AmphibiaWeb - Arthroleptis palava


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Arthroleptis palava Blackburn, Gvozdík & Leaché, 2010
Problem Squeaker Frog
family: Arthroleptidae
genus: Arthroleptis
Species Description: Blackburn DC, Gvozdik V, Leache AD 2010 A new squeaker frog (Arthroleptidae: Arthroleptis) from the mountains of Cameroon and Nigeria. Herpetologica 66:335-348.
Arthroleptis palava
© 2010 Vaclav Gvozdik (1 of 7)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Diagnosis: Can be distinguished from congeners by body size (medium-small, with females reaching 24-29 mm SVL), head and ventral coloration patterns, and having relatively stout hindlimbs with a prominent inner metatarsal tubercle on each. Description: Medium-small, robust and slightly globular body (females to 29 mm SVL maximum; average female SVL was 26.9 mm and average male SVL was 23.5 mm). Limbs are stout. Head is approximately triangular in shape. Snout is triangular with a rounded tip and projects slightly over the lower jaw. Canthus rostralis is short and rounded, and the loreal region is weakly concave. Nares are small and elliptical, directed laterally and almost entirely visible when viewed from above. Eyes project just slightly beyond eyelids, but not beyond the margins of the head when viewed from above; when viewed in profile, eyes project slightly above the dorsal margin of the head. Eye diameter is 1.1x interorbital distance. Pupils are round. Tympanum is small and round with a poorly defined tympanic annulus. No supratympanic fold is present. Tongue is cordiform and robust, and covered with small pustules; it is broadly attached at the anterior and notched at the posterior. A small, indistinct, rounded papilla is also present on the dorsal surface of the tongue, near the point of anterior attachment. Choanae are small and rounded. Both premaxillary and maxillary teeth are present; vomerine teeth are absent. Limbs are stout. Fingers and toes are stout with rounded and swollen tips, and lack webbing. Relative finger lengths are III>II=IV>I. Relative toe lengths are IV>III>V>II>I. Inner metatarsal tubercle is prominent and flange-like, and may be shorter than or slightly longer than the first toe. Skin is smooth to somewhat tuberculate, with an indistinct median skin raphe and a glandular, wrinkled ventral "seat patch". Males have a hypertrophied third finger and small spines on the medial surfaces of the second and third fingers. Males also have spines on the inguinal region, on the dorsum just anterior to the vent, and on the sides past the snout-vent midpoint.

Coloration in life and variation: Pale to medium brown dorsum with small darker brown or black markings. A pale creamy mid-dorsal stripe may be present, particularly in individuals from the Mambilla Plateau and Bamenda Highlands. Lateral surfaces have both darker brown to nearly black markings and paler brown to creamy tan markings. Venter is gray to white, with dark brown markings; individuals from the Mambilla Plateau and Bamenda Highlands have the darkest ventral markings. Throat lacks a distinct pale median stripe but may have the suggestion of a stripe in some individuals. Iris is gold with black vermiculations. A pale interorbital bar may be present and edged with small dark spots that sometimes coalesce into a dark line. This species generally has a fragmented supratympanic band extending from the posterior corner of the eye to behind the tympanum, with most Bamenda Highlands individuals and some Obudu Plateau individuals showing a more continuous supratympanic band on each side.

Similar species: It can be distinguished from other medium-small congeners (those equal to or larger than 25 mm SVL) as follows: from A. adelphus by smaller body size, smoother dorsum and flanks, and a more defined supratympanic band; from A. adolfifriederici by smaller body size and a more flange-shaped inner metatarsal tubercle; from A. affinis by smaller body size and the absence of prominent supernumerary tubercles on the feet; from A. bioko and A. francei by having a fragmented supratympanic band (generally) and a larger inner metatarsal tubercle; from A. krokosua by a lighter-colored throat and vent, by the absence of large black spots on the flanks, and by having Finger IV longer (generally) than Fingers I and II; from A. perreti by the absence of dark coloration and lack of numerous white spots on the posterior thigh; from A. reichei by less swollen digit tips; from A. stenodactylus by a more pigmented venter and (generally) a fragmented supratympanic band; from A. nikeae, A. nguruensis, and A. tanneri by its smaller body size (29 mm maximum female SVL in A. palava vs. >50 mm SVL in A. nikeae, >40 mm SVL in A. nguruensis and A. tanneri, and also a narrower head than for A. nguruensis and A. tanneri; from A. tuberosus by smoother skin; from A. variabilis by the absence of a distinct, pale throat stripe (although it is indistinctly present in some A. palava individuals); from A. wahlbergii by the absence of a dark inguinal spot and well-defined supernumerary metatarsal tubercles, and the presence of a more prominent inner metatarsal tubercle.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Cameroon, Nigeria

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This species occurs in the northern mountains of the Cameroon Volcanic Line (Mount Oku, Cameroon, and the Obudu and Mambilla Plateaus of Nigeria). Expected to be more widely distributed, possibly throughout the Acha-Tugi Ridge that crosses the border between Cameroon and Nigeria. It has been found at elevations between 1000 and 1900 m above sea level. Habitat includes both native forest and eucalyptus plantations, as well as farmland and grasslands.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The call and life history are not yet known.

Trends and Threats
This is an adaptable species, associated with human-altered, degraded habitat such as grasslands and farms, and does not currently appear to be facing any significant threats. It also occurs within at least one protected area, the Nyaki Forest Reserve in Nigeria.

Species authority: This species was described by Blackburn et al. (2010). It was first collected by Arne Schiøtz in 1959 on the Obudu Plateau, who recognized that it might possibly be a new species but did not describe it (Schiøtz 1963; Schiøtz 1966). Blackburn et al. (2010) found that genetic divergence within A. palava was extremely low, less than 0.01%. It is morphologically very similar to A. poecilonotus but is distinct in mitochondrial sequence, instead forming a clade with A. krokosua, A. perreti, and A. variabilis.

Etymology: The specific epithet palava means "problem" in Central and West African pidgin language, and refers to the frequent confusion of this species with Arthroleptis poecilonotus, which is a species complex.


Blackburn, D. C., Gvoždík, V., and Leaché, A. D. (2010). ''A new squeaker frog (Arthroleptidae: Arthroleptis) from the mountains of Cameroon and Nigeria.'' Herpetologica, 66, 335-348.

Schiøtz, A. (1963). ''The amphibians of Nigeria.'' Vedenskabelige Meddelelser fra Dansk Naturhistorisk Forening, 125, 1-92.

Schiøtz, A. (1966). ''On a collection of Amphibia from Nigeria.'' Vedenskabelige Meddelelser fra Dansk Naturhistorisk Forening, 129, 43-48.

Originally submitted by: Kellie Whittaker (first posted 2010-11-11)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2010-11-11)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2010 Arthroleptis palava: Problem Squeaker Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 15, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 15 Jul 2024.

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