Species Description: Channing & Stanley 2002 Afr.J.Herpetol. 51: 122
Churamiti maridadi is a Tanzanian frog species with a female snout-vent length ranging from 56.4 - 56.5 millimeters and a snout-urostyle length of 52.2 - 53.3 millimeters. No males of this species have been described. The head is wide and flat head with a blunt snout. The maximum head width measured at the angle of the jaw ranges 18 - 20 millimeters while the distance from the anterior corner of the eye to the snout tip ranges 6.9 - 7.3 millimeters. The cathus is slightly concave, and the internostril distance ranges from 4.1 - 5.8 milimeters. Its nostrils are raised and the elliptical openings are directed laterally with the the interorbital distance ranging from 5.7 - 5.9 millimeters. The distance from the nostril to the anterior corner of the eye ranges between 3.9 - 4.6 millimeters and the length from the nostril to the snout tip ranges between 1.6 - 2.9 millimeters. The horizontal eye diameter range is 6.0 - 6.6 millimeters. Additionally, its protruding eyes are wider than its jaw. Its upper eyelid is glandular. The distance between the anterior corners of the eyes is between 9.1 - 10.9 millimeters. Churamiti maridadi lacks parotid glands and instead has clusters of approximately 20 rounded warts tipped with small spines. It has long fingers with truncated terminal discs. The third finger is 36% of the snout urostyle length and slightly wider than the length of the inner metatarsal tubercle. The length of the third finger including the palmar tubercle and the width of the disc of the third finger are 19.4 millimeters and 3.0 millimeters respectively in the holotype. There are fine, rounded tubercles that cover the palm. The subarticular tubercles are rounded and slightly raised. The back and ventral surface of C. maridadi is smooth with the exception of rounded glandular warts on the back and a granular area on the lower belly and adjacent thigh. Churamiti maridadi has long hindlimbs with the tibia making up 45% of the snout urostyle length, the length of the fourth toe including the inner metatarsal tubercle ranging 28.2 - 31.3 millimeters (Channing and Stanley 2002).
Churamiti maridadi possesses a combination of features in such that it cannot be be assigned to any previously existing genus. The new genus of Churamiti, was created to accommodate Churamiti maridadi, and is characterized by the genus having large expanded finger and toe tips, a lack of parotids, lack of a means of hearing, and a metallic color on the back of the species (Channing and Stanley 2002).
In life, the color of the dorsal region is a deep metallic yellow to olive green. This color extends in erratic patterns onto the forearms and thighs and dot the upper distal surfaces of the limbs, the wrists, and the upper feet. The color that extends onto the limbs is a brighter yellow color than the back and there are reddish-brown warts that stand out on the shiny back. The parts on the limbs not covered in yellow are red and pinkish while the margins of the yellow on the limbs resemble lichen. The eyelids and the canthus rostralis are reddish, and the top and sides of the snout are vermiculated in yellow. The lower eye and the sides of the snout are brown with vermiculated yellow on top and the upper jaw is a cream color. Finally, C. maridadi has horizontal pupils with silvery gold eyes (Channing and Stanley 2002).
In preservative, C. maridadi is reddish brown dorsally with yellowish glands covering the eyelids and the limbs (Channing and Stanley).
The only paratype displays dramatic color variations from the holotype, with a dorsal metallic olive green color instead of metallic yellow and pale blue-green limbs instead of bright yellow ones (Channing and Stanley 2002).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Tanzania, United Republic of
The two specimens used to describe Churamiti maridadi were found in the Ukaguru Mountains in Tanzania. More specifically, they were found in the Morogoro Region and the Kilosa District in the Mamiwa-Kisara Forest Reserve at 1840 meters above sea level (Channing and Stanley 2002).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The two specimens that were collected were found on the forest floor of a slightly degraded primary forest, among leaf litter. The lichen-like pattern found on the back of C. maridadi and their large discs indicate that they primarily live in forests (Channing and Stanley 2002).
Also, although there isn’t much information on the reproduction of this species, the pigmented eggs of C. maridadi, which were collected by dissection of the paratype, suggest that reproduction does not involve tadpole retention in the oviducts (Channing and Stanley 2002).
The advertisement call is unknown (Channing and Stanley 2002).
Trends and Threats
Due to habitat loss from agricultural encroachment and human settlement, the population of this species is suspected to be decreasing (Channing and Stanley 2002).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
The species possesses a combination of characters that prevented it from being assigned to an existing bufonid genus. However, no phylogenetic relationships are currently available (Channing and Stanley 2002).
“Chura” means “toad or frog” in Swahili and “miti” means “tree”. Churamiti literally means tree frog in Swahili. The species epithet, “maridadi" is Swahili for “beautiful”, which is attributed to the colorfulness of the frog species. Put together, Churamiti maridadi means “beautiful tree frog” (Channing and Stanley 2002).
It is the first species in its genus (Channing and Stanley 2002).
This species was among a group of 57 amphibian specimens, assigned to 5 undescribed species in 3 families, collected during a mammal survey of the Ugakuru Mountains in 1999 (Channing and Stanley 2002).
Channing, A., Stanley, W. T. (2002). ''A new tree toad from the Ukaguru mountains, Tanzania.'' African Journal of Herpetology, 51(2), 121-128.
Written by Michael Chou (mchou359 AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2018-02-20
Edited by Ann T. Chang (2018-02-22)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2018 Churamiti maridadi <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/6620> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 11, 2018.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2018. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 11 Dec 2018.
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