AMPHIBIAWEB
Arthroleptis xenodactyloides
Dwarf squeaker
family: Arthroleptidae

© 2006 Vincenzo Mercurio (1 of 14)

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

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.


Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
See IUCN account.
CITES
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

   

From the Encyclopedia of Life account:

Summary

This species is named for the Greek words 'Xeno' meaning strange, 'dactylos' meaning finger, and '-oides' meaning shape.


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

Size

Males range from 16 – 20 mm in snout-vent length, while females range from 19 – 23 mm (Harper et al., 2010).


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

Diagnostic Description

These frogs are the same colour as dead leaves, varying between beige, brown and black. They often have an hourglass-shape pattern on their backs (Text modified from Measey et al. 2009, © SANBI).

This is a small leaf litter frog with short legs and a narrow head. The dorsum is orange-brown usually with brighter orange tinges around the groin. Faint light dorsolateral stripes are present in some individuals while others have a darker hourglass figure on the dorsum. The snout is pointed. The small tympanum is distinctly visible. Toe and finger tips are expanded into small rounded disks. As in other members of this family, the male has an elongated third finger. Females often have bright red-orange on the groin and thigh area (Text from Harper et al., 2010).


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

Comparisons

A. xenodactyloides may be confused with A. xenodactylus and A. stridens; however, A. xenodactylus never has dorsolateral stripes, and has papillate rather than rounded finger tips as in A. xenodactyloides. The wedge shaped profile of the snout in A. xenodactyloides distinguishes it from A. stridens (Text from Harper et al., 2010).


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

Habitat and Ecology

The dwarf squeaker is abundant in the Taita Hills of Kenya and can be found in any of the forests or plantations. It lives in and on the leaf litter of the forest where it hunts for small insects amongst the leaves. The frogs occur in patches, so you can find them easily just by walking in a forest toward the calling and watching closely at your feet. They are only just a little bigger than crickets and after jumping, disappear under the leaves. Outside of the Taita Hills, this species occurs over a large area of East, southern and Central Africa. (Text from Measey et al. 2009, © SANBI).

This species is found in lowland and montane forests, swamps, woodland and wet grasslands. It occurs from sea level to 2100 m (Harper et al., 2010).


Authors: Zimkus, Breda; Travis, Bergmann
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Associations

It is predated upon by birds, snakes and even insects. In the Taita region of Kenya it has been observed to be eaten by the Whitestarred Robin which also feeds them to its chicks (Modified from Measey et al. 2009, © SANBI).


Author: Travis, Bergmann
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Activity and Special Behaviors

Genetic studies on these frogs in Taita have suggested that they get displaced during storms and that adults may move long distances of several kilometres to reach another forest. For example, frogs caught in the north of Ngangao Forest were found to be closely related to those in Mbololo (Text from Measey et al. 2009, © SANBI).

This species is known to travel large distances through unsuitable habitat to neighboring mountains in the Taita Hills (Text from Harper et al., 2010).


Authors: Zimkus, Breda; Travis, Bergmann
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Advertisement Call

The male’s call is a tiny cricket-like squeak, that can be heard coming from the forest all year round, especially after rain (Text from Measey et al. 2009, © SANBI).

Males call from leaf litter or perched on low vegetation during the day and at night. The call consists of three short high-pitched clicks (Text from Harper et al., 2010).


Authors: Zimkus, Breda; Travis, Bergmann
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Reproduction

When mating, the males stick to the backs of the females, and the pair then deposits about 25 eggs in the leaf litter. The males stay in the same area and may guard the eggs. This is a direct-developing species and so around 30 days after laying, they hatch directly as small frogs, only 5 mm long (Text from Measey et al. 2009, © SANBI).

Clutches of around 20 unpigmented eggs are deposited beneath moist leaf litter. Eggs undergo direct development, and tiny frogs emerge without passing through a free-swimming tadpole stage (Text from Harper et al., 2010).


Authors: Zimkus, Breda; Travis, Bergmann
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/