A small ranid frog with a pointed snout. Skin invariably warty, particularly on the back. SVL of adult males 14–16 mm, weight 0.31–0.41 g. adult females measure 17–19 mm and weight 0.51–0.72 g. The mean index head width/SVL is 0.28 (s.d. ± 0.03; 0.24–0.31; N = 7). The warts surrounding the center of the back are particularly prominent. Males have a single subgular vocal sac. When inactive, it just forms a slightly prominent elongate area (gular flap) whose edges converge towards the mouth. During the breeding season, nuptial pads develop on the thumbs of males. No eyelid cornicle. Tympanum indistinct. Hands without webs. Tips of fingers and toes at best slightly enlarged, without forming disks. Only residual webbing on the feet. A small inner metatarsal tubercle and a tarsal tubercle are present. Guibé & Lamotte (1963) give up to 21 mm (SVL) for females.
Voucher specimens: SMNS 8958 1–7.
Numerous dark patches, or patches with black borders, are scattered on the beige to dark yellow back, especially in the vicinity of the larger warts. Well-defined dark transversal bars are present on the thighs, shanks, lower arm, upper and lower lips. A yellowish to red vertebral line or band often runs from the eyes to the vent. If bands are present, their borders are usually less sharp than those of P. latifrons. The warts often are dark. The temporal triangle does not pass over into the lateral band; the latter only begins behind a light area above the arm. A smaller black triangle is found in the groin area; it sometimes stretches a short distance towards the back. The interval between these dark patches is light colored or even white. The lower edges of the posterior part of the thighs bear broad yellow longitudinal lines, which are bordered black. The latter neither turn upward in the vent region nor do they fuse above the anus. The distal part of the throat in males is always black. A few females have similarly colored throats. However, most of them have dark throats which are marked with more or less regular white spots. Otherwise, the throat, and the rest of the venter are white. A light interorbital line is often visible on animals preserved in alcohol. Otherwise, the frogs are either as contrasty as when they were alive, or they turn altogether beige to brown so that only the dark bars on the extremities remain clearly visible. In alcohol, the large warts are hardly ever as prominent as in life, but they remain visible, with some rare exceptions. The gular folds of the males may become indistinct.
The buzzing advertisement call lasts 3.6–4.0 sec and starts with very rapid pulses which are separated by ever longer pauses after 2.5 sec. They finally form groups comprising 4–7 pulses. These groups are separated by intervals of 0.02–0.08 sec. The frequency of the call ranges from 1.30–2.18 kHz.
The calls published by Schiøtz (1964c) basically show an identical structure, but their maximal intensity is much higher (4 kHz). With a call duration of only 0.3 sec, they are much shorter than the calls of the Comoé frogs.
So far, clutches of this species have not yet been identified with certainty. Most probably, they resemble those of P. latifrons. Small egg films, composed of lighter eggs are likely to be those of P. gutturosus. One of these films comprised 115 eggs (average diameter including jelly: 2.5–3.3 mm; egg: 0.86–0.90 mm). At Lamto, females contained 512 ± 144 eggs (N = 22; egg: 0.8 mm; Barbault 1984).
The tadpoles have not been definitely identified so far. If the above-mentioned eggs should have been produced by this species, the P. gutturosus larva does not differ from that of P. latifrons at all. A tadpole metamorphosed with five weeks The froglet measured 2.4 mm. being considerably smaller than all other metamorphosed frogs observed so far in the Comoé National Park. However, the size of other freshly metamorphosed P. gutturosus I found at forest ponds ranged from 6 to 8 mm. They weighed about 0.03-0.05 g.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Benin, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria
According to Duellman (1993), P. gutturosus is a West African species. The R.D. Congo frogs (compare e.g. Witte 1934) have been determined as P. rungwensis by Poynton & Broadley (1985b), and those from Malawi have been described as P. stewartae. Records have been published for the following countries: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria (Schiøtz 1963, 1964a, c, 1967, Barbault 1967, 1974d, 1984, Lamotte 1967b, Walker 1968, Hughes 1988, Rödel 1996). A frog from Mali described by Böhme et al. (1996) as Phrynobatrachus sp. (ZFMK 60682) may be a P. gutturosus. However, it could not be identified with certainty because of its age and state of preservation.
This species lives in gallery forests ponds and, very rarely, on the edges of savanna ponds. Published records includes primary rainforests, gallery forests and even northern Guinea savanna (Schiøtz 1963, Walker 1968, Hughes 1988). It is generally considered a forest species (Schiøtz 1967). According to Schiøtz (1964c), in the savanna, frogs of this species are encountered in temporary swamps near gallery forests. Lamotte (1967) reports that these frogs are quite common in those savannas in Lamto which have not been subject to annual burning. Evidently northern populations are more likely to colonize forest habitats, because of the more arid savanna environment (comparable observations on lizards: Rödel et al. 1997).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
These frogs are almost invariably met in the immediate surroundings of forest ponds. During the dry season, they are found in humid refuges, e.g. under rotten wood, in the tracks of buffaloes and elephants, and in crevices at the bottom of dried-up ponds. During the dry season they are nocturnal. They are diurnal during the rainy season, calling during daytime.
At Lamto, their diet mainly consists of ants (Barbault 1974d). There they mature at the age of four months. Females then measure about 18 mm (SVL). The average life expectancy of adult frogs is only two months.
This account was taken from Rödel, M.-O. (2000), Herpetofauna of West Africa vol. I. Amphibians of the West African Savanna, with kind permission from Edition Chimaira publishers, Frankfurt am Main.
For references in the text, see here
Rödel, M. O. (2000). Herpetofauna of West Africa, Vol. I. Amphibians of the West African Savanna. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, Germany.
Written by: M.O. Roedel (2001-05-04)
Edited by: Arie van der Meijden (2002-01-12)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2002 Phrynobatrachus gutturosus <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/3779> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 14, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 14 Apr 2021.
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