AmphibiaWeb - Astylosternus laticephalus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Astylosternus laticephalus Rödel, Hillers, Leaché, Kouamé, Ofori-Boateng, Diaz & Sandberger, 2012
family: Arthroleptidae
genus: Astylosternus
Species Description: Roedel M-O, Barej MF, Hillers A, Leache AD, Kouame NG, Ofori-Boateng C, Assemian NE, Tohe B, Penner J, Hirschfeld M, Doumbia J, Gonwouo LN, Nopper J, Brede C, Diaz R, Fujita MK, Gil M, Segniagbeto GH, Ernst R, Sandberger L. 2012 The genus Astylosternus in the upper Guinea rainforests, West Africa, with the description of a new species (Amphibia: Anura: Arthroleptidae). Zootaxa 3245: 1-29

© 2012 Daniel Portik (1 of 7)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Near Threatened (NT)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Astylosternus laticephalus is a compact, oval-bodied, West African frog with males that range from 48.7 - 53.8 mm in snout–vent length while the females range from 51.8 - 64.4 mm (Rödel et al. 2012). This species has a wide head with a rounded canthus rostralis. The dorsal integument is mostly smooth, with small scattered spines on the back, dorsal parts of extremities, and eyelids. The palmar tubercles are large and elliptical and supernumerary tubercles are absent. There are no tubercles or warts on forearms or interocular regions. Toe tips are slightly dilated with a small amount of low webbing. Males, during breeding season, have a single nuptial pad and no gular spines (Rödel et al. 2012).

The tadpoles have a total length ranging between 60 - 70 mm (Griesbaum et al. 2019) with a total body length of 23.8 mm (Rödel et al. 2012). The body length to total length ratio is 36.4%. The ventral-fin-height to dorsal-fin-height ratio is 82.6%. The keratodont formula is 1:1+1/1+1:2. The anterior lip papillae are positioned laterally and the posterior lip papillae are organized in one or two rows of small, uniformly rounded papillae, as long as they are wide. The rostral gap is large and the jaw sheaths are massive, and serrated. The upper jaw is broadly arched with a small medial fang and the lower jaw is broadly V-shaped (Griesbaum et al. 2019).

The adult dorsal coloration varies from gray to brownish-red and the back is scattered with distinct red dots. The supra-tympanal ridge is usually bordered by a thin black line. Ventral coloration is cream turning to yellow mottled with reddish brown on the limbs and feet. The fore and hind limbs may or may not have distinct black cross bars. The eye is bicolored, orange on top and gray on the bottom (Rödel et al. 2012). Tadpole coloration is pale brown or beige, with irregular small brown spots covering the body and tail. The ventral surface is grayish, with little to no dark speckling. The tail tip is darker. The jaw sheaths are black (Griesbaum et al. 2019).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Astylosternus laticephalus is found in eastern Ivory Coast and southern Ghana, where it is associated with small to mid-sized streams in lowland rainforests from 35 - 170 meters (Rödel et al. 2012; IUCN 2021). Its presence has been confirmed through surveys in Banco National Park in Ivory Coast and in Afao Hills Forest Reserve, Atewa Forest Reserve, Draw River Forest Reserve, and Ankasa Conservation Area in Ghana (Rödel et al. 2012).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Astylosternus laticephalus adults are nocturnal and, during the breeding season, males are found in leaf litter near swamps and sandy streams (Channing and Rödel 2019).

Trends and Threats
Threats to Astylosternus laticephalus include forest degradation and logging associated with small-scale mining and local land use. The forests where this species is found in southeastern Ivory Coast are under intense logging pressure, leaving them highly fragmented. In Ghana, their habitats are better protected but still are fragmented (IUCN 2021).

Preliminary genetic studies have found two clades in the genus, a West African clade and a Central African clade (Portik et al. 2019). Astylosternus laticephalus and its sister species A. occidentalis are the only species found in the West African clade (Rödel et al. 2012; Portik et al. 2019).


Channing, A., Rödel, M.-O. (2019). Field Guide to the Frogs and Other Amphibians of Africa. Penguin Random House South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa.

Griesbaum, F., Hirschfeld, M., Barej, M. F., Schmitz, A., Rohrmoser, M., Dahmen, M., Mühlberer, F., Liedtke, H.C. Gonwouo, N.L., Doumbia, J., Rödel, M. O. (2019). "Tadpoles of three western African frog genera: Astylosternus Werner, 1898, Nyctibates Boulenger, 1904, and Scotobleps Boulenger, 1900 (Amphibia, Anura, Arthroleptidae)." Zoosystematics and Evolution, 95, 133–160. [link]

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2020). "Astylosternus laticephalus (amended version of 2014 assessment)." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T16577694A176047651. Accessed on 11 January 2022.

Lötters, S., Gossmann, V., Obame, F., Böhme, W. (2001). "Zur Herpetofauna Gabuns Teil I: Einleitung, Untersuchungsgebiet und Methodik, kommentierte Artenliste der gefundenen Froschlurche." Herpetofauna, 23, 19–34.

Rödel, M.-O., Barej, M. F., Hillers, A., Leaché, A. D., Kouamé, N.G., Ofori-Boateng, C., Assemian, N. E., Tohé, B., Penner, J., Hirschfeld, M., Doumbia, J., Gonwouo L.N., Nopper, J., Brede, C., Diaz, R., Fujita, M.K., Gil, M., Segniagbeto, G.H., Ernest, R., Sandberger, L. (2012). "The genus Astylosternus in the Upper Guinea rainforests, West Africa, with the description of a new species (Amphibia: Anura: Arthroleptidae)." Zootaxa, 3245, 1–29. [link]

Originally submitted by: Kaitlin E. Allen, Magali Zoungrana, David C. Blackburn (2022-04-27)
Description by: Kaitlin E. Allen, Magali Zoungrana, David C. Blackburn (updated 2022-04-27)
Distribution by: Kaitlin E. Allen, Magali Zoungrana, David C. Blackburn (updated 2022-04-27)
Life history by: Kaitlin E. Allen, Magali Zoungrana, David C. Blackburn (updated 2022-04-27)
Trends and threats by: Kaitlin E. Allen, Magali Zoungrana, David C. Blackburn (updated 2022-04-27)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-04-27)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Astylosternus laticephalus <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 25, 2024.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25 Feb 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.