Herpetology of Ethiopia and Eritrea


Arthroleptidae, Mivart 1869



Leptopelis gramineus (Boulenger, 1898)


Short escription:
Tongue cordiform. Snout rounded, as long as the diameter of the orbit, tympanum very distinct, measuring lialf the diameter of the eye. Fingers free, toes webbed at the base; terminal disks small; inner metatarsal tubercle rather large, oval. The tibio-tarsal articulation reaches the shoulder or the tympanum. Skin smooth above; throat and belly coarsely granular. Bright green above; a dark brown streak along the canthus rostralis ; tympanum brown ; a dark brown lateral stripe, or several large spots on the flanks, one of which may ascend to form a lumbar marking as in Hyla arborea; hinder side of thighs brown; lower parts white. One specimen greyish above with three darker stripes on the back in addition to the blackish-brown lateral stripe [according to BOULENGER].
A Medium-sized, robust frog. The average size of the males 33 mm (20,7 - 45), average size of females 51 mm (39,7 - 62,8). Width of head 32-40 (35,5% of the average body length). Tibia 29-39 mm (35,7%), disc on III finger 2,5 - 4,5 mm (3,2%). Internal metatarsal callus big , significantly separated from the base of I digital. Vomerine teeth tiny, or absent. Dorsal colour almost always green, or yellow-green. Darker markings, if present, very rarely forming a triangle. The body surface to the dorsal side rather roughly granular, on some places nearly warty. The males are smaller than females and have well defined pectoral glands. The dorsolateral dark stripes extend to half of the body.

Distribution:
The endemic species of Ethiopian highlands at altitudes from 1900 to 3900 m. Relatively abundant frog, often living even in gardens in the capital city Addis Ababa.

Biology:
It is most typically associated with open, montane grassland but can also be found in montane forests and well into Afro-alpine moorland. It is usually found also in a relatively sterile eucalyptus forests in the undergrowth (Trailin, Lízler). Breeding is at its height during the first month of the heavy rains but may continue for many months in localities where the wet season is prolonged. Large unpigmented eggs with a diameter of 4.3-5.0 mm are deposited beneath soil or stones close to water. Males call from the ground or from under the stones, mostly around puddles or small permanent water surfaces. The incubation takes an average of 40-46 days at temperature 22ºC. The hatched larvae measure 16-19 mm and in rain will move into water. Metamorphosis about the temperature 70 days, but it may be much longer, especially at high altitude, where is very cold. In the dry season they remain buried under stones or under dense vegetation. The larvae feed algae and plant residues in water, adult frogs prey invertebrates.

Description original:
Boulenger, G. A. 1898. Concluding report on the late Capt. Bottegos collection of reptiles and batrachians from Somaliland and British East Africa. Annalidel Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova. Serie 2, 18: 715-722.

Described as Megalixalus gramineus

Common english name: Ethiopian Burrowing Tree Frog




Leptopelis bocagii (Günther, 1865)

Description:
A large and robust frog, average size of the males 50 mm (38,6 - 56,3 mm), the females size 58 mm (47,5 - 66 mm). head width 37-44 mm(40,2%) of body length. The tibia 32 - 44 mm (35,9%), metatarsal tuberculum 6,9 - 8,9 mm (8%). The snout rounded , nostrils near the tip of the snout. Teeth on vomer very well visible. Metatarsal callus near the base of the finger. Fifth finger longer than in L.gramineus. The skin on the dorsal side rather smooth in places a granulose. Dorsum brown with a dark 'N' or 'M' shaped blotch, or with a uniformly darkened dorsal patch which sometimes covers the whole head. The young frogs can be green. Dorsolateral strip generally exceeds half of the body. The males smaller than the females.

Distribution:
   In Ethiopia in the lowlands of central and western Ethiopia, at altitudes 460 - 1800 m.
In Africa distribution may extend from Ethiopia southwards to northern Namibia and Zimbabwe, and possibly into northern Transvaal (Northern Province).

Biology:
It Inhabits semiarid savannah areas. The main activity falls in a period of small rainy season, which is in Ethiopia during our spring (April-May), but continues according the rainy season until October depending on the region. The eggs are laid in deep holes underground, near water.

Description original:
Günther, A. C. L. G. 1865 "1864". Descriptions of new species of batrachians from West Africa. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1864: 479-482.

Described as Cystignathus bocagii

Common english name: Bocage's Tree Frog




Leptopelis yaldeni Largen, 1977

Short description:
A small semi-arboreal species. The males reach to size 26 až 34 mm, females 38 až 43 mm. Semiarboreal species from the grasslands and forest edges on the Ethiopian highlands. Dorsum green, sometimes light brown, with indistinct darker blotches. Males have a well-defined pectoral glands. He inhabits in open pastures, at altitudes around 2700 m, where dominated mainly green color form. At lower elevations (about 2000 m), where he lives near rivers and streams, predominates brown color phase. The two phases are present in approximately equal numbers in a height of about 2500 m.

Distribution:
Known only from the province of Gojjam in Ethiopia where it is often abundant in open, undulating landscape mainly covered with grass.
The actual scope of expansion is certainly on the Ethiopian highlands substantially higher.

Description original:
Largen, M. J. 1977. The status of the genus Leptopelis (Amphibia Anura Hyperoliidae) in Ethiopia, including descriptions of two new species. Monitore Zoologico Italiano. Nuova Serie, Supplemento. Firenze 9: 85-136.

Common english name: Yalden's Tree Frog




Leptopelis ragazzii (Boulenger 1896)


Short description:
Closely allied to H. maculatus, A. Bum., with which it