AMPHIBIAWEB
Phrynobatrachus breviceps
family: Phrynobatrachidae
 
Species Description: Pickersgill, M 2007 Frog Search; results of expeditions to southern and eastern Africa. Edition Chimaira. Frankfurt-am-Main
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Data Deficient (DD)
CITES
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

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

 

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

   

From the Encyclopedia of Life account:

Summary

Phrynobatrachus breviceps is a miniature species (SVL < 17.5 mm) of puddle frog known only from Mafinga on the Udzungwa Plateau of southern Tanzania. Members of this genus are identified by the presence of a midtarsal tubercle, elongate inner metatarsal tubercle, and outer metatarsal tubercle. It is characterized by its stocky appearance, including a short head. It exhibits moderate webbing with 3 phalanges free on toe IV and lacks digital discs. A small, weak tubercle is present on the eyelid. Males have dark throats and exhibit a unique gular apparatus with median and posterior gular folds but no lateral folds.


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

Etymology

This species is named after the Latin 'brevis' meaning short and '-ceps,' a short form of 'caput' meaning head.


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

Distribution

This species is so far known only from Mafinga, located on the Udzungwa Plateau of southern Tanzania. It is expected to occur more widely, at least within the Udzungwa Plateau (Pickersgill, 2008).

Catalogue NumberIdentificationSpecific LocalityLatitudeLongitudeIdentifierPublications
ZMB 66250P. brevicepsTazania: Iringa: Mafinga -7.25 (approx.) 35.066667 (approx.)M. PickersgillPickersgill, 2007

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

Morphology

It is a small species (SVL < 17.5 mm) of puddle frog that is considerably stocky with a short, blunt head, representing 41% of the SVL. The canthus rostralis is rounded and the loreal region sloping. Members of this genus are identified by the presence of a midtarsal tubercle, elongate inner metatarsal tubercle, and metatarsal tubercle. The tibia is 52%, the foot is 49%, and femur is 47% of the SVL. The tympanum is hidden. The eye diameter is more than the eye-snout distance with the nostril equidistant between the eye and snout. A small, weak tubercle is present on the eyelid. Two pairs are oval scapular warts are present, creating an X-shaped pattern. Manual webbing is absent. Pedal webbing is moderate with 3 digits free of webbing on digit IV. Toes are swollen but not dilated into discs. Dorsum is almost uniformly grey-brown with larger warts partially outlined darker. The upper lips is weakly barred. Minute asperities are not present. Large, flattened femoral glands are present over 2/3 of the thigh in males and a swollen thenar gland or nuptial pad is visible. Venter is white with some black punctations anteriorly. The throat is almost black in the male holotype with a median and posterior fold (Pickersgill, 2007).


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

Size

The holotype, a male, measures 17.5 mm and is the only specimen.


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

Diagnostic Description

Phrynobatrachus breviceps is characterized by its stocky appearance, including a short head. It exhibits moderate webbing with 3 phalanges free on toe IV and lacks digital discs. A small, weak tubercle is present on the eyelid. Males have dark throats and exhibit a unique gular apparatus with median and posterior gular folds but no lateral folds.


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

Comparisons

This species differs from many other East African dwarf puddle frogs because the extent of its webbing. Most small species, including P. inexpectatus, P. kakamikro, P. keniensis, P. mababiensis, P. minutus, P. parvulus, P. pallidus, P. scheffleri, P. rungwensis, P. ukingensis, and P. ungujae have absent or rudimentary webbing. P. uzungwensis exhibits moderate to extensive pedal webbing, but not the dark throat and gular apparatus of P. breviceps. P. anotis has a yellow throat in life. P. stewartae (SVL < 20 mm) and P. breviceps appear to be most similar in extent of webbing and size. Male P. stewartae and P. breviceps also appear to also share the dark throat and baggy gular sac, but a median gular fold is absent in the former.


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

Habitat and Ecology

The holotype and only specimen was collected from a flooded meadow partially fringed by pine trees at approximately 1,600m asl. This species is most likely associated with montane grassland (Pickersgill, 2008).


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

Activity and Special Behaviors

This species was heard calling in chorus with a dominant male initiating and nearby males joining in (Pickersgill, 2007).


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

Advertisement Call

The advertisement call was characterized by a single, short and hoarse croak, followed by a few dull clicks. This call is quite atypical for puddle frogs, who most often illicit high-pitched buzz-like calls, terminating with ticks (Pickersgill, 2007).


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

Phylogenetics

No sequence data is currently available for this species.


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 (2009) categorizes this species as Data Deficient since it has only recently been described, and there is still very little known about its extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, status and ecological requirements (Pickersgill, 2008).


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

Threats

There is no information regarding threats. However, if this species is dependent on montane grassland, it could be at risk, as this habitat is being lost to agriculture and tree plantations (Pickersgill, 2008).


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

Conservation Actions and Management

Surveys are needed to determine its distribution, ecological requirements and conservation needs. It is not known from any protected areas, though it could occur in the Udzungwa National Park (Pickersgill, 2008).


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