Species Description: Barej MF, Schmitz A, Menegon M, Hillers A, Hinkel H, Boehme W, Roedel MO 2011 Dusted off-the African Amietophrynus superciliaris-species complex of giant toads. Zootaxa 2772: 1-32.
Diagnosis: This is a toad of medium to large size, with adults having smooth dorsal skin and juveniles having granular skin. The body is compact and sturdy. The loreal region is straight. The tympanum is distinct and teardrop-shaped and its diameter is less than that of the eye. Parotid glands are prominent and broad, with rounded posterior tips; gland width is nearly the same from anterior to posterior. The eyelid is triangular in lateral view and slightly triangular in dorsal view. The extremities are slender in comparison to the body shape. A pair of dark spots is present on the posterior dorsum and the anterior and posterior dorsum bear different coloration (light anterior, somewhat darker posterior). This species can be distinguished from all other members of the clade Amietophrynus by the combination of large size, smooth dorsal skin (in adults), and straight loreal region. B. channingi can be distinguished from other members of the Bufo (Amietophrynus) superciliaris species complex, by having brownish flank coloration (vs. intense reddish to reddish-purple flank coloration inB. s. superciliaris, or red to dark purple or purple-brownish flank coloration in B. s. chevalieri), the combination of a triangular eyelid process plus a broad parotid gland with rounded posterior tip (vs. triangular eyelid process plus a slender parotid gland with pointed posterior tip in B. s. superciliaris, or a rounded eyelid process plus a broad parotid gland with rounded posterior tip in B. s. chevalieri), the combination of paired posterior dorsal dark spots in addition to darker posterior dorsal coloration (vs. only having paired spots in B. s. superciliaris, or only darker posterior dorsal coloration in B. s. chevalieri).
Description: A medium to large compact toad with male snout-urostyle length (SUL) of 106.7–111.8 mm, and female SUL 100.3–143.0 mm. Snout in profile is short, nearly truncate; canthus rostralis is distinct and angular, while the loreal region is slightly concave. Eyelid has a weak triangular process in adults. Tympanum is relatively distinct and tear-drop shaped (vertically oriented), smaller in horizontal diameter than the diameter of the eye, and positioned in a concavity on the cheek. Parotid glands are bulging and elongated, and rounded at the posterior tip. Paired dorsolateral folds extend from posterior to the parotid glands to the groin area. Fingers and toes are simple, with simple subarticular tubercles. Fingers are unwebbed, with relative finger length III>I>II>=IV. Toes have rudimentary webbing, with relative toe length IV>III>V>II>I. No tarsal fold is present. The inner metatarsal tubercle is prominent and oval-shaped; the outer metatarsal tubercle is rounded and indistinct. The dorsum is smooth in adults but granular in juveniles, and juveniles also appear to lack eyelid processes. Males have large dark nuptial pads on fingers I and II, as well as tiny scattered spines on the lateral surfaces of the head and the flanks below the parotid glands and on the anterior and dorsal upper arm surfaces.
In life, the dorsum is a dirty yellowish brown from the snout to the posterior part of the dorsum. The posterior part of the dorsum has paired dark spots and a dark triangular pattern. A dark V-shaped pattern is present on the head and covering the eyelids, and usually a vertebral stripe extends posteriorly from the V. Loreal area, lower parotids, and flanks are brown. The lateral coloration is darker above, almost black. The posterior-most part of the flanks is orange-brown. Forearms are light purple-gray above and dark below, with a white line usually separating the two areas. Inguinal region has small dark spots. Upper hind limbs and feet bear transverse black bars. Throat and venter are pale yellow. Juveniles may be a uniform brownish-black (Orts 1970) or similar to adults but with an interorbital V-pattern; in juveniles, there may be additional pairs of spots on the dorsum, and additional transverse bars on the tibiofibula.
The tadpole has an oval body in early stages, when viewed from above; in later stages the body is more elongated and slightly flattened. Tail is slender, with tail length being 1.33-1.75x body length, and about the same height as the body, including dorsal and ventral fins; the tail tip is rounded. Eyes are dorsal but shift to being more lateral as the tadpole matures. Spiracle is at midbody. Mouth is ventral and has robust lips. The dorsal surfaces are gray and the venter is creamy white and translucent. Keratodont formula after Gosner stage 25 is 1:1+1/3 (tadpole length>13 mm). Newly metamorphosed individuals measure 9-10 mm from snout-vent (Orts 1970).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
Relation to Humans
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Bufo (Amietophrynus) channingi is part of the Bufo (Amietophrynus) superciliaris species complex, which currently includes B. s. superciliaris (western Lower Guinea), B. s. chevalieri (Upper Guinea), and B. channingi (eastern Lower Guinea).
Barej, M. F., Schmitz, A., Menegon, M., Hillers, A., Hinkel, H., Böhme, W., and Rödel, M.-O. (2011). ''Dusted off—the African Amietophrynus superciliaris-species complex of giant toads.'' Zootaxa, 2772, 1-32.
Boulenger, G. A. (1919). ''Batraciens et reptiles recueillis par le Dr. C. Christy au Congo Belge dans les districts de Stanleyville, Haut-Uele et Ituri en 1912-1914.'' Revue de Zoologie Africaine, 1919, 1-29.
Loveridge, A. (1936). ''African reptiles and amphibians in Field Museum of Natural History.'' Zoological Series of Field Museum of Natural History, 22, 1-111.
Noble, G.K. (1924). ''Article II. Contributions to the herpetology of the Belgian Congo based on the collection of the American Museum Congo Expedition, 1909-1915, Part III. Amphibia.'' Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 49, 147-347.
Orts, S. G. (1970). ''Description et écologie des formes larvaires de Bufo superciliaris Blgr (Amphibia, Bufonidae).'' Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines, 81, 207-219.
Wheeler, W. M. (1922). ''Chpt. II. The ants collection by the American Museum Congo Expedition. In: Wheeler, W.M. (Ed.) Ants of the American museum Congo Expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa.'' Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 45, 39-269.
Originally submitted by: Kellie Whittaker (first posted 2011-03-03)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2020-06-24)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2020 Sclerophrys channingi <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/7630> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 21, 2021.
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