Comprehensive Description

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Description

Lepidobatrachus laevis is a large, stout, aquatic frog with a dorsoventrally flattened body. Females of this species may reach a total body length (SVL) of 100 mm, while a sexually mature male may be only half as large. In both sexes the head is large and robust, composing approximately 1/3 of the total body length, and broad to make room for the extraordinarily wide jaws of these animals. There are large teeth on the upper jaw and two large medially placed teeth or fangs on the lower jaw. The nostrils and eyes are dorsally positioned, the pupils are rhomboidal and the tympanum is distinct. The forelimbs and hind limbs are short, and the forelimbs are held forward while swimming. The digits of the forelimbs are unwebbed, but the digits of the hind limb are fully webbed and a large, spade-like, black inner metatarsal tubercle is present. The skin is mostly smooth except for the raised dorsal glandulae of the lateral line, which are distinct and from a “V” that narrows posteriorly. The dorsal coloration of L. laevis is dark green to gray with darker blotches outlined in orange that becomes more visible laterally. The nostrils and eyes may be outlined by lighter green, perhaps providing camouflage. The ventral surface is white or cream colored and unmarked. Sexually mature males possess a dark blue-black throat (Budgett 1899; Cei 1980).

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