Sister species to X. vestitus. Xenopus lenduensis can be distinguished from other members of the vestitus-wittei subgroup and other clawed frogs by: (1) its range on the Lendu Plateau (the only other African clawed frog in this region is X. laevis); (2) a unique combination of morphological characters including the absence of a metatarsal claw, having short toes, variable presence of dorsal and ventral patterning, a small- to medium-sized subocular tentacle and a rounded snout; (3) its male advertisement call, which is much shorter than other members of the vestitus- wittei group and characterized by several unique spectral characteristics not found in other clawed frog species; (4) divergent mitochondrial and autosomal genes (Evans et al. 2011).
This species is a moderately-sized clawed frog, with male SVL averaging 40 mm (maximum of 46.02 mm SVL) and female SVL averaging 48 mm (maximum of 56.43 mm SVL). Eyes are small. A subocular tentacle is present and sometimes extends beyond the margin of the head in dorsal view. The snout is variable in shape but usually more rounded than triangular. Digits are relatively short. Hindfeet each have three claws. The metatarsal tubercle is small but prominent and lacks a claw. Breeding males have nuptial pads that extend from the arm base to the fingertips (Evans et al. 2011).
In life, the dorsum is light green to olive, with darker olive spots that vary in size. Some individuals also have darker brown to black spots on the dorsum, dark olive triangular-shaped spots posterior to the eyes, or a dark brown spot between the nostrils and eyes. Occasionally a light interorbital band is seen. Rarely, a dark olive hood is present on the head, similar to that often seen in X. vestitus, and sometimes a light olive hood is present, similar to variation observed in X. wittei. The ventral surfaces of the legs are orange or yellow. Sometimes the orange or yellow coloration extends onto the belly and ventral surfaces of arms and head. In other individuals the orange/yellow coloration of the ventral leg surfaces fades to a dark cream on the belly or makes an abrupt transition from orange to cream in the pelvic area. Legs and venter usually also have less pigmented spots, which may sometimes be pink or purple (Evans et al. 2011).
Xenopus lenduensis can be distinguished from the syntopic species X. laevis by a smaller body size: X. lenduensis female SVL averages 48.10 mm, with a maximum of 56.43 mm, vs. X. laevis average female SVL of 63.19 mm, and maximum female SVL of 67.75 mm; X. lenduensis male SVL averages 40.25 mm, with a maximum male SVL of 46.02 mm, vs. X. laevis average male SVL of 49.94 SVL, and maximum male SVL of 57.41 mm. X. lenduensis also has relatively smaller eyes than X. laevis, and is not as slimy when handled (Evans et al. 2011).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
Lendu Plateau, Orientale Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Individuals were collected at elevations ranging from 1,835-2,081 m asl, in small pools of standing water. Although the habitat was probably a mosaic of savannah forest at one time, the areas where this species occur are now almost entirely grassland with a few trees, mostly non-native (Evans et al. 2011).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The advertisement call of Xenopus lenduensis is a short, fast trill, with brief intervals between calls. Both call duration and call interval are shorter than other closely related species, and the call lacks the two distinct phases of X. laevis (Evans et al. 2011).
This species is often found in the same ponds as Xenopus laevis, but only in areas that are not completely cleared of vegetation (Evans et al. 2011).
Trends and Threats
The major threat is habitat fragmentation and destruction. Although X. lenduensis can sometimes be found in pools within agricultural areas, it does not occur in areas that have been highly disturbed or where the vegetation has been completely removed (such as areas used for water supply by humans) (Evans et al. 2011).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Drainage of habitat
Dams changing river flow and/or covering habitat
The diploid karyotype is 72 chromosomes; this species is an allooctoploid (Evans et al. 2011).
This species is named after the plateau where it occurs (Evans et al. 2011).
Evans, B. J., Greenbaum, E., Kusamba, C., Carter, T. F., Tobias, M. L., Mendel, S. A., and Kelley, D. B. (2011). ''Description of a new octoploid frog species (Anura: Pipidae: Xenopus) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a discussion of the biogeography of African clawed frogs in the Albertine Rift.'' Journal of Zoology, 283, 276-290.
Written by Ben Evans (evansb AT mcmaster.ca), McMaster University
First submitted 2011-03-14
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2011-04-12)
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on
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