Herpetology of Ethiopia and Eritrea


Hyperoliidae Laurent, 1943



Kassina:
A medium-sized frogs. Pupil vertical, vomerine teeth present. Inner metatarsal tubercle small. Digital discs small or absent. From the genus Kassina was separated number genuses. (Paracassina or Phlyctimantis).

Paracassina:
Medium-sized frogs, formerly regardet as the genus Kassina, resp. Tornierella DREWS 1984.
Their physiology, skull, skeleton, muscles, are adapted to the special dietary specialization. They feed mainly terrestrial small snails.


Kassina senegalensis (Duméril and Bibron, 1841)

Kassina senegalensis - Gambella, Illubabor, Ethiopia
Kassina senegalensis - Gambella, Illubabor, Ethiopia

Short description:
A medium-sized (both sexes 25-40 mm, in South Africa up to 49 mm), ground-dwelling Kassina from the tropical savannas throughout Africa, pattern variable but normally grey with a black middorsal stripe and additional black spots and stripes, often forming dorsolateral stripes. Gular flap strap-like. Small swellings at the tips of toes and fingers. Inner metatarsal tubercle smaller than the internarial distance.

Distribution:
In Ethiopia inhabit the drier lower altitudes, in savannas, throughout the whole territory except east. In Africa sub-Saharan region to South Africa. Does not live in the tropical forests in the middle of the continent.

Note:
They lives in dry areas on the ground, under rocks or under low vegetation. They reproduce in the rainy season in periodic or permanent smaller tanks. Female lay eggs on submerged plants. The clutch size is 200-400. The tadpoles are unmistakable, swim slowly and gracefuly, typical is long and wide tail. Before metamorphosis can be up to 80 mm long.

Description original:
Duméril, A. M. C., and G. Bibron . 1841. Erpétologie Genérale ou Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Volume 8. Paris: Librarie Enclyclopedique de Roret.

Described as Cystignathus senegalensis

Common english name: Bubbling Kassina




Kassina somalica Scortecci, 1932

Kassina somalica - Kenya

Short description:
A large, grey Kassina with rounded or oblong black spots on dorsum rather than stripes (Schiötz 1999). Unspotted gray specimens also have been found (Schiötz 1999). Kassina somalica has smaller digital discs and a more variable dorsal pattern than K. maculifer (Largen 2001). The dorsal pattern tends to be more similar to K. senegalensis. Previously regarded as subspecies K.senegalensis somalica. Dorsum creamish to brown, blotches on the back smaller and thinner than in the K.senegalensis, or may be completely absent.
The size of around 40 mm.
Lingua piccola. a forma di cuore, libero posteriormente e pochissimo incisa; denti vomerini in due piccolissimi gruppi, obliqui a1 livello delle coane. Muso arrotondato pochissimo sporgeute sulla mascella inferiore, un po’ piú lungo del diametro dell’occhio. Narici rivolte verso l’alto e lateralmente, pit vicine alla estremitém del muso che non agli occhi; spazio interorbitale una volta e tre quarti la larghezza delle palpebre superiori; timpano distinto, ovale, verticale, misurante quasi tre quarti 1a larghezza dell’orbita. Dita abbastanza lunghe con espansioni terminali ben distinte ma non molto grandi. Il primo dito é piú corto del secondo che é piú corto del quarto. Le dita dei piedi presentano un rudimento di membrana fra il 2º e il 3º, fra. il 3º e il 4º, fra il 4º e il 5º, me mancano fra il 1º e il 2º.
Il terzo dito é di poco piú corto del quiuto. Piedi di poco piú lunghi della tibia con tubercoli subarbicolari molto prominenti, con tubercolo tarso metatarsale interno ben sviluppano e con un secondo esterno piccolo e non molto rilevato. L’ articolazione tarso metarsale raggiunge il centre dell’ occhio. La pelle nelle parti superiori é perfettamente liscia. Le parti inferiori sono completamente e fortemente granulose. Una larga e sviluppatissima piega che si parte poco a1 di sbtto dell’ attaccatura delle braccia, traversa il petto; altre due pieghe oblique partono dagli estreemi laterali della prima e giungono fino all’attaccatura delle coscie, cosicché della regione del petto e del ventre viene deliminata una nettissima zona triangolare. Sono presenti due graudi sacchi vocali esterni separati da una larga. piega (non un disco) ovale, attaccata antariormente e posteriormente, libera ai lati. La regiona pettorale é fortemente rigonfia. Le parti superiori sono grigio oliva. con cinque serie di macchie ovoidali o a elisse molto allungato, disposte longitudinalmente. Quelle che occupano la regione vertebrale sono tre molto allungate: la prima si spinge fin nella regione interorbitale. Una striscia bruno rossastra. parte dalla estremita del muso, traversa le narici, 1e orbite, il timpano e 81 arrests, all’altezza della spalla. Sotto gli occhi vi é una macchia allungata longitudinalmente, rossastra bruna. Gli arti anteriori a posteriori hanno macchie che qualche volta assumono l’aspetto di fascie trasversali. Le parti inferiori sono bianco giallicce. I sacchi vocali sono bruno neri; la piega fra i sacchi é bruno marrone. Lunghezza alle estremitá del muso alla cloaca mm 30. La specie si avvicina a K. senegalensis, deserticola 6 maculata. Dalla prima si distingue fra l’altro per le parti inferiori completamente granulose, per la maggiore dimensione del timpano, per il pit grands spazio interorbitale; dalla seconda si distingue per la maggior dimensione del timpano, per il piú grande spazio interorbitale, diversa proporzione delle dita delle mani; da K. maculata si distingue per le parti inferiori completamente granulose, per la maggiore larghezza dello spazio interorbitale e per la. colorazione [SCORTECCI in original].

