Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae is a small frog with a small oval, compact body with a black lateral face mask, absent eyelid cornicle but with large warts on the upper eyelids, scapular ridges converging in a straight line, dorsal skin that is lightly granular to smooth, large white warts on the flanks, white belly, yellow groin area and lower thighs, distinct fingertip and toetip discs, and well developed webbing. Mature males have a snout-vent length of 17.2-17.8 mm and mature females can have a snout-vent length of up to 19.7 mm. This species has a short, round snout when viewed from above and from the side, as well as a rounded canthus. The loreal region is straight, and the head directly behind the eyes has a width of 6.3 mm. The laterally positioned eyes are medium sized (2.8 mm diameter) and lie 1.5 mm away from the nostrils. The nostrils, also laterally positioned, are small and round and are 1.0 mm away from the snout tip. Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae has an internarial distance of 2.1 mm and an interorbital distance of 2.2 mm. Its pupils are round and the supratympanal ridge extends from the posterior corner of the eye to the base of the forearms; the tympanum is found and indistinct with a diameter of 1.0 mm. Its upper and lower maxillae and praemaxillae have minute teeth hidden by its lips; it lacks vomerine teeth. This species has a heart-shaped tongue with a distinctly notched tip; the anterior attachment of the tongue has median papilla. The choanae is small and round. It has slender forelimbs: the upper arm is 4.0 mm and the lower arm is 3.4 mm. The hand to the tip of the third finger has a length of 4.6 mm; the carpal tubercles are large and the inner hand is oval-shaped while the outer hand is round. There are no carpal glands. The fingers have small, round subarticular tubercles and there are no other tubercles on the hands. Fingers 2 and 4 are the same length, and finger 3 is the longest. There is no manual webbing, and the fingertips are broadened to form small discs. The thumb (finger 1) is slightly swollen without distinct nuptial pads. The hind limbs are also short and slender: the femur is 8.5 mm and the tibia is 8.9 mm. The tibia length is equal to roughly one half the snout-vent length, and the foot including the longest toe is 12.3 mm. There are no glands on the thighs, but this species has tarsal tubercles. There is a long and narrow internal metatarsal tubercle 1.0 mm in length (approximately 2/3 the length of finger 1) and a small round metatarsal tubercle. The relative toe length, in ascending order, is 1, 2, 3 ,4. The digits have well-developed basal webbing (toe 1: 0.5 mm; tow 2: 1.0 mm; toe 3: 1.5 mm; toe 4: 2.5-3.0 mm, toe 5: 1.0 mm). The skin fringes extend toward the tips of the toes, which are enlarged discs (Rödel et al. 2012).

Sexual Dimorphism: Female Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae have thinner fingers than males, with more conspicuous finger discs. Females are also black on the back and upper part of the head; they have a dorsal pattern with beige flanks whereas males have a uniformly light brown to reddish brown dorsal pattern. Females have extended scapular ridges along the dorsolateral line, a white and smooth throat, uniformly black lower mandibles, and no spines on the throat. Males can be distinguished by their black throats with large black spines anteriorly; they have an almost uniform brown to reddish brown dorsal pattern (Rödel et al. 2012).

Diagnosis: Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae can be distinguished from other members of the Phrynobatrachus subgenus by its small body size (<20.0 mm), white belly, short shanks, lack of nuptial pads in breeding males, presence of black spines and skin folds on male throats, uniformly black mandible in females, developed pedal webbing, convergence of the scapular ridges in a straight line, dorsal ridges, distinct but less developed webbing, black vocal sac in males, and visible tympanum (Rödel et al. 2012).

Coloration in life: Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae is a basic beige brown color on the top of the head, upper flank, and the back and top surfaces of the limbs. The tops of the feet are brown-orange. A black lateral face mask extends from the tip of the snout to the bases of the forearm; a lateroventral black band continues below the arms to the groin region. There is a blurred, dark band in the posterior part of the interorbital space; a more narrow, light band lies between the eyelids, anterior to the blurred, dark band. Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae has black pupils surrounded by one lighter, red-golden ring, and the irises are golden. The top of the right thigh has five dark cross-bars and the top of the left thigh has four. The right shank has four dark cross-bars and the left has three. The posterior part of the top of both thighs is uniformly dark brown. A broad black triangle surrounds the vent and extends toward the belly. The throat is black and the pectoral region is white with a few small black points. A black ventrolateral band borders the white belly. The undersides of the lower arms are black, while the undersides of the forelimbs are gray. Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae is yellowish to orange in the groin area and the lower surfaces of the thighs; a black line borders the lower part of the thighs anteriorly and the undersides of the feet are dark brown (Rödel et al. 2012).

