AmphibiaWeb - Leptopelis brevirostris


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Leptopelis brevirostris (Werner, 1898)
family: Arthroleptidae
genus: Leptopelis
Leptopelis brevirostris
© 2013 Daniel Portik (1 of 3)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Leptopelis brevirostris is a medium-sized Leptopelis with males having a snout-vent length of 30.7 – 43.0 mm (mean 36.7 ± SD 2.9 mm) and females with a snout-vent length of 26.7 – 65.2 mm (mean 47.1 ± SD 8.6 mm). The snout is sharply truncated in profile, relatively short, and sub-equal to the eye diameter. Males have a snout-to-eye-ratio of 0.7 – 1.2 (mean 1.0 ± SD 0.1) and females have a snout-to-eye-ratio of 0.6 – 1.2 (mean 1.0 ± SD 0.1). The tympanic annulus complete, only weakly visible in some specimens. The skin on surface of tympanum is sometimes smoother than surrounding skin in temporal region, sometimes obscured by granular skin as in temporal region, sometimes differing between left and right tympana of same individual. The skin on dorsum is smooth, shagreened or weakly granular. Males do not have distinct pectoral glands. Additionally, there is no ulnar tubercle no dermal spur on tibiotarsal joint (Bell et al. 2019).

The Central African species, L. notatus (Peters, 1875), is the presumed sister taxon to L. brevirostris (Deichmann et al. 2017; Portik et al. 2019) and the two species are largely sympatric. Snout length is less than or roughly equal to eye diameter in L. brevirostris, whereas snout length exceeds eye diameter in L. notatus (Bell et al. 2019).

The dorsal coloration is usually uniformly green or brown, sometimes with light-colored (yellow, brown or orange in life) spots or irregular pattern on region from top of head to sacrum [see Figure 3 in Bell et al. 2019; Plate II in Boulenger (1906); Figure 13 in Lötters et al. (2001); Figure 1 in Lötters et al. (2005); Figures 216 to 218 in Amiet (2012)]. The flank coloration is sometimes the same as the dorsum, sometimes lighter green, lighter brown, or grey, occasionally with small black spots. The ventral coloration is uniform or in combination of white, creamy- white, or yellow, sometimes with small, scattered dark spots.

Other than variation in coloration (described above), L. brevirostris within a locality may vary with respect to the prominence of the tympanum (smooth skin with a visible tympanum or granular skin obscuring the tympanum), and the size and shape of the vomerine teeth (Bell et al. 2019).

Distribution and Habitat

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

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View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (15 records).
Leptopelis brevirostris is found in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Bell et al. 2019). This species occurs in lowland and submontane (<1 500 m above sea level) forest habitats (Amiet and Schiøtz 1974; Amiet 1975; de la Riva 1994; Hofer et al. 1999; Schiøtz 1999; Lasso et al. 2002; Jackson and Blackburn 2007; Frétey et al. 2011; Amiet 2012).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Leptopelis brevirostris is thought to reproduce by direct development (Perret 1966; Amiet and Schiøtz 1974) because females deposit large eggs in the soil of the forest floor, far from bodies of water (Schiøtz 1999; Plath et al. 2004; Jackson et al. 2007).

In certain places males gather in fairly large numbers to call. The areas of the forest where these gatherings take place do not seem to differ from other, similar sites where the frogs are absent. Pools and puddles are consistently lacking at these sites, and since the eggs are very large (0.5 mm) and full of yolk it seems likely that L. brevirostris has forgone the free-swimming tadpole stage of development (Schiøtz 1999).

The males call from branches or lianas, sometimes a leaf, normally not higher than 3 metres above the ground and apparently far from water. The voice is a rather tonal, brief "tok", repeated once or twice, sometimes three times in succession. A longer call is emitted more rarely. It is a long succession of quiet figures, followed by a normal clack (Schiøtz 1999).

Unlike most species in the genus, L. brevirostris eats terrestrial gastropods (Schiøtz 1999).

In a morphological study that examined more than 70 specimens, the tympanic annulus was complete in all individuals, however, the thickness and texture of the skin covering the tympanic annulus varied considerably between specimens and sometimes between the left and right sides of an individual frog (Bell et al. 2019). Loss of the tympanic membrane (and other elements of the middle ear) in anurans is often associated with a decrease in hearing sensitivity at high frequencies (>1 kHz) but this has not yet been examined in L. brevirostris. The advertisement call of males is a brief clack at 1 kHz (Schiøtz 1999).

Trends and Threats
Leptopelis brevirostris is a species of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The species has a large distribution, is presumed to have large populations, and can be found several protected areas including Korup National Park in Cameroon and Monte Alen National Park in Equatorial Guinea. However, the species is still threatened by loss of forest habitat due to agriculture expansion, logging, and expanding human settlements (IUCN 2013).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing

The species authority is: Werner F. (1898). “Ueber reptilien und batracheir aus Togoland, Kamerun, und Tunis aus dem kgl Museum für Naturkunde in Berklin.” Verhandlungen des Zoologisch-Botanischen Vereins in Wein. 48:191–213.

The Central African species, L. notatus (Peters, 1875), is the presumed sister taxon to L. brevirostris (Deichmann et al. 2017; Portik et al. 2019)

Some parts of the "Life History" section of this account were taken from "Treefrogs of Africa" by Arne Schiøtz with kind permission from Edition Chimaira publishers, Frankfurt am Main.


