AMPHIBIAWEB
Phrynobatrachus steindachneri
family: Phrynobatrachidae

© 2007 Dave Blackburn (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Vulnerable (VU)
CITES
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Cameroon, Nigeria

 

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

   

From the Encyclopedia of Life account:

Etymology

This species was named in honor of Mr. Hofrat Steindachner of Vienna.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Taxonomic Notes

Two or three species may currently be identified as Phrynobatrachus steindachneri (Zimkus and Blackburn, unpublished).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Summary

Phrynobatrachus steindachneri is a medium sized species (SVL < 37 mm) of puddle frog endemic to the higlands of eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon. Members of this genus are identified by the presence of a midtarsal tubercle, elongate inner metatarsal tubercle, and outer metatarsal tubercle. This species is characterized by a distinct tympanum, small digital discs, and extensive webbing with only 2 phalanges free of web on toe IV.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Distribution

This species is restricted to the mountains of eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon. In Nigeria it is known from the Obudu Plateau, and in Cameroon it occurs in the Bamenda highlands at Mount Oku, Bangwa, Banyo, the Bamboutos Mountains and Foulassi (Amiet, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Morphology

Body is compact with very strong limbs. A conical papilla is present in the center of the tongue. Head is longer than broad. Cathus rostralis is sharp. Interorbital area is only slightly broader than the upper eyelid. Tympanum is clearly visibly. Finger and toes are slim with small but distinct discs. First finger is shorter than the second. Pedal webbing is extensive with only 2 phalanges free of web on toe IV. An inner and outside metatarsal tubercle, as well as a smaller tubercle on the inside of the tarsus is present; the latter is approximately as far from internal metatarsal tubercle as the two metatarsal tubercles are from each other. The tibiotarsal articulation reaches beyond the front edge of the eye. The skin is smooth or with very small asperities. A pair of chevron-shaped glands are present behind the eyes, converging in the scapular region (Nieden, 1910). A subgular vocal sac covered with small round and clear warts, and lateral vocal folds are present on the throat (Perret, 1966).

Dorsum is grey-green or olive-brown with some individuals appearing veined or mottled. Scapular glands may be outlined with a darker coor. Hindlimbs have dark cross-banding. Ventral surface of the body white with brown or blackish mottling. There is tendency to leave a clear median zone in the males (Perret, 1966). Ventral surface of the limbs yellowish.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Size

The holotype measured 30 mm (Nieden, 1910). Perret (1966) examined two males, each 27 mm, and one female that measured 33.5 mm. Zimkus (unpublished) examined specimens that ranged from 15.1 to 36.6 mm in snout-vent length.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Diagnostic Description

This is a medium sized species (SVL < 37 mm) that exhibits a distinct tympanum, small digital discs, and extensive webbing with only 2 phalanges free of web on toe IV.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Comparisons

This species is morphologically most similar to the larger Cameroonian puddle frog species, including P. africanus, P. auritus, P. batesii, P. cricogaster, and P. plicatus. Male P. africanus have enlarged “teeth” in the lower jaw. P. batesii differs by its indistinct tympanum and prominent dorsal glandular folds from behind the eyes to the sacral region. P. auritus also has narrow glandular folds is normally present that begin behind the eyes, converge in the scapular region, and continue down the back to the sacral region. P. cricogaster can be identified by its 4-5 additional tarsal tubercles, one which forms a small spur with the heel, and distinct bullseye ventral pattern.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Habitat and Ecology

It is associated with slow-flowing watercourses in montane forests, forest strips, and montane grassland. It can be found in very open situations. It breeds in still water and marshes. It occurs up to 2,100m asl on Mount Oku (Amiet, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Population Biology

It is common, even abundant, within its small range (Amiet, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Phylogenetics

Mitochodrial sequence data from mitochondrial 12S rRNA, valine-tRNA, and 16S rRNA , as well as combined sequence data from mitochondrial and nuclear (RAG-1) identified monophyletic clade of species that includes all highland (submontane and montane) Cameroonian and Nigerian taxa (Zimkus, 2009; ZImkus et al, 2010). This group includes P. chukuchuku, P. cricogaster, P. manengoubensis, P. steindachneri, P. werneri, and one lowland species, P. batesii. Phrynobatrachus steindachneri was identified as the sister species of P. cricogaster.

Molecular analyses of mtDNA revealed a population of P. steindachneri, including six specimens from Mt. Oku (both Lake Oku and the summit), differed between 2.77 – 3.20% when compared to other P. steindachneri (Zimkus, 2009). In an unpublished list of Cameroonian anurans compiled in 1978, Amiet includes a species of Phrynobatrachus, P. sp. 11, which was collected near Lake Oku, but no additional description was provided. Analysis of additional specimens may reveal that the population on Mt. Oku is a new species.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

IUCN Red List Category and Justification of Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List (2009) categorizes this species as Vulnerable because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat in the mountains of Cameroon and Nigeria (Amiet, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Trends

Populations of this species are decreasing (Amiet, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Threats

It is presumably adversely affected by the ongoing loss of forest and the degradation of montane grassland within its range due to agricultural expansion (particularly overgrazing by livestock), wood extraction, and expanding human settlements (Amiet, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Conservation Actions and Management

A conservation project has been conducted on Mount Oku for several years by BirdLife International, involving community management of the area by local villages. This project needs to take into account the conservation needs of Phrynobatrachus steindachneri. The species might also occur in the Bafut-Ngemba Forest Reserve (Amiet, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/