Coloration in preservation (ethanol after almost two years): The specimen's pattern is subtlety fainter. The scapular ridges are no longer visible and the dorsal skin is smooth (Rödel et al. 2012).

Variation: Male Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae can have a snout-vent length of 17.2-17.8 mm. Rödel et al. 2012 reports a snout-vent length variation of 13.3-19.7 mm in females, but the authors are not sure if this range includes the snout-vent length of juvenile specimens. The irises can be golden, red, or dark gray in color and the top of the skin can vary from granular to slightly warty (Rödel et al. 2012).

This species is named for Ruth-Beate Rödel, the mother of the first author to describe this species (Rödel et al. 2012).

  • Rödel, M.-O., Doherty-Bone, T., Kouete, M.T., Janzen, P., Garrett, K., Browne, R., Gonwouo, N.L., Barej, M.F., Sandberger, L. (2012). ''A new small Phrynobatrachus (Amphibia: Anura: Phrynobatrachidae) from southern Cameroon.'' Zootaxa, 3431, 54-68.
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Description

A small ranid frog with a moderately warty skin. Adult males measure 11–19 mm and weigh 0.1–0.63 g. Adult females measure 16–23 mm and weigh 0.55–1.15 g. The average index head width / SVL is 0.31 (s.d. + 0.04; 0.25–0.38; N = 16). With eyelid cornicle. The tympanum is very small and barely discernible. Males have single subgular vocal sacs. A distinct supratympanal fold, a small inner metatarsal tubercle and a tarsal tubercle are always present. Only residuary webbing on the feet. Tips of fingers and toes not enlarged.
The animals described by Perret (1988a) apparently have somewhat more extended webbing than the Comoé frogs. He gives up to 20 mm for males and up to 25 mm for females (SVL).
Voucher specimens:SMNS 8961 1–16 + tadpoles.
Coloration: The frogs are usually uniform olive to light brown. The warts may have darker borders. Some animals have a vertebral band starting behind the eyes which is almost invariably red with yellow or orange borders. Rarer are frogs with a red transverse band on the back. On some specimens, two bands form a cross on the back. The thighs either lack any pattern, or they bear 1–2 dark transverse bands. The posterior parts of the thighs never bear a light longitudinal line. On the flanks a feebly marked black lateral stripe may be present. Many animals have dark bars on the edges of their lower jaws. The vocal sac of the male is dark violet to black. The throats of the female bear some marginal dark spots. The breast, flanks and ventral edges of the thighs and shanks are similarly spotted black. Two dark patches are frequently present in the pectoral region. The rest of the venter is white. Guibé & Lamotte (1963) quote four dark bars on the thighs and a light vertebral band with dark borders. In alcohol, the warts often turn smoother, and the surrounding areas frequently appear darker. The vertebral bands fade. The throat in males almost loses its pigmentation.
Voice: Recorded whistling calls last 0.26 sec at a frequency of 3.1–5.4 kHz. This call is very similar to those of Arthroleptis species. In addition, males sometimes utter long buzzing tones which could not be recorded. It recalls the song of ensiferan grasshoppers. I cannot decide which of these sounds is the advertisement call. However, both calls are uttered by solitary males. According to Schiøtz (1964c), the buzzing sound, that he also illustrates, is an advertisement call. It lasts 2 sec and consists of approx. 200 pulses, reaching its maximum frequency intensity at 5.5 kHz.
Spawn: Clutches have not yet been found at Comoé National Park. In captivity three females from Tai National Park produced six clutches within two month. Despite the fact that only one male was present spawning of two to three females was synchronized. Only one clutch was fertilized at a spawning event. Time between two events was 4–5 weeks. The surface layers consisted of 75–220 eggs (152 + 60). The eggs had a diameter of less than 1 mm and dark gray and white poles. The tadpoles hatched within three days. At Lamto, females are reported to produce two clutches per year with 290 + 144 eggs, each. The egg diameter was 0.8 mm (N = 69; Barbault & Pilorge 1980, Barbault 1984).
Tadpoles: Freshly hatched tadpoles are minute (approx. 2–3 mm) and have external gills. Gills were reduced within another two days. The tadpoles resemble very much those of other Phrynobatrachus species. The keratodont formula is 1 / 1+1 // 2+2 / 1. The filamentous papillae of P. latifrons and P. francisci are always (?) absent. Tadpoles with developed hind legs measured 6.1–6.4 mm (BL; TL: 13.5–16.5mm). The smallest frog ever collected measured 8 mm and weighed 0.05 g.
Schiøtz (1963) describes larvae whose dorsal tail fin is somewhat narrower and begins at a more craniad position, compared to those that I have collected. Both the fin and the base of the tail axis bear numerous black spots. He gives the keratodont formula 1 // 3, but writes that this is perhaps not the normal one, because of the abnormal development of the said larvae. The largest tadpole he ever found measured 15 mm (TL). The SVL of freshly metamorphosed young was 6 mm. Loveridge (1941) gives 12 mm for young frogs.
P. calcaratus differs from other savanna species of the genus Phrynobatrachus species by the small eyelid cornicle, the body shape and the absence of webbing. Five other species with an eyelid cornicle occur in West Africa, but they may easily be differentiated by their different ventral pattern (Perret 1988a). Nieden (1908) considered P. cornutus (Boulenger, 1906) a synonym of P. calcaratus. According to Perret (1988a) P. cornutus occurs in Cameroon, Fernando Póo and (possibly) Gabon. Males measure 14–16 mm (SVL) and ventrally have two large black patches in the pectoral region. The upper part of the breast also bears black blotches. The venter of females (SVL: 18–20 mm) is roughly spotted black. Their body shape of P. calcaratus resembles that of female Arthroleptis without distinct color pattern. However, Arthroleptis always lacks an eyelid cornicle. The males of Arthroleptis are (mostly) characterized by their extremely long third fingers. For a human, the whistling calls of
P. calcaratus and Arthroleptis poecilonotus resemble each other. When we tried to catch calling Arthroleptis males we found our first P. calcaratus instead.

