AMPHIBIAWEB
Petropedetes vulpiae
family: Petropedetidae
 
Species Description: Barej MF, Rodel M-O, Gonwouo LN, Pauwels OSG, Bohme W, Schmitz A. 2010. Review of the genus Petropedetes Reichenow, 1974 in Central Africa with the description of three new species (Amphibia: Anura: Petropedetidae). Zootaxa 2340:1-49

© 2010 Vaclav Gvozdik (1 of 3)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status
CITES
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria

 

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

   

From the Encyclopedia of Life account:

Etymology

The specific epithet is the genitive of the latinised matronym of Dr. Christine Fuchs (in Latin: Vulpes) of the Institut für Mikroskopische Anatomie und Neurobiologie der Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (Germany). This species was named in recognition her important contributions on globin research in African clawed frogs.


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

Taxonomic Notes

This species has long been considered to be P. newtonii; Barej et al. (2010) synonymized the “real” P. newtonii with P. johnstoni.


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

Summary

This medium-sized Petropedetes from Central Africa exhibits a tympanum that is usually flattened on the upper and lower border. Breeding males have a broad and fleshy tympanic papilla present that is closer to the centre than the upper border, well developed forearm hypertrophy, a carpal spike, prominent femoral glands, spinosities on the throat and forearms and large warts on the flanks, dorsum, and tympanum. Pedal webbing is rudimentary. Eggs are deposited on moist surfaces of rocks, and males guard the eggs at night.


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

Distribution

Petropedetes vulpiae occurs from eastern Nigeria to southern Gabon (Barej et al., 2010).


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

Morphology

This is a medium sized Petropedetes with a compact body. Mean head width in males is 41% of SUL, and in females it is 39%. Snout is generally rounded in lateral view. Canthus rostralis is sharp. Loreal region is concave. Eye diameter is aprroximately 1.6 times the eye-narial distance. Nostrils are closer to snout tip than to eye. Tympanum is distinct and larger than the eye in males, smaller in females (tympanum/eye in males: 0.86–1.13, in females: 0.48–0.68); tympanum is usually flattened on upper and lower border. The tympanic papilla is closer to the center than to upper border. The tympanic papilla is broad and fleshy. The tympanum is surrounded by minuscule white warts. The supratympanic fold is distinct. Fingers are slender, with T-shaped fingertips. The relative length of fingers are as follows: III>IV>II>I. Manual subarticular tubercles are single. Manual webbing is absent. Palmar tubercle and thenar tubercle are present. Forearm hypertrophy is well developed in males. Carpal spikes present in males. Spinosities are present on throat, forearms, as well as on almost every wart on flanks and dorsum. Dorsal skin is predominantly uniform with small regularly scattered warts, a few larger, partly linearly arranged warts present. Granules on flanks are larger than on dorsum. Structure of ventral skin is smooth. Mean femur length in males is 53% of SUL, in females about 51%. Mean tibia length in both sexes is 60% of SUL. Mean foot length in both sexes is 76% of SUL. Upper hind limbs are of moderate width; lower hind limbs are slender. Femoral glands are more prominent in males, while in females the glands can be indistinct. Gland values of the two sexes overlap, which can be misleading without the relation of tympanum to eye diameter (femoral gland /femur length in males: 0.16–0.40, in females: 0.21–0.29). Relative length of toes is as follows: IV>III>V>II>I. Webbing is rudimentary with the following formula: 1 (1), 2 (1-1), 3 (2-2), 4 (3-3), 5 (2) (Barej et al., 2010).

In life, the dorsum is marbled in brown, green and whitish. Larger warts are present on dorsum and are usually dark in colour. The iris is whitish-golden. Hind limbs have large dark spots, similar to transverse bars; the large transverse bars are divided by thin light lines. The large bars and thin light thin lines may continue on the lower leg. The throat in most specimens is dark, although it can be whitish with dark pigments. The belly is usually whitish. Femoral glands are yellowish or orange. Coloration after preservation is as in life, but pale. Dorsum is generally brown and belly whitish with minuscule black speckles that are recognizable only under a microscope (Barej et al., 2010).


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

Size

Females are slightly larger than males (SUL in males: 33.4–43.4 mm, females: 21.9–46.5 mm; Barej et al., 2010).


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

Diagnostic Description

This is a medium-sized Petropedetes with a compact body shape. The tympanum is usually flattened on the upper and lower border, and it is larger than diameter of eye in males (smaller in females). Breeding males exhibit the following characteristics: a broad, fleshy tympanic papilla that is closer to the center than the upper border, well developed forearm hypertrophy, a carpal spike, large femoral glands, spinosities on throat and forearms, and warts on the flanks and dorsum, including the tympanum. Pedal webbing is rudimentary.


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

Comparisons

This species is distinct from species with developed webbing (P. palmipes and P. perreti, both fully webbed; P. cameronensis and P. juliawurstnerae, both half-webbed). The presence of a distinct tympanum and a tympanal papilla separates P. vulpiae from P. cameronensis and P. palmipes, who lack these characters. Petropedetes vulpiae can be differentiated from P. johnstoni by the size of the tympanum (the tympanum is smaller than the eye diameter in P. johnstoni) and the size of femoral glands (the femoral glands are more developed in male P. johnstoni). Petropedetes vulpiae differs from P. parkeri and P. euskircheni sp. nov. by body size (P. vulpiae is smaller than P. parkeri and P. euskircheni; the femoral gland is larger in males and females of P. vulpiae than in P. parkeri and P. euskircheni; the tibia / SUL ratio is higher in both sexes of P. vulpiae; the shape of the tympanum, (males of P. parkeri have a rounder tympanum than P. vulpiae, whereas it can be somewhat flattened in P. euskircheni, but less than in P. vulpiae).


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

Habitat and Ecology

This species is associated with streams within forests and gallery forests (Frétey and Blanc, 2001; Barej et al., 2010). It is known from lowland localities, but also reaches altitudes above 1000 m (e.g. Mertens 1965; Plath et al. 2004).


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

Activity and Special Behaviors

This species is predominantly active at dawn, and it is only active during day when the climate is very humid (Amiet 1989; Barej et al., 2010).

Barej et al. (2010) note that some individuals in Gabon avoided jumping in fast running water while trying to escape, while those who fell in the water were quickly exhausted.


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

Advertisement Call

Amiet (1973) described the call of P. vulpiae as a gentle “douc-douc.” Males call from their hiding places within rock cavities. The species shows a vocal annual activity cycle type II sensu Amiet (2006); a continuous cycle with one less intensive period at the end of the big rainy season and beginning of the following dry season (Barej et al., 2010).


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

Reproduction

Males seem to guard the eggs at night (Amiet, 1991). Amiet (1983, 1989) reported on a clutch of some ten eggs, which was deposited on the moist surfaces on rocks.


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

Phylogenetics

A genetic comparison of a fragment of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene (611 bp, including gaps) by Barej et al. (2010) found that interspecific comparison between P. vulpiae and all other Central African Petropedetes taxa resulted in uncorrected p-distances that ranged between 3.68%-9.53%. This species was most closely related to P. johnstoni. Intraspecific variation within P. vulpiae was much lower at 0.00%-0.20% (N= 6).


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