Distribution:
Ethiopia's arid regions in the east. The western and southern Ogaden, Borana. Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti.

Note:
Obout the way of life is not known, but probably will be not different from K.senegalensis.

Description original:
Scortecci, G. 1932. Nuove specie di anfibi e rettili della Somalia italiana. Atti della Societa Italiana di Scienze Naturali e del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano 71: 264-269.

Common english name: Somali Running Frog




Kassina maculifer (Ahl, 1924)

Short description:
A rather large Kassina (32-44 mm) from the dry savanna of north-eastern Africa, with large digital discs. Dorsum greyish-olive with rather diffuse dark, red-brown spots. The largest of these is a blotch in the shoulder region, normally X or dumb-bell shaped but sometimes broken medially. K. maculifer resembles K. fusca from further west, but differs in its larger size and the much larger digital discs.
Zunge herzförmig. Schnauze abgerundet, länger als der Augendurchmesser. Nasenlöcber bedeutend näher der Schnauzenspitze als dem Auge. Interorbitalraum bedeutend breiter als ein oberes Augenlid. Trommelfell ziemlich gut sichtbar, ungefähr halb so grofs wie der Augendurchmesser. Finger mit kaum sichtbarer Schwimmhaut am Grunde; Schwimmhaut der Zehen nur bis zum untersten Glied reichend. Erster Finger kürzer als der zweite. Subartikulartuberkel gut entwickelt. Innerer Metatarsaltuberkel klein, äufserer kaum wahrnehmbar. Das nach vorn angelegte Hinterbein reicht mit dem Tarso-MetatarsaI-Gelenk nur bis zwischen Auge und Trommelfell. Haut glatt. Männchen mit 2 subgularen Stimmsäcken. Färbung (in Alkohol) oberseits olivengraubraun; in der Rückenmitte befinden sich 3 grofse, unregelmäßige, rotbraunschwarze Flecke, von denen sich der vorderste zwischen den Augen ausdehnt. Die gelblichweifso Unterseite wird durch ein ziemlich breites, unregelmäfsiges Band von der Farbe der Flecken abgegrenzt, das sich erstreckt von der Schnauzenspitze über die Nasenlöcher und den Canthus rostralis, durch die Augen, das Trommelfell, die Schläfengegend, oberhalb des Armes an den Körperseiten entlang, und hier, wie bei dem deutschen Laubfrosch, Hyla arborea, eine Huftschlinge bildend. Oberseite der Arme und Schenkel gebändert. Kehle bräunlich gemarmelt, Schallblasen schwarz. Die Art zeichnet sich vor allem durch die außerordentlich kurzen Hinterheine aus, wodurch sie leicht von den Gattungsverwandten unterschieden werden kann [AHL in original].