This account was taken from Rödel, M.-O. (2000), Herpetofauna of West Africa vol. I. Amphibians of the West African Savanna, with kind permission from Edition Chimaira publishers, Frankfurt am Main.
For references in the text, see here

  • Rödel, M. O. (2000). Herpetofauna of West Africa, Vol. I. Amphibians of the West African Savanna. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, Germany.
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Description

A relatively large African puddle frog, with very large, muscular hindlegs.

First described by Laurent (1951).

  • Drewes, R., and Pickersgill, M. 2004. Phrynobatrachus asper. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 23 May 2011.
  • Laurent, R.F. (1951). ''Deux reptiles et onze batraciens nouveaux d'Afrique Centrale.'' Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines, 44, 360-381.
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Etymology

This genus is named for the Greek phryne, meaning toad, and batrachos, meaning frog. This refers to their toad-like appearance.

The common name, puddle frog, refers to the fact that many species breed in temporary waterbodies, including puddles, roadside ditches, and flooded grassy depressions, although some also breed in permanent bodies of water, such as ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers (Rödel, 2000; Channing, 2001; Channing and Howell, 2006; IUCN et al., 2006).

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Summary

Puddle frogs (genus Phrynobatrachus) are found in diverse terrestrial habitats across sub-Saharan Africa. Species are small in size (most less than 30 mm), most often brown in color, exhibit a tarsal tubercle and lack webbing between the fingers. Most species may exhibit chevron-shaped glands in the scapular region, but the size and shape of these glands are variable. There are currently 82 species described (Frost, 2011).

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Distribution

This genus is present across mainland sub-Saharan Africa and is also present on the islands of Zanzibar (Unguja) and Pemba on the East Coast, as well as Bioko, São Tomé, and Príncipe in the Gulf of Guinea (Rödel and Ernst, 2002a,b; Frost, 2011).

