Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
Altiphrynoides malcolmi is a small, plump-bodied toad with snout-vent lengths up to 31.5 mm in females and 21.4 mm in males. Its head is slightly longer than it is wide. From the dorsal view, the snout projects beyond the lower jaw sloping down in profile. The distance from snout tip to anterior boarder of the eye is 1 ¼ the internarial distance. The distance from the snout to the nostril is less than distance from nostril to anterior border of the eye. Its lips are not flared, canthus rostralis straight with a rounded edge, and lores sloping. The paratoid glands are situated away from the eye, level with the eyelid and above where the arm inserters into the body. The glands are short and narrow with elongated ridges that merge with an interrupted longitudinal line of small and round glands extending from the upper flanks to the groin. First and second fingers are of approximately equal length. Outer palmer tubercle visible and all palmar surfaces swollen and glandular. It has single finger tubercles that are not well defined and smooth. Inner and outer metatarsal tubercles are present but the outer is more rounded and obvious. Un-tapered toes have smooth undersides and no indication of subarticular tubercles. The first toe is quite short; the length from tip to distal edge of metatarsal tubercle is very close to the length of the tubercle. Heavy webbing that extends beyond the metatarsals is present in all except the first toe, which has webbing to the distal half o the terminal phalanx. The fleshy first toe extends just past the metatarsals. A dorsolateral row of elongated glands present. The dorsum contains small and inconspicuous pustules concentrated on the flanks. No rectal glands. The appendages and ventral surfaces are smooth and glandular. In males, cornified nuptial asperities present on the upper medially surface of the proximal phalanx of the second finger and most of the medial upper surface of the thumb. The cloacal opening is sexually dimorphic with its positioning in females being posteroventral and being ventral in sexually mature males (Grandison 1978).
In life, A. malcolmi has a variable body coloration with its dorsum ranging from grey, green-grey, brown-grey, to black. Its body pattern consists of dark spots on three semi-parallel light longitudinal stripes that can range in color from pale green, pale to bright pink, to reddish. The center stripe runs along the vertebrae but does not extend past the cervical vertebrate; the other two stripes are located between the paravertebral ridge and the flanks. The spots are evenly distributed on the dorsum. The flanks are dark ranging from grey to almost black and are often bordered with a white line on the dorsal side. The ventrum is a dirty white to cream and has highly variable patterning (Grandison 1978).
When preserved, the specimen becomes grey-brown in the canthus, flanks, and paravertebral ridges. The vertebral stripe becomes gray in color. The ventrum is tan in color with a dark patch located over the vent (Grandison 1978).
Variations: The vertebral stripe is variable in length with some not reaching beyond the sacrum on the anterior side. In rare instances the stripe is completely absent. Dorsal spotting is individualistic with some lack the spotting and many others only have a few. There is also individual variation in a pale oblique or vertical temporal bar with most specimens have an indication of it. The area above the nostrils to just below the eyes is usually pale, but some individuals do not exhibit the paleness. Some rare individuals are uniform dark brown in color except for the distal parts of finger and toes, which are a pale cream color. The throat, chest, and stomach vary from cream to dark brown in color (Grandison 1978).
Larval Description: When A. malcolmi tadpoles first hatch from their egg masses they are mostly colorless with a sparse sprinkling of melanophores on their backs. Hind limb buds are well developed at hatching and eyes are black. As they age, pigment starts to form on back starting as pale grayish white over most of the body, maturing into grey-brown, and then brown. When present, the yolk sac is yellow. The mouth contains no teeth. As the tail is being reabsorbed the larvae obtain adult coloration (Grandison 1978).
Altiphrynoides malcolmi was previously named Nectophrynoides malcolmi. In 1987, the Nectophrynoides genus was constrained to include only species found in Tanzania (based on differences in reproduction); Ethiopian species previously placed under Nectophrynoides were split into two separate genera: Altiphrynoides and Spinophrynoides (Menegon et al. 2004).