Distribution:
   Very dry areas of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, southern and eastern part (Dolo, Harar-Babile).

Note:
Like other species of the genus

Description original:
Ahl, E. 1924. Über eine Froschsammlung aus Nordost-Afrika und Arabien. Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum in Berlin 11: 1-12.

Described as Megalixalus maculifer

Common english name: Ahl's Kassina




Kassina maculata (Duméril, 1853)

Kassina maculata - Tanzania
Kassina maculata - Tanzania

Short description:
A big sized "kassina" 55 - 65 mm. The digital discs are large and distinct. Vertical pupils. They are silvery greyish-brown with dark brown to black spots, and derive their name from bright red coloring on the ventral side of their hind legs.

Distribution:
This species ranges from Witu in coastal Kenya south, through Tanzania and Mozambique, to KwaZulu-Natal in eastern South Africa, and inland to southern Malawi, eastern Zimbabwe and eastern Swaziland. It is present on Zanzibar island. It ranges up to 1,400 m asl at Vumba in Zimbabwe, but it is generally a low-altitude species. In Ethiopia, only one unclear record from the southern part of the Rift Valley (5.16667 N / 38.08333 E). Probably a mistake.

Note:
It lives in savannah, bush land, grassland, and agricultural areas. It breeds in both temporary and permanent water, favouring large, well-vegetated pools, pans, vleis, marshes and dams.The females lays eggs in the rainy season on the submerged parts of plants. The tadpoles are very large up to 130 mm, but tail should be less than tadpoles of K.senegalensis.

Description original:
Duméril, A. H. A. 1853. Mémoire sur les batraciens anoures, de la famille des hylaeformes ou rainettes, comprenent la description dun genre nouveau et de onze espèces nouvelles. Annales des Sciences Naturelles. Zoologie et Biologie Animale. Paris. Serie 3, 19: 135-179.

Described as Hylambates maculatus

Common english name: Red-Legged Running Frog




Paracassina obscura (Boulenger, 1895)

Paracassina obscura - Bedelle, Illubabor, Ethiopia
Paracassina obscura - Bedelle, Illubabor, Ethiopia

Description:
A medium-sized (32-46 mm) Kassina-like frog from the Ethiopian highlands. Dorsum brownish with numerous rounded dark spots with fine light delimitation, which do not form longitudinal rows. A conspicuous pale patch (yellow in life) at groin. Ventrum normally heavily marbled.
Vomerine teeth in two small, oblique, rather indistinct groups between the choanae. Head once and two fifths as broad as long; snout rounded, without canthus, hardly as long as the diameter of the orbit; interorbital space as broad as the upper eyelid; tympanum hidden. Fingers moderate, first shorter than second; toes moderate, one-third webbed; a very indistinct metatarsal tubercle. The tarso-metatarsal articulation reaches the posterior border of the orbit. Above with flat smooth warts, beneath with large granules. Dark olive above, sides lighter, with numerous roundish chestnut-brown spots; a white (red ?) inguinal spot; greyish brown beneath, with small dark brown spots. Male with a large, black, external vocal sac on each side of a subcircular gular disk. From snout to vent 39 mm.
A single male specimen from Let Merafia, Shoa, received from the Marquis Doria [BOULENGER].

Distribution:
This species is endemic to Ethiopia. It inhabits mountainous areas west of the Rift Valley, usually at altitudes 1800-3000 m, One unconfirmed record indicates only 800 m.

Biology:
Reproduces as K.senegalensis. The females lay eggs on submerged plants. The tadpoles are very similar to the tadpoles of K.senegalensis, however differs by some, at first sight imperceptible differences (toothing).
Dietary specialist. Smaller terrestrial, exceptionally aquatic snails, in size to 6-7 mm. They eat them including shells.

Description original:
Boulenger, G. A. 1895 "1894". Third report on additions to the batrachian collection in the Natural-History Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1894: 640-646.