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Distribution and Habitat

Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae is found in the leaf litter of almost undisturbed rainforests in south-eastern Cameroon. They mostly live in swamps and experience about 1700 mm annual rainfall. Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae is thus far known only from its type locality but likely is more widespread in lowland rainforest, speculated to occur south of the Sanaga River. Without further evidence, the authors suggest an IUCN classification of Data Deficient (Rödel et al. 2012).

  • Rödel, M.-O., Doherty-Bone, T., Kouete, M.T., Janzen, P., Garrett, K., Browne, R., Gonwouo, N.L., Barej, M.F., Sandberger, L. (2012). ''A new small Phrynobatrachus (Amphibia: Anura: Phrynobatrachidae) from southern Cameroon.'' Zootaxa, 3431, 54-68.
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Distribution and Habitat

According to Frost (1985), the range of this species stretches from West Africa to eastern R.D. Congo (see below). He also quotes Fernando Póo. Records have been published for the following countries: Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, ?Gabon, Central African Republic (Peters 1875, 1876, Boulenger 1906, Nieden 1908, 1910b, Barbour & Loveridge 1930, Mertens 1940, Loveridge 1941, Guibé & Lamotte 1963, Schiøtz 1963, 1964a, c, 1967, Perret 1966, 1988a, Barbault 1967, 1974d, 1984, Lamotte 1967b, 1969, Euzet et al. 1969, Maeder 1969, Amiet 1973a, Barbault & Pilorge 1980, Hughes 1988, Joger 1990, Rödel 1996). According to Perret (1988a), the P. calcaratus from the Virunga National Park on which Laurent (1972c) reports, are actually P. gutturosus.
At Comoé National Park, this species has been found exclusively in forests. In other parts of their range, the frogs are reported to occur both in dense forests (Hughes 1988) and in savannas (Schiøtz 1963, 1967). At Lamto, they are mainly found in gallery forests (Barbault & Pilorge 1980), but they also colonize those savannas which have not been burned (Lamotte 1967b). Lamotte (1969) expressly characterizes this frog as a ubiquitous species. In Cameroon, it occurs at elevations of 800–1200 m a.s.l. (Boulenger 1906). According to Schiøtz (1963) and Perret (1966), this species mainly lives near water.

  • Rödel, M. O. (2000). Herpetofauna of West Africa, Vol. I. Amphibians of the West African Savanna. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, Germany.
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Distribution and Habitat

Found in montane forest in the Itombwe Highlands in southern Kivu Province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at elevations above 2,400 m asl. It inhabits swamps (Drewes and Pickersgill 2004) and is found in highland forested streams (Greenbaum, pers. comm.).

  • Drewes, R., and Pickersgill, M. 2004. Phrynobatrachus asper. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 23 May 2011.
  • Laurent, R.F. (1951). ''Deux reptiles et onze batraciens nouveaux d'Afrique Centrale.'' Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines, 44, 360-381.
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Physical Description

Morphology

The size and shape of the chevron-shaped glands of Phrynobatrachus are variable; they can originate and terminate in the scapular region or extend almost the entire length of the body (Zimkus and Blackburn, 2008). Only in some species exhibit circummarginal grooves on the manual or pedal digit tips; in some species, these furrows are found only on the longest digits (Zimkus and Blackburn, 2008). Extent of pedal webbing is variable among Phrynobatrachus species; it ranges from (0) absent or rudimentary with 3.0–4.0 phalanges free on toe IV, to (1) moderate to extensive with 0–2.9 phalanges free on toe IV (Zimkus et al., 2012).

Males of some species possess a nuptial excrescence or thickened pad of skin on the medial and dorsal surface of the first finger. Breeding Phrynobatrachus males have a single subgular vocal sac, which, when not distended, may form one or multiple folds, roughly parallel to the lower jaw, on the lateral margins of the throat (Stewart, 1967; Zimkus and Blackburn, 2008).

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Size

Adult snout-vent lengths (SVL) vary greatly, from as little as 12 mm in some miniaturized species to greater than 50 mm in the largest species (Zimkus et al., 2012).

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Diagnostic Description

Puddle frogs can be distinguished by the presence of a tarsal tubercle, inner metatarsal tubercle and outer metatarsal tubercle. The dorsum is most often brown in color with or without a mid-dorsal strip. The skin may be warty or smooth, and most species may exhibit chevron-shaped glands in the scapular region, but the size and shape of these glands are variable. Fingers lack webbing; pedal webbing ranges from absent to extensive. Pupils are horizontal.