Amiet J-L. (2012). Les Rainettes du Cameroun (Amphibiens Anoures). J.-L. Amiet, Nyons, France and La Nef des Livres, Saint-Nazaire, France.

Amiet, J.-L. (1974). ''Voix d'amphibiens camerounais IV. Raninae: genres Ptychadena, Hildebrandtia et Dicroglossus.'' Annales de la Faculté des Sciences du Cameroun, 18, 109-128.

Amiet, J.L. (1975). ''Ecologie et distribution des amphibiens anoures de la région de Nkongsamba (Cameroun).'' Annales de la Faculté des Sciences de Yaoundé, 20, 33-107.

Bell R.C., McLaughlin P.J., Jongsma G.F.M., Blackburn D.C., Stuart B.L. (2019). ''Morphological and genetic variation of Leptopelis brevirostris encompasses the little-known treefrogs Leptopelis crystallinoron from Gabon and Leptopelis brevipes from Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea.'' African Journal of Herpetology , 68(2), 91–117. [link]

Boulenger, G. A. (1906). ''Report on the batrachians collected by the late L. Fea in West Africa.'' Genova Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, 42, 157-172.

Deichmann JL, Mulcahy DG, Vanthomme H, Tobi E, Wynn AH, Zimkus BM, McDiarmid RW (12). ''How many species and under what names? Using DNA barcoding and GenBank data for west Central African amphibian conservation.'' PLoS One, 2017(11), e0187283. [link]

Frétey T, Dewynter M, Blanc CP (2011). Clé de détermination illustrée des amphibiens du Gabon et du Mbini. Illustrated identification key of the amphibians from Gabon and Mbini.. Biotope, Mèze, Paris, France: Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle. .

Hofer U, Bersier L-F, Borcard D (1999). ''Spatial organization of a herpetofauna on an elevational gradient revealed by null model tests.'' Ecology, 80(3), 976–988. [link]

Jackson K, Blackburn DC (2007). ''The amphibians and reptiles of Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, Congo (Brazzaville).'' Salamandra (Frankf), 43, 149. [link]

Jackson K, Zassi-Boulou A-G, Mavoungou L-B, Pangou S (2007). ''Amphibians and reptiles of the Lac Télé Community Reserve, Likouala Region, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).'' Herpetol Conserv Biol, 2, 75–86. [link]

Lasso, C.A., Rial, A.I., Castroviejo, J., De la Riva, I. (2002). ''Herpetofauna del Parque Nacional de Monte Alén (Río Muni, Guinea Ecuatorial).'' Graellsia, 58(2), 21–34. [link]

Lötters, S., Gossman, V., Obame, F., and Böhme, W. (2001). ''Zur Herpetofauna Gabuns. Teil 1: Einleitung, Untersuchungsgebiet und Methodik, kommentierte Artenliste der gefundenen Froschlurche. [The herpetofauna of Gabon. Part 1: Introduction, study area and methodology, annotated species list of recorded anurans.].'' Herpetofauna (Wiesenstadt), 23, 19-34.

Lötters, S., Rödel, M. O., Burger, M. (2005). ''A new large treefrog from north-western Gabon (Hyperoliidae: Leptopelis).'' The Herpetological Journal, 15, 149-152.

Perret, J.-L. (1966). ''Les amphibiens du Cameroun.'' Zoologische Jahrbücher für Systematik, 8, 289-464.

Peters, W. (1875). ''Über die von Hrn. Professor Dr. R. Buchholz in Westafrika gesammelten Amphibien.'' Monatsberichte der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, März, 196-212.

Plath M, Solbach M, Herrmann H-W (2004). ''Anuran habitat selection and temporal partitioning in a montane and submontane rainforest in southwestern Cameroon – first results.'' Salamandra (Frankf), 40, 239-260. [link]

Portik DM, Bell RC, Blackburn DC, Bauer AM, Barratt CD, Branch WR, Burger M, Channing A, Colston TJ, Conradie W, Dehlin JM, Drewes RC, Ernst R, Greenbaum E, Gvozdík V, Harvey J, Hillers A, Hirschfeld M, Jongsma GFM, Kielgast J, Kouete MT, Lawson LP, Leaché AD, Loader SP, Lötters S, van der Meijden A, Menegon M, Müller S, Nagy ZT, Ofori-Boateng C, Ohler A, Papenfuss TJ, Rößler D, SinschU, Rödel MO, Veith M, Vindum J, Zassi-Boulou AG, McGuire JA (2019). ''Sexual dichromatism drives diversification within a major radiation of African amphibians.'' Systematic Biology , 68(6), 859-875. [link]

Schiøtz, A. (1967). ''The treefrogs (Rhacophoridae) of West Africa.'' Spolia Zoologica Musei Hauniensis, 25, 1-346.

Schiøtz, A. (1999). Treefrogs of Africa. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main.

de la Riva, I (1994). ''Anfibios anuroś del Parque Nacional de Monte Alén, Rió Muni, Guinea Equatorial.'' Revista Española de Herpetologia , 8, 123–139.

Originally submitted by: Rayna C. Bell and Arne Schiøtz (first posted 2001-02-07)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker and Ann T. Chang (2020-08-21)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2020 Leptopelis brevirostris <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 28, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 28 May 2024.

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