. Rosenberg, D.F. Lane, M.J. Andersen, M.B. Robbins, C.D. Cadena, T. Valqui, J.F. Salter, A.J. Spencer, F. Angulo, & J. Fjeldså. 2020. Untangling cryptic avian diversity in the High Andes: revision of the Scytalopus [magellanicus] complex (Rhinocryptidae) in Peru reveals three new species. Auk 137: ukaa003.
Luna, Leo Mariella. 1980. First Field Study of the Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey. Oryx 15(4):386–389. Available at
Luna, Leo Mariella. 1982. Conservation of the Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda) in Peru. Int. Zoo Yearb. 22:47–52. Available at
Museum National D’Histoire 2019. Available at Accessed February 2019.
New York Botanical 2109. Available at Accessed February 2019.
O.N.E.R.N. (Oficina Nacional de Evaluacion de Recurosos Naturales). 1976. Mapa Ecologico del Peru. Lima.
o’neill, j.p. & g.r. graves. 1977. A new genus and species of owl (Aves; Strigidae) from Peru. Auk 94:409–416.
Parker, T.A., iii & J.P. O’Neill. 1985. A new species and a new subspecies of Thryothorus wren from Peru. Neotropical Ornithology Pages. In: P.A. Buckley, M.S. Foster, R.S. Ridgely, and F.G. Buckley, eds. Ornithological Monogr. No. 36, American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Pp. 9–15.
Peyton, B. 1980. Ecology, distribution and food habits of spectacled bears, Tremarctos ornatus, in Peru. J. Mamm. 61(4):639–652.
Peyton, B. 1981. Spectacled bears in Peru. Oryx 16(01):48–56.
Schulenberg, T.S. & G.L. Graham. 1981. A. new subspecies of Anairetes agraphia (Tyrannidae) from northern Peru. Bull. British Ornithologists’ Club 101:241–243.
Schulenberg, T.S. & M.D. Williams. 1982. A new species of Antpitta (Grallaria) from northern Peru. Wilson Bull. 94:105–103.
Schulenberg, T.S., D.F., Stotz, D.F., Lane, J.P. O’Neill, & T.A. Parker iii. 2010. Birds of Peru. Revised and updated edition. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14, July 2017. Available at Accessed March 2019.
Swedish Museum of Natural 2019. Available at Accessed February 2019. 2019. Available at Accessed February 2019.
United States National Museum of Natural 2019. Available at Accessed February 2019.
Wiens, J.J. 1993. Systematics of the leptodactylid frog genus Telmatobius in the Andes of northern Peru. Occ. Pap., Mus. Nat. Hist., Univ. Kansas 162.




How to Cite

Croat, T. B., Grace, A. M. ., Barbour, P. J. ., Schulenberg, T. S. ., & Graham, G. L. . (2021). The process of discovery in and new species from northern Peru, Cerro Colán, Department Amazonas, Province Bagua. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 15(2), 393–523.