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Look Alikes

Comparisons

Squeaker frogs of the genus Arthroleptis and puddle frogs of the genus Phrynobatrachus are distantly related but have been confused for more than a century and continue to be difficult for many to distinguish. Definitive characteristic that can be used to differentiate between them include the presence of an outer metatarsal tubercle and a tarsal tubercle in Phrynobatrachus. Arthroleptis only exhibits an inner metatarsal tubercle, which is also found in Phrynobatrachus. Arthroleptis generally have relatively wider heads than Phrynobatrachus (Zimkus and Blackburn, 2008).

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Puddle frogs occupy a diverse range of habitats, including primary and secondary forests,savannas, grasslands, and agricultural areas (Zimkus et al., 2010). They are also distributed across a wide altitudinal range from lowland areas to montane regions up to approximately 3000 m (IUCN et al., 2006).

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Most puddle frogs deposit hundreds to thousands of eggs in ponds, streams, or pools, but a small number of species deposit small clutches of eggs in stagnant water found in tree holes, in empty fruit capsules, within snail shells, or terrestrially (Rödel, 1998; Rödel and Ernst, 2002; Zimkus et al., 2012). Species exhibiting these alternative reproductive modes include P. dendrobates, P. guineensis, P. krefftii, P. phyllophilus, P. sandersoni, and P. tokba, although all have free-living tadpoles (Amiet, 1981; Rödel, 1998; Rödel and Ernst, 2002).

Zimkus et al. (2012) found that most Phrynobatrachus species breed in small bodies of water and have aquatic eggs with free-living, feeding tadpoles. However, reproductive modes that provide autonomy from permanent water bodies evolved independently at least seven times.

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Zimkus et al. (2012) found that most Phrynobatrachus species breed in small, lotic bodies of water and have aquatic eggs with free-living, feeding tadpoles. However, reproductive modes that provide autonomy from permanent water bodies evolved independently at least seven times. These shifts towards alternate reproductive modes are not linked to a common temporal event, clades that exhibit alternate reproductive modes have lower diversification rates than those that deposit eggs aquatically. In addition, adult habitat, pedal webbing and body size have no effect on diversification rates. Although these traits are not associated with increased speciation rates, they may still provide opportunities to extend into new niches, thus increasing overall diversity.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

Phylogenetics

Relationships among puddle frogs of the family Phrynobatrachidae (one genus: Phrynobatrachus) were reconstructed using mitochodrial sequence data from 12S rRNA, valine-tRNA, and 16S rRNA fragment, as well as combined sequence data from mitochondrial and nuclear (RAG-1) genes (Zimkus et al., 2010). Monophyly of the Phrynobatrachidae is well supported, and three major clades of Phrynobatrachus are identified. Biogeographic history was also reconstructed using habitat preference, geography and elevation data Most species favor forest over savanna habitats, and the most recent common ancestor of the Phrynobatrachidae reconstructed as a forest species. Three independent colonizations of highland regions were identified, one in each of the three major clades. Ancestral reconstructions support an East African origination of puddle frogs. Most species are restricted to one of five sub-Saharan regions and are distributed within the Eastern, Central, and Western zones with far fewer species in Southern Africa.

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Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:125
Specimens with Sequences:199
Specimens with Barcodes:115
Species:10
Species With Barcodes:10
Public Records:1
Public Species:1
Public BINs:1
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Barcode data

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Category and Justification of Conservation Status

The IUCN (2012) lists 25% of all Phrynobatrachus species as Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered. The majority are considered of Least Concern (42%), while a large number are considered Data Deficient (34%).

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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Male Phrynobatrachus ruthbeateae call during the day while concealed underneath leaves. The calling males sit near small puddles, where they breed, and individuals are spaced very far apart from each other. The calls are comprised of a fast series of brief metallic clicks, and sound almost identical to the call of Phrynobatrachus phyllophilus (Rödel et al. 2012).