Described as Cassina obscura

Common english name: Ethiopia Striped Frog




Paracassina kounhiensis (Mocquard, 1905)

Paracassina kounhiensis - Kibre Mengist, Sidama, Ethiopia

Description:
A medium-sized (Males 35-47 mm, females 39-49 mm) "Kassina". The males reach 35 až 47 mm, the females 39-49 mm. Dorsum with large, well-defined dark spots with thin light lines. Belly usually lightly spotted. The blotch in the groin yellow. The voice is very similar to that of P. obscura, but more high-pitched.
Head broader than long ; snout rounded, not prominent, slightly longer than the diameter of the eye; canthus rostralis rounded; loreal region oblique, not concave; nostril considerably nearer the tip of the snout than the eye; interorbital space broader than the upper eyelid; tympanum hidden. Fingers free, with very small discs, the first shorter than the second, which is shorter than the fourth. Toes with very small discs, 1/3 webbed, and with indistinct, fleshy, lateral fringes at their bases; subarticular tubercles not well-developed; an indistinct oval inner, but no outer, metatarsal tuberele. Tibio-tarsal articulation reaching the below: the tip of the fourth toe not reaching beyond the tip of the snout. A curved fold from the eye to the shoulder; upper surfaces indistinctly granular; lower surfaces slightly granular on the chest and posterior part of the belly. Male with a small very distinct subgular disc, flanked on either side by the pIicate: dark skin of the vocal sacs. Clour in alcohol: Greenish-grey above, with numerous large, brown insuliform spots, each of which is darker towards its edges and is bordered by a fine white line; ground-colour between the large spots irregularly dotted with darker. Limbs cross-barred, the inguinal region lighter. Lower surfaces yellowish, profusely spotted with brown. Length from snout to vent 40 mm.; fore limb 21 mm.; hind-limb 40 mm [according to PARKER].
Forme assez lourde; membres courts. Langue entiére, trés courte; ovalaire et libre en arriére. Museau court un peu plus long que le diamétre horizontal de l´oeil, arrondi a l'extrémité; canthus rostralis obtus; région frénale concave; narine beaucoup plus rapprochée de l'extrémité du museau que de l'oeil; espace interorbitaire plus large que la paupiére supérieure; tympan á peine indiqué, petit. Doigts libres, le premier plus court que le second; les 3 orteils externes au tiers palmés; tubercules sous-articulaires bien développés: un tubercule métatarsien interne mousse. peu saillant. Membres courts, le postérieur étant dirigé en vant, le talon atteint le tympan. Face dorsale couverte de petits granules assez largement espacés: la ventrale, depuis la gorge jusqu'au cloaque, de granules gros et serrés; gorge et face inférieure des cuisses lisses. Un repli plus ou moins distinct allant de l'oéil á l'épaule. Face dorsale brun pâle, avec de grandes taches noires ovalaires et inégales, á grand axe longitudinal; membres traverses en dessus par des barres noises. Face ventrale un peu plus claire que la dorsale, parsemée ale petites taches noires. Le ♂ pourvu des deux sacs vocaux s'ouvrant sous la gorge, de chaque cóté de la ligne médiane, par une fente transversale large et á bords plissés. Trois spécimens dont un ♂. provenant de Ourdji et de la vallée de Kounhi en Abyssinie [MOCQUARD in original].

Distribution:
The endemic species of Ethiopia. Found in montane pasture-land in the Ethiopian highlands (2400-3000 m) east of the Rift Valley (Kibre Mengist, Yirga Alem, Negelle, Bale Mountains)


Note:
As P.obscura. Dietary specialist. The tadpoles are similar to the previous species but thei are slightly smaller.
It inhabits mountain meadows and pastures and edges of mountain forests (Harenna Forest). They reproduces in periodic and permanent water reservoirs. Males always call from water, sometimes in permanent ponds but often in temporarily flooded hollows or ditches.

Description original:
Mocquard, F. 1905. Note préliminaire sur une collection de reptiles et de batraciens offerte au Muséum par M. Maurice de Rothschild. Bulletin du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris 11: 285-290.

Described as Rothschildia kounhiensis

Common english name: Kouni Valley Striped Frog























































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