IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

Comprehensive Description

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Description

Adult males of this small-bodied species measure 28.4 – 32.5 mm from snout to vent while females typically range from 30.4 – 38.0 mm. They have a compact body, dull, smooth skin with micro-reticulation, and short, thick posterior limbs. They have short, round snouts with wide heads, ranging from 9.1 – 9.8 mm, and males may have small spines located near their head and lower jaw. Unlike other bufonid species, all adults of this species lack tympanum, columella, vocal sacs, and parotoid glands. They have four slender fingers and five fully webbed toes, which are typically more prominent in males than females, and even more so during the mating season. In order of increasing toe length on the hind limb (from outer to inner toe) is V, IV, I, III, II, and in order of increasing finger length on the forelimb (from outer to inner finger) is IV, I, III, II. The first finger of a sexually mature male has smooth, subdigital excrescence to aid in mating and fingers and toes in both sexes swell when the reproductive season begins. Toes lack distinct subarticular tubercles but have terminal phalanges (Rödel et al. 2004).

Tadpoles typically range from 13.2 – 18.5 mm in total length at Gosner stage 25. Their body plan is generally characterized by Orton tadpole type IV, much like other bufonid species. Their bodies are robust, wide, and have relatively short tails with a narrow fin. A dorsal fin protrudes from the base of the tail, and a ventral fin protrudes adjacent the vent opening. The fin tip is rounded, and the nostrils, which are small and slightly curved, are positioned on the dorsal side of the tadpole. The eyes are typically positioned dorsolaterally and in close proximity to the snout. A short and narrow sinistral spiracle begins near the end of the body and is rarely visible from a dorsal view. Their mouth is keratinous and contains a labial tooth row, narrow upper jaws, flat and narrow lower jaws, and an oral disc with a width equivalent to the width of the body. The anterior lip has no papillae but has supra-angular teeth rows and is rounded with a median gap, while the posterior lip is covered in papillae and comprises two circular and broad dermal lobes (Hirschfeld 2012).

Werneria bambutensis is the smallest of the Werneria species and may be diagnosed from its congeners in a number of ways. They typically have a rounded snout, fully webbed toes, short and thick posterior legs, and an enlarged terminal phalanx. They lack well-defined dorsolateral bands, but males have more developed spinosities compared to other species (Rödel et al. 2004). And a stream-dwelling lifestyle and an expanded oral disc in the larval form are characteristics of W. bambutensis and W. preussi to the exclusion of their congeners (Amiet 1976, Rödel et al. 2004).

Colors in this species vary. In life, their dorsal colors are dark green. In alcohol, their dorsal colors typically range from bronze with a slight touch of gold or black spots to a dark green, brown or black. Their ventral side typically ranges from white to grey and may have grey spots. Lateral coloration is darker than dorsal coloration, and faint dorsolateral lines may be seen on the sides of their head (Rödel et al. 2004).

In tadpoles, the dorsal side is brown while the ventral side is typically spotted with brown dots. A transparent horizontal band behind its eye is also seen, however, it is much less prominent than in other Werneria species. The fin does not have a pattern but is grey in color and the tail is a light brown color and is typically clearer than the body (Hirschfeld 2012).

Aside from the aforementioned color differences, there is no significant variation within the species.

The species authority is: Amiet, J. L. (1972). Description de trois bufonides orophiles du Cameroun appartenant au groupe de Bufo preussi Matschie (Amphibiens Anoures). Annales de la Faculté des Sciences du Cameroun, 11, 121-140.

Werneria bambutensis belongs to the family Bufonidae. Frank and Ramus (1995) report four known species of the genus Werneria (W. bambutensis, W. martensiana, W. preussi, and W. tandyi), although two more species have since been described by Rödel et al. (2004; W. iboundji and W. submontana).

The species name bambutensis derives from the Bamboutos Mountains, which is part of the range in which it occurs (Stuart et al. 2008).

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