AMPHIBIAWEB
Churamiti maridadi
family: Bufonidae

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Tanzania, United Republic of

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.


Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Critically Endangered (CR)
See IUCN account.
CITES
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

   

From the Encyclopedia of Life account:

Etymology

The generic name is derived from the Swahili 'chura' meaning toad or frog, and 'miti' meaning tree because this species is arboreal. The specific name is derived from the Swahili word 'maridadi,' meaning beautiful in reference to the colorful dorsum (Channing and Stanley, 2002).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Summary

Churamiti maridadi is a Critically Endangered arboreal toad known only from the Ukaguru Mountains that has a lichen-like dorsal pattern and large digital discs. Additionally, it can be identified by the absence of parotids, red-orange arms and legs, and the metallic colour of the back. In females, the dorsum is bright metallic yellow-green and in males it is black with silvery vermiculations.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Distribution

This species is known only from the Ukaguru Mountains in eastern Tanzania (Howell and Channing, 2004; Harper et al., 2010).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Osteology

The omosternum is present, rounded and cartilaginous. The terminal phalanges are T-shaped and broadly expanded. There are seven presacral vertebrae. The sacrococcygeal articulation is fused, while the first two vertebrae are not fused. The frontoparietal and prootic are fused. The spenethmoid complex is ossified, and a palatine is present. No tympanum or columella is present. The pectoral girdle is arciferal. The epicoracoid cartilages are not fused. The frontoparietal is well ossified without a fontanelle. The sacral diapophyses are large (Channing and Stanley).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Morphology

The head is wide and flattened, with a blunt snout (profile). The canthus is slightly concave, with the nostrils raised and the elliptical openings directed laterally. The eyes protrude, and in life would have been wider than the jaw, as can be seen in photographs of the live toad. The upper eyelid is glandular. The parotid glands are absent; each replaced by a cluster of about 20 rounded warts tipped with small brown spines on a raised bulge. The margins of this bulge are not distinct. The cluster is rounded, being widest midway in the length. The fingers are long with large truncated terminal discs. The third finger is 36% of the SUL. The disc of the third finger is slightly wider than the length of the inner metatarsal tubercle. The subarticular tubercles are rounded, pale, but only slightly raised. The palm is covered with fine rounded indistinct tubercles. The hindlimb is long, with the tibia length 45% of the SUL. Spatulate discs are present on all toes, largest on the fourth and fifth toes. Inner and outer metatarsal tubercles are present, with the inner being 1.5 times as long as the outer. The back is smooth with many rounded glandular warts that extend on to the limbs; these glands similar to those found on the head but occur on the back at a lower density. The warts coalesce into large glands on the forearm, wrist and the upper surfaces of the fingers, tibia and upper surface of the foot, resembling the condition in Nectophrynoides viviparus. The ventral surface is smooth, except for a granular area on the lower belly and adjacent thigh (Channing and Stanley, 2002).

In alcohol the animal is reddish brown above with yellowish glands on eyelids and limbs. In life the back was a deep metallic yellow, this colour extending irregularly on to the forearms and thighs, and present in small patches on the upper distal surfaces of the limbs, and on the wrist and upper foot. The pigment on the limbs is a brighter yellow than on the back. The small rounded warts are reddish-brown, and stand out, figuratively and literally, above the shiny back. The eyelids are reddish, as is the canthus rostralis. The upper surfaces of the limbs not covered in yellow pigment are red topinkish. The irregular margins of the yellow pigment on the limbs resemble lichen. The top and sides of the snout are finely vermiculated in yellow. The upper jaw is cream, and the lower eye and sides of the snout are dark brown, overlaid with fine yellow vermiculations (Channing and Stanley, 2002). The eye is silvery gold with a horizontal pupil in life. Harper et al. (2010) report that males have a black dorsum with silvery vermiculations, and the limbs are red-orange in color.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Size

The female holotype and paratype both measured 53.3 mm in snout-vent length up to 53 mm in snout-vent length (Channing and Stanley, 2002).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Diagnostic Description

An unusual toad with a bright metallic yellow-green dorsum (females) or black dorsum with silvery vermiculations (males) and red-orange arms and legs. The back is smooth and glandular, but the parotid glands are not distinct. The eyes are large and protruding with horizontal pupils. The toes end in distinct truncated disks (Harper et al., 2010).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Comparisons

This a monotypic species, and the appearance is distinct and not easily confused with other species (Harper et al., 2010).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Habitat and Ecology

This species is known only from the type locality in the Ukaguru Mountains at 1840 m (Harper et al., 2010).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Activity and Special Behaviors

It is assumed to be arboreal because of its large toe pads (Harper et al., 2010).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Advertisement Call

The call is unknown as males have never been observed or collected (Harper et al., 2010).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Reproduction

About 75 eggs, pigmented, with a black animal pole, were present in each oviduct of the holotype and paratype specimens (Channing and Stanley, 2002). Although its breeding is unknown, the presence of large numbers of pigmented eggs in the only known specimens suggests that it is neither a live-bearer, nor a direct developer (Howell and Channing, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

IUCN Red List Category and Justification of Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List (2010) considers this species to be Critically Endangered because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 100 km2, all individuals are in a single location, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in the Ukaguru Mountains.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Trends

It is assumed that populations of this species are decreasing (Howell and Channing, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Threats

The forests in the Ukaguru Mountains are poorly protected, and threatened by agricultural encroachment and human settlement (Howell and Channing, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Conservation Actions and Management

This species occurs in the Mamiwa-Kisara Forest Reserve. Further survey work is required to determine the biology and population status and trends of this species and the limits of its range (Howell and Channing, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/