AmphibiaWeb - Mertensophryne anotis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Mertensophryne anotis (Boulenger, 1907)
Chirinda Toad
family: Bufonidae
genus: Mertensophryne
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Stephopaedes anotis is a small forest dwelling frog of about 45mm in SVL (Channing 1993). The skin has smooth warts. The head is equally long as it is broad. The pointed snout projects beyond the mouth. The interorbital space is flat and broader than the upper eyelid (Boulenger 1907). It does not possess a tympanum or columella (Channing 1993). Vocal sacs are not present in males. Paratoid glands are large and extend to the base of the arm on the sides. Fingers and toes are short, with the toes one-third webbed. The webs are covered with granules. It has two subconical, round metatarsal tubercles. The fingers and the fourth toe have double subarticular tubercles (Boulenger 1907).

Diagnosis: S. anotis can be differentiated from Wernia preussi by its presence of warts and distinct parotoid glands. It is distinguished from B. taitanus by a strongly pointed snout, less oblique lores and larger paratoid glands (Boulenger 1907).

Coloration: The dorsum and sides of the head are blackish or light colored with blackish cross-bars (Boulenger 1907). The venter is yellow and speckled with black (Boulenger 1907; Channing 1978).

Tadpole Morphology: As a tadpole, it is known to have a unique crown on the top of its head (Cannatella 1986). This crown possibly acts as an accessory respiratory surface (Channing 1993). The crown is a ring of expanded epithelial tissue around the eyes and nostrils. In comparison to other Bufo tadpoles, Stephopaedes anotis has no mental gap in its oral papillae (Channing 1978).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mozambique, Zimbabwe

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S. anotis is found in Zimbabwe, in the Chirinda Forest at elevations around 900-1300 m above sea level. It is also found in Mozambique in the Dombe Forest. It is not found outside of forests (Stuart et al. 2008).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Adults tend to camouflage with the leaf litter (Channing 1993). Eggs can be found in pockets of water between the buttress roots of Chrysophyllum gorungosanum trees, or in water filled trunks of fallen trees (Stuart et al. 2008).

Trends and Threats
This species is considered to have a declining population. Threats include destruction of the forest, farming and agriculture, and human disturbance of its habitat. The species occurs in the Gungunyana Forest Reserve in Zimbabwe, but the area is still in need of more protection (Stuart et al. 2008).

Relation to Humans
A close phylogenetic relationship between Bufo taitanus, S. anotis, and Mertensophryne micranotis has been proposed due to the characteristic crown seen on the tadpoles of these three species (Muller 2005).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing


Boulenger, G. A. (1907). ''Descriptions of a new toad and a new amphisbaenid from Mashonaland.'' Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 7(20), 47-49.

Cannatella, D. C. (1986). ''A new genus of bufonid (Anura) from South America, and phylogenetic relationships of the neotropical genera.'' Herpetological Review, 42, 197-205.

Channing, A. (1993). ''Observations on the natural history of Stephopaedes anotis (Bufonidae).'' Journal of Herpetology, 27, 213-214.

McDiarmid, R. W., and Altig, R. (1999). Tadpoles: the Biology of Anuran Larvae. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.

Müller, H. Measey, G. J., and Malonza, P. K. (2005). ''Tadpole of Bufo taitanus (Anura: Bufonidae) with notes on its systematic significance and life history.'' Journal of Herpetology, 39, 138-141.

Stuart, S., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J., Cox, N., Berridge, R., Ramani, P., Young, B. (eds) (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, IUCN, and Conservation International, Barcelona, Spain; Gland, Switzerland; and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Wells, K. D. (2007). The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians. Chicago, The University of Chicago Press.

Originally submitted by: Wesley Singer (first posted 2011-06-23)
Edited by: Brent Nguyen (2012-03-19)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Mertensophryne anotis: Chirinda Toad <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 17, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Jul 2024.

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