  • Rödel, M.-O., Doherty-Bone, T., Kouete, M.T., Janzen, P., Garrett, K., Browne, R., Gonwouo, N.L., Barej, M.F., Sandberger, L. (2012). ''A new small Phrynobatrachus (Amphibia: Anura: Phrynobatrachidae) from southern Cameroon.'' Zootaxa, 3431, 54-68.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

P. calcaratus lives on the leaf litter of the forest floor, occasionally far away from water. This frog is both diurnal and nocturnal. Females apparently go farther away from open water than males. I once found many frogs gathered around a buffalo pat who were preying on the numerous beetles visiting the excrement. During longer dry periods, the frogs migrate to forest ponds and stay on their edges. However, they disperse into the forest after rain again. Up to now, I have heard the calls of males exclusively at night.
At Lamto, the frogs mature at the age of 4–5 months, and their average life expectancy then amounts to just another two months. Reproduction takes place throughout the rainy season (March-November). Maximal activity in April/May and September/October was recorded by Barbault & Pilorge (1980) and Barbault (1984). However, those frogs that reproduced in captivity were at least two years old. The diet mainly consists of small ants (Barbault 1974d).

  • Rödel, M. O. (2000). Herpetofauna of West Africa, Vol. I. Amphibians of the West African Savanna. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, Germany.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Presumably breeds in the swamps (Drewes and Pickersgill 2004).

  • Drewes, R., and Pickersgill, M. 2004. Phrynobatrachus asper. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 23 May 2011.
  • Laurent, R.F. (1951). ''Deux reptiles et onze batraciens nouveaux d'Afrique Centrale.'' Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines, 44, 360-381.
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Threats

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

This species was not recorded between its description in 1951 and its rediscovery in 2009 by an expedition led by Eli Greenbaum of University of Texas El Paso. Population status is unknown (Drewes and Pickersgill 2004); however, it has been found only in pristine forest, and forest habitat on Itombwe is increasingly under pressure from agriculture and wood collection (Greenbaum, pers. comm.).

  • Drewes, R., and Pickersgill, M. 2004. Phrynobatrachus asper. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 23 May 2011.
  • Laurent, R.F. (1951). ''Deux reptiles et onze batraciens nouveaux d'Afrique Centrale.'' Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines, 44, 360-381.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

Relation to Humans

Consumed for food. The species was rediscovered in 2009 when villagers offered to sell their frog dinner to expedition scientists (Greenbaum, pers. comm.)

  • Drewes, R., and Pickersgill, M. 2004. Phrynobatrachus asper. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 23 May 2011.
  • Laurent, R.F. (1951). ''Deux reptiles et onze batraciens nouveaux d'Afrique Centrale.'' Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines, 44, 360-381.
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Wikipedia

Phrynobatrachus

Phrynobatrachus is a genus of Sub-Saharan frogs that form the monogeneric family Phrynobatrachidae. Their common name is puddle frogs, dwarf puddle frogs, African puddle frogs, or African river frogs.[1][2][3][4] The common name, puddle frog, refers to the fact that many species breed in temporary waterbodies such as puddles.[5]

Phrynobatrachus are among the most common amphibians in Africa. They are typically small (mostly less than 30 mm (1.2 in)[5]), fast-moving frogs. They occupy a variety of habitats from dry savannas to rainforests. Most species deposit many small eggs as a surface clutch in standing or slowly moving water and have exotrophic tadpoles.[4]

Taxonomy[edit]

Phrynobatrachidae has earlier been considered as a subfamily of Ranidae, but its recognition as a family is now well-established.[1][2][3][4] It is probably most closely related to Petropedetidae and Pyxicephalidae[1] or Ptychadenidae.[4]

This large genus may be further divided into three major clades. These clades could be treated as different genera, but this arrangement is not yet in use.[1]

Species[edit]

There are currently 87 species in this genus:[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Phrynobatrachidae Laurent, 1941". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Phrynobatrachidae". AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Blackburn, D.C.; Wake, D.B. (2011). "Class Amphibia Gray, 1825. In: Zhang, Z.-Q. (Ed.) Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification and survey of taxonomic richness". Zootaxa 3148: 39–55. 
  4. ^ a b c d Vitt, Laurie J.; Caldwell, Janalee P. (2014). Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles (4th ed.). Academic Press. p. 507. 
  5. ^ a b Zimkus, B. "Phrynobatrachus Günther, 1862". African Amphibians Lifedesk. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Phrynobatrachus Günther, 1862". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
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