Young Itombwe Forest Treefrog
Species Description: Portillo F, Greenbaum E. 2014 At the edge of a species boundary: a new and relatively young species of Leptopelis Z(Anura: Arthroleptidae) from the Itombwe Plateau, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Herpetologica 70: 100- 119.
© 2014 Eli Greenbaum 2011 (1 of 2)
Leptopelis anebos is most distinct from other Leptopelis due to lacking heel spurs, having obvious subocular marks, and having complete toe webbing. Leptopelis karissimbensis may be more gray or reddish brown on the back (cream or tan in L. anebos). It also has smaller tibia and feet and a lower-frequency advertisement call. Further, L. karissimbensis occurs in high elevation forest edges, meadows, and swamps. Leptopelis modestus is restricted to the Cameroonian highlands. It also has a green or blue vocal sac (gray in L. anebos), and has a brown back. Leptopelis fiziensis has an advertisement call of 2 - 3 clacks or pulses per call (1 clack/pulse per call in L. anebos) and its back can be brown, dark grayish-brown, or tan. Furthermore, L. fiziensis inhabits low to mid elevation transitional forest (Portillo and Greenbaum 2014).
In life, L. anebos has a grayish-cream back, and the round dorsal tubercles are black or brown. There are cream flecks scattered on the back. Behind the eyes, there is a diffuse, indistinct brownish reticulate pattern. The iris is brown with a fine black reticulation. The area between the eye and the snout tip is light brown-gray. There is a rectangular cream blotch just below the eye that is slightly wider where it touches the lip than where it touches the eye. The tympanum is the same color as the back. The underside is white, and the sides are grayish-blue. The vocal sac is gray (Portillo and Greenbaum 2014).
In preservative, the back is a uniform brown. There are three slightly visible, brownish bands on the arms and four gray bands on the legs. There are small white blotches on the sides. The tubercles on the back are brown or black. The vocal sac is a brownish-gray (Portillo and Greenbaum 2014).
The tympanum can be more oval than round in some individuals. Some of these frogs may have more or less distinct dark brown to black spots on the back with or without grayish-brown bands. The white spots on the back may not be present. Some individuals may have more distinct dark brown bands on the top of the limbs. Some individuals may also have a distinct triangular, dark brown pattern between the eyes. Males are smaller than females, but this requires further verification as only one female has been collected (Portillo and Greenbaum 2014).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The advertisement call is a single-pulsed clack that sounds like “quack” to the human ear. They call at night. The repetition is constant, and the call lasts an average 0.21 seconds. The time between calls is about 3.48 seconds. The frequency for the call is between 1.74 - 2.18 kHz (Portillo and Greenbaum 2014).
Trends and Threats
The landscape of the Itombwe Plateau is being threatened by deforestation and fragmentation due to agriculture, logging, mining, and ranching. The habitat quality and quantity is declining, so it is likely that the population is also declining (IUCN 2016).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Maximum likelihood analysis and Bayesian inference of 16s, cyt b, mitochondrial and RAG-1 nuclear DNA sequences showed this species diverged from its sister taxon, L. karissimbensi, less than 1 million years ago. Earlier, the L. fiziensis complex split from the L. karissimbensis/anebos complex and is the next closest ancestor (Portillo et al. 2015).
The specific epithet, “anebos”, comes from the Greek word “anebos” meaning “young or immature or not yet into adulthood.” It refers to the relatively young age of the new species based on the small branch lengths between it and L. karissimbensis (Portillo and Greenbaum 2014).
Greenbaum, E., Meece, J., Reed, K., Kusamba, C. (2015). ''Extensive occurrence of the amphibian chytrid fungus in the Albertine Rift, a Central African amphibian hotspot.'' Herpetological Journal, 25, 91-100.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2016. Leptopelis anebos. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T73785830A73785852. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T73785830A73785852.en. Downloaded on 27 March 2017.
Portillo, F. Greenbaum, E. (2014). ''At the Edge of a Species Boundary: A New and Relatively Young Species of Leptopelis (Anura: Arthroleptidae) from the Itombwe Plateau, Democratic Republic of the Congo.'' Herpetologica, 70(1), 100-119.
Portillo, F., Greenbaum, E., Menegon, M., Kusamba, C., Dehling, J. M. (2015). ''Phylogeography and species boundaries of Leptopelis (Anura: Arthroleptidae) from the Albertine Rift.'' Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 82, 75-86.
Written by Courtenay Harding (chardinglou AT gmail.com), University of Florida
First submitted 2017-10-25
Edited by Ann T. Chang (2017-10-25)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2017 Leptopelis anebos: Young Itombwe Forest Treefrog <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/8135> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 11, 2019.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2019. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 11 Dec 2019.
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