Ruvu spiny reed frog
Species Description: Barratt, Lawson and Loader, in Barratt CD. Lawson LP, Bittencourt- Silva GB, Doggart N, Morgan-Brown T, Nagel P, Loader SP. 2017. A new, narrowly distributed, and critically endangered species of spiny- throated reen frog (Anura: Hyperoliidae) from a highly threatened coastal forest reserve in Tanzania. Herpetological Journal 27:13-24
The members of the Hyperolius genus have relatively similar size and body shape but can be differentiated based on characters of their gular flap. The presences of dermal asperites on the gular flap differentiates H. ruvuensis from H. tanneri. The distribution of asperities into two circular raised platforms on each lobe of the flap differentiates H. ruvuensis from H. minutissimus and H. ukwiva, which are anteriorly distributed, and from H. burgessi, H. davenporti and H. spinigularis, which are evenly distributed. The bilobed and rounded gular flap in H. ruvuensis distinguishes it from the rounded gular flaps of H. burgessi, H. davenporti and H. minutissimus, but is similar to H. spinigularis and H. ukwiva (Barratt et al. 2017).
In life, the head and dorsum are brown with a white cream colored modeling. The ventrum is white. Males have black asperities dotting both the gular flap and stomach. The black asperities on the gular flap are clump on the posterior center of each lobe. The forelimbs and hindlimbs are modeled with orange flashes on thighs and feet. The feet have white heels. When preserved, the coloration and pattern are similar, however, the colors are more muted and the flashes of orange on the limbs are absent (Barratt et al. 2017).
Coloration can vary slightly as some specimens only exhibit a cream white modeling on the dorsum or back of the individual whereas the modeling pattern in other specimens extends further down the side of the animal. Sexual dimorphism is present with females being much larger than males and lack a gular flap and asperities on the ventrum (Barratt et al. 2017).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Tanzania, United Republic of
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
Further support in conserving the reserve by the government is essential. Additionally, more research is needed to accurately determine the impact habitat loss and changes through charcoal burning has on the populations of H. ruvuensis and their spatial distribution (IUCN 2016, Barratt et al. 2017, Tanzania Forest Conservation Group 2021).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood analyses conducted on ND2 mtDNA and c-Myc, POMC, and Rag-1 nDNA indicate that H. ruvuensis is sister to the clade composed of H. burgessi, H. davenport, and H. spinigularis. The next most closely related species is is H. tanneri. Morphological Principal Components analysis did not significantly distinguish H. ruvuensis from other members of the H. spinigularis complex (Barratt et al. 2017).
The species epithet, “ruvuensis” is a reference to the Ruvu jungle in which the species is found. The name literally translates to “Originating in Ruvu.” Therefore, H. ruvuensis means the Ruvu Reed Frog (Barratt et al. 2017).
OTHER INTERESTING INFORMATION:
Hyperolius ruvuensis is the evolutionary product of climate change. The paleoclimate of Africa where many species in the genus Hyperolius are found was once an interconnected forest, which fragmented as climate changed. This left many Hyperolius isolated, leading to the speciation of the genus and current Hyperolius distribution of species in small, isolated patches of west African forest (Barratt et al. 2017).
Barratt, C. D., Lawson, L. P., Bittencourt-Silva, G.B., Doggart, N., Morgan-Brown, T., Nagel, P., Loader, S. P. (2017). “A new, narrowly distributed, and critically endangered species of spiny‐throated reed frog (Anura: Hyperoliidae) from a highly threatened coastal forest reserve in Tanzania.” Herpetological Journal 27, 13–24 [link]
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2016). "Hyperolius ruvuensis." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T69119695A69123103. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T69119695A69123103.en. Downloaded on 18 February 2021.
Tanzania Forest Conservation Group. “Conservation of Ruvu South Forest through education, advocacy, tree planting and Elimination of Poverty (CREATE) project” Accessed February 18, 2021 at http://www.tfcg.org/what-we-do/conserve/ruvu-south/ [link]
Originally submitted by: Evan J. Reider, Victor Collado, Ahmad N. Nessar (2021-10-14)
Description by: Evan J. Reider, Victor Collado, Ahmad N. Nessar (updated 2021-10-14)
Distribution by: Evan J. Reider, Victor Collado, Ahmad N. Nessar (updated 2021-10-14)
Life history by: Evan J. Reider, Victor Collado, Ahmad N. Nessar (updated 2021-10-14)
Trends and threats by: Evan J. Reider, Victor Collado, Ahmad N. Nessar (updated 2021-10-14)
Comments by: Evan J. Reider, Victor Collado, Ahmad N. Nessar (updated 2021-10-14)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-10-14)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Hyperolius ruvuensis: Ruvu spiny reed frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/8594> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 28, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 28 Oct 2021.
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