AMPHIBIAWEB
Phrynobatrachus minutus
family: Phrynobatrachidae
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
CITES
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Ethiopia

 

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

   

From the Encyclopedia of Life account:

Summary

Phrynobatrachus minutus is a small species (SVL < 23 mm) of puddle frog endemic to Ethiopia. Members of this genus are identified by the presence of a midtarsal tubercle, elongate inner metatarsal tubercle, and outer metatarsal tubercle. P. minutus is characterized by rudimentary or absent webbing. Adult males exhibit yellow throats, extensive minute spinules on the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the body, and femoral glands.


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

Etymology

This species is named for the Latin 'minutus' meaning small.


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

Distribution

It is endemic to Ethiopia on both sides of the Rift Valley, widely distributed in the central and southern parts of the country (Largen et al., 2004).


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

Morphology

The following is from the original description by Boulenger (1895):

Tongue exhibits a free papilla in the middle. Head is moderate, as long as broad. Snout is rounded, slightly little shorter than the diameter of the orbit. Canthus rostralis is rounded. Tympanum is hidden.
Fingers and toes are blunt. First finger is shorter than the second. Toes are webbed at the base, with the web extending as a fringe to the tip. A tarsal tubercle, as well as small, oval inner metatarsal tubercle are present (Note: no outer metarsal tubercle is mentioned, but one is present- B.Z.). The subarticular tubercles are prominent. The tibio-tarsal articulation reaches the posterior border of the eye. The skin is smooth. Color is blackish brown above and whitish beneath. A fine whitish vertebral line is present. Male with a subgular vocal sac (Boulenger, 1895).

Largen (2001) decribes this species as follows:

Tympanum barely discernible below the skin. Nostril is situated closer to the snout tip than the eye. Webbing is rudimentary or absent. Digit tips may or may not expanded into discs defined by circummarginal grooves. Adult males exhibit femoral glands situated posteroventrally on the distal half of each thigh. Gular skin forms a U-shaped pouch with one or more lateral folds and a somewhat deeper transverse fold posteriorly. Dorsum is brown, often with a pale vertebral line accompanied by a pale line on the hindlimbs from the vent to heel or broad mid-dorsal stripe present. A dark triangle may be present immediately behind a pale interorbital bar. Upper lip occasionally barred, and lower jaw regularly patterned with bands. A pale streak or row of spots may extend from below the eye towards the forelimb. Throat coloration in both sexes pale with uniformly distributed melanophores, creating a mottled or vermiculated appearance. Gular region in males is bright yellow in life. The breast and abdomen are cream or white with clustered spots.


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

Size

Phrynobatrachus minutus is a small (snout–vent length < 23 mm) puddle frog species. Snout-vent length varies from 15-20 mm in males, and 18-23 mm in females (Largen, 2001). The male holotype measured 16 mm from snout to vent (Boulenger, 1895).


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

Diagnostic Description

Phrynobatrachus minutus is a small species (SVL < 23 mm) of puddle frogs, characterized by 3.5-4 digits free of web on toe IV, presence or absence of digital discs, and a tympanum barely discernible below the skin. Adult males exhibit yellow throats (no more than a pale grey cast in alcohol), extensive minute spinules on the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the body, and femoral glands.


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

Comparisons

It is morphologically most similar to other small-sized East African species of puddle frogs, including P. kakamikro, P. keniensis, P. kinangopensis, P. mababiensis, P. minutus, P. pallidus, P. parvulus, P. rungwensis, P. scheffleri, P. ukingensis, P. ungujae and P. uzungwensis. This species is larger than the sympatric P. inexpectatus, and adult males of the latter species have dark grey throats in life (Largen, 2001). P. graueri, P. bequaerti, and P. rungwensis are slightly larger, and adult males of these species have dark grey to black throats. Male P. parvulus and P. ukingensis also exhibit heavily pigmented throats. P. scapularis is smaller in size and webbing but exhibits a pale strip on the back of the thigh. Both P. rouxi has more extensize webbing with 3 phalanges free on toe IV and 2 phalanges free on toe V (Grandison and Howell, 1984). P. kinangopensis, P. perpalmatus, and P. rouxi are of smaller size and exhibit a visible tympanum. In addition, the foot of P. kinangopensis and P. perpalmatus exhibits extensive webbing. P. pallidus, P. rungwensis, P. ukingensis, P. ungujae and P. uzungwensis have well developed digital discs. In addition, P. uzungwensis exhibits extensive pedal webbing. P. breviceps, P. keniensis, and P. stewartae exhibit more extensive pedal webbing (at maximum two and a half phalanges of fourth toe free of webbing). P. scheffleri


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

Habitat and Ecology

It is found amongst herbaceous vegetation or rocks at the swampy margins of lakes, rivers, streams and temporary pools in both moist grassland and forest clearings. It is generally found at 1,300-2,800m asl, possibly down to 800m asl. (Largen et al., 2004).


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

Population Biology

It is quite common in Ethiopia wherever suitable habitat is found (Largen et al., 2004).


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

Reproduction

It breeds in lake edges, rivers, streams and pools (Largen et al., 2004).


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

Phylogenetics

Mitochodrial sequence data from 12S rRNA, valine-tRNA, and 16S rRNA fragment, as well as combined sequence data from mitochondrial and nuclear (RAG-1) genes indicate that P. inexpectatus is the sister species of P. minutus, and this clade in turn is sister to P. scheffleri (Zimkus and Schick, 2010; Zimkus et al., 2010). P. minutus falls within a larger group of puddle frog species endemic to high elevations of East Africa that also includes P. keniensis, P. kakamikro, P. mababiensis (C), P. minutus, P. parvulus, P. rungwensis, and P. uzungwensis (Zimkus et al., 2010).

Specimens previously identified as P. minutus from Muti Deyo, 53 km south of Addis Ababa, were identified as a potential new species sister to P. pallidus by Zimkus and Schick (2010).


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 Least Concern in view of its relatively wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category (Largen et al., 2004).


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

Threats

It is likely to be impacted by habitat degradation, especially as a result of agricultural expansion, human settlement and overgrazing by livestock (Largen et al., 2004)


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

Conservation Actions and Management

It occurs in the Bale Mountains National Park in Ethiopia, and probably in several other protected areas (Largen et al., 2004).


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