AMPHIBIAWEB
Phrynobatrachus rungwensis
Rungwe puddle frog
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: Congo, the Democratic Republic of the, Malawi, Tanzania, United Republic of

 

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

   

From the Encyclopedia of Life account:

Etymology

The name refers to Mt. Rungwe in southern Tanzania, where the holotype specimen was collected.


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

Summary

Phrynobatrachus rungwensis is a small species (SVL < 24 mm) of puddle frog from highland regions of Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, and Tanzania. Members of this genus are identified by the presence of a midtarsal tubercle, elongate inner metatarsal tubercle, and outer metatarsal tubercle. Phrynobatrachus rungwensis is characterized by an indistinct tympanum and rudimentary webbing. The throat in females is blotched with brown, and the gular region in males is greyish or speckled.


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

Distribution

This species ranges from southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (in the vicinity of Upemba National Park), east to southern and central Tanzania (as far as the Udzungwa Mountains), south to Kasungu in central Malawi. It has not been recorded from northeastern Zambia but presumably occurs in this country (Pickersgill et al., 2004).


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

Morphology

A conical papilla present on the middle of the tongue. The snout longer than the horizontal diameter of the eye. The nostril is closer to the end of the snout than to the eye. The interorbital space is equal to, or slightly wider than, the upper eyelid. The tympanum is not visible. Loveridge (1932) described the tips of fingers and toes as tapered but not dilated, while Poynton and Broadley (1985) report that the middle toes are expanded into small discs with circummarginal grooves sometimes present. Finger I is much shorter than II, which is shorter than the IV; finger III is the longest. A rather indistinct tarsal tubercle present. while Inner and an outer metatarsal tubercles are present. The toes are webbed with three phalanges free of webbing on the 4th toe, and only two terminal joints free on the other four toes (Loveridge, 1932; Poynton and Broadley, 1985). Zimkus (unpublished) found that webbing was absent or rudimentary with four phalanges free of webbing on the 4th toe. The tibio-tarsal articulation of the adpressed hind limb reaches the eye. The skin of back smooth with flattened warts (Loveridge, 1932) The male gular sac is bounded posteriorly by a marked fold, and elongate, flattened femoral glands are present (Poynton and Broadley, 1985).

In alcohol, the dorsum is dusky brown, heavily overlaid with black. No light band is present below the tympanum. Distinct cross bars are present on the hind limbs (Loveridge, 1932). Upper and lower jaws are also barred (Poynton and Broadley, 1985). The venter is white. The posterior face of the thigh exhibits a light band bordered below by a complete or almost complete dark border. The throat in females is blotched with brown as far back as the forearms and also along the flanks (Loveridge, 1932). The gular region in males is greyish or speckled (Poynton and Broadley, 1985).


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

Size

The holotype measured 24 mm from snout to vent (Loveridge, 1932). Poynton and Broadley (1985) reported that males do not exceed 23 mm. According to Pickersgill (2007), males measure 17-18 mm (N=3), while females are 21-24 mm (N=3).


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

Diagnostic Description

This small-sized species (SVL < 24 mm) is characterized by an indistinct tympanum and rudimentary webbing. The throat in females is blotched with brown, and the gular region in males is greyish or speckled.


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

Comparisons

This species closely resembles other small-sized puddle frogs from East Africa, including P. inexpectatus, P. keniensis, P. kakamikro, P. mababiensis (C), P. minutus, P. parvulus, P. scheffleri and P. uzungwensis (Zimkus et al., 2010). P. uzungwensis has pronounced pedal webbbing, making it easily distinguishable from P. rungwensis. Phrynobatrachus minutus and P. parvulus males in breeding condition can be distinguished by throat colour, yellowish and dark grey, respectively. P. rungwensis also resembles P. stewartae, especially when specimens are dessicated and do not show the digital discs clearly (Poynton and Broadley, 1985).


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

Habitat and Ecology

It is a species of miombo woodland savannahs, and open grassland, including montane grassland. It is likely to be able to adapt to altered habitats, although data are lacking. It is found at higher elevations from approximately 1,000 m-2,000 m asl. (Pickersgill et al., 2004).


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

Population Biology

It is a common species in suitable habitats (Pickersgill et al., 2004).


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

Reproduction

It is particularly associated with grassy pools, puddles and marshes where it presumably breeds (Pickersgill 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. rungwensis is sister to P. uzungwensis (Zimkus and Schick, 2010; Zimkus et al., 2010). P. rungwensis falls within a larger group of puddle frog species from endemic to high elevations of East Africa that also includes P. inexpectatus, P. keniensis, P. kakamikro, P. mababiensis (C), P. minutus, P. parvulus and P. scheffleri (Zimkus et al., 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 wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category (Pickersgill et al., 2004).


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

Trends

Populations of this species are stable (Pickersgill et al., 2004).


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

Conservation Actions and Management

It occurs in the Upemba National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo), and presumably in several other protected areas (Pickersgill et al., 2004).


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