AmphibiaWeb - Nectophrynoides laticeps


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Nectophrynoides laticeps Channing, Menegon, Salvidio & Akker, 2005
family: Bufonidae
genus: Nectophrynoides
Species Description: Channing A, Menegon M, Salvidio S, Akker S, 2005 A new forest toad from the Ukaguru Mountains, Tanzania (Bufonidae: Nectophrynoides). Afr J Herp 54:149-157.
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
CITES Appendix I
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Nectophrynoides laticeps is a small, robust-bodied frog with a snout to urostyle length of 13.8 - 23.9 mm. The head is relatively large with a smooth flat snout when viewed from above. From the side, the snout is pointed and extends past the upper lip. A glandular patch can be found toward the front of the inferior jaw. The lightly raised nostrils are aligned vertically to the mouth and located near the tip of the snout. The concave canthal ridge is approximately a quarter of the length from the eye to the tip of the snout. There is also a sharp ridge between the end of the snout and the eye. The eyes can be seen from the ventral side. Warts and small glands extend posteriorly from the upper eyelid. The round tympanum is visible and located 1.3 tympanum-lengths behind the eye. The limbs are slim and the fingertips are rounded. The fourth finger is lengthier than the second finger. They have large metacarpal tubercles; the upper hand and arm are granular, and spines are visible on the finger sides. Fingers lack webbing. Males have nuptial pads on the thumb. The tibia is shorter than the foot, and the length of the foot is bigger than the width of the head. The tips of the toes are pale, circular and not lengthened. There is no webbing of the toes. The metatarsal tubercles are raised, pale and circular. There are rows of small tubercles located at the base of the toes and metatarsal tubercles. The hind limb is covered by warts (Channing et al. 2005).

Enlarged spines on skin and the loss of paratoid glands in Nectophrynoides paulae are used to differentiate them from Nectophrynoides laticeps. They have a call described as a whistle followed by a chirp that differentiates them from other species (Menegon et al. 2007). From N. viviparous, N. laticeps can be differentiated by its poorly developed limb glands. From N. asperginis, N. cryptus, N. frontieria, N. laevis, N. pseudotornieri, and N. wendyae it can be differentiated by its distinct tympanum. From N. tornieri it can be differentiated by its long finger discs. From N. poyntoni it is differentiated by its longer parotoid gland (twice as long vs. just as long as the eyelid). And from N. minutus it is differentiated by having many warts on the parotids (Channing et al 2005).

In life, the dorsal coloration is dark brown with a yellow-brown or grey-brown mark atop the snout and on the upper arms. Similarly colored speckles can be found irregularly marking the dorsum. Some individuals are also marked on the back with an hourglass pattern. It sides are somewhat darker with no distinct markings on the dorsum or sides. A light band runs from the eye to the corner of the mouth. Some individuals are colored pale brown or dark brown, with varied markings of darker or paler hues. There are darker patches on the sides and limbs. The vertebral line is dark. The throat and belly are dark brown and may have with slivery-white speckles that decrease in size as they get closer to the anterior surface. The inferior jaw has pale spots. There is a pale band from the bottom of the orbit to the jaw. The underside of the hands and feet are black (Channing et al. 2005; Harper et al. 2010). In preserved specimens dorsal ground color varies from uniform dark brown to light grey with a variable pattern. Ventral color pattern is relatively constant and similar to the holotype. Maxillary brown blotches on the side of the head are always present, but tend to disappear in dark specimens. A pale mid-dorsal vertebral line is often present, sometimes interrupted in some specimens (Menegon et al. 2007).

Little variation is observed in the eight specimens collected. The tibia/foot ratio also varies (Menegon et al. 2007).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Tanzania, United Republic of

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Found in the montane forest at the Mamiwa-Kisara Forest Reserve located in the Ukaguru Mountains of Tanzania. It lives at an elevation range of about 1850 to 2200 m (Harper et al. 2010).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Nectophrynoides laticeps is found on the ground in leaf litter and can be found active both day and night.

They have a type of call that was identified by Channing et al. (2005) as “a whistle followed by a short chirp, although later in the year only the chirp is produced.” Based on four individuals, the whistle begins between 1.69 – 1.77 kHz and rises to 1.78 – 1.87 kHz before reducing to 1.55 – 1.72 kHz. However there are several harmonics on the sound spectrum with the first peaking around 3.6 kHz. The duration of the whistle ranges from 146.4 -223.3 ms followed by a silent interval ranging from 92.5 – 128.7 ms that is finally followed by a chirp lasting 58.2 – 79.3 ms. The chirp has a pulse rate of 63.0 – 70.9 pulses per second. Multiple chirps may follow the whistle and sometimes the whistle is omitted altogether.

Like other species in the genusNectophrynoides, this species is presumably ovoviviparous and a direct developer, meaning that there is no free-living tadpole stage; fertilization is internal and larvae are retained within the female, with juvenile toadlets being born through the female's cloaca (Orton 1949).

Dissection of a gravid female uncovered more than 30 small yellow eggs in each oviduct, which is considered a large amount for a small species (similarly sized N. asperginis only had 10 – 16 eggs). The eggs measured 1.8 mm in diameter (Channing et al. 2005).

Trends and Threats
According to the IUCN Red list, this species is on the decline due to human establishment and agriculture invasion (Menegon et al. 2008).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

Intensified agriculture or grazing

There is not a lot known about the genus Nectophrynoides. Initial attempts at phylogenetic analysis was based on having an omosternum and terminal phalanges. However, this characteristic was also found in other African bufonids. The characters distinguishing Nectophrynoides and other bufonids is still not clear. Developed and definitive behavioral and morphological work is crucial to better understand the phylogenetic relationship of this genus and their close relatives (Menegon et al. 2004).

Explanation for the name laticeps comes from the two Latin words: latus which means wide and ceps which means headed.


Channing, A., Menegon, M., Salvidio, S., Akker, S. (2005). "A new forest toad from the Ukaguru Mountains, Tanzania (Bufonidae: Nectophrynoides)." African Journal of Herpetology, 54, 149-157. [link]

Harper, E. B., Measey G. J., Patrick D. A., Menegon M., and Vonesh J. R. (2010). Field Guide to Amphibians of the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya. Camerapix Publishers International, Nairobi, Kenya.

Menegon, M. Salvidio, S., Ngalason, W., Loader, S.P. (2007) A new dwarf forest toad (Amphibia: Bufonidae: Nectophrynoides) from the Ukaguru Mountains, Tanzania. Zootaxa. 1541:31-40.

Menegon, M., Loader, S. (2008). Nectophrynoides laticeps. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. Downloaded on 20 March 2014.

Menegon, M., Salvidio, S., and Loader, S. P. (2004). ''Five new species of Nectophrynoides Noble 1926 (Amphibia Anura Bufonidae) from the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania.'' Tropical Zoology, 17, 97-121.

Orton, G.L. (1949). "Larval development of Nectophrynoides tomieri (Raux), with comments on direct development in frogs." Annals of the Carnegie Museum, 31, 257-278.

Originally submitted by: Rosalie Abeng (first posted 2015-01-15)
Distribution by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2023-02-26)
Life history by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2023-02-26)
Comments by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2023-02-26)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang, Michelle S. Koo (2023-02-26)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Nectophrynoides laticeps <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 21, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 Jul 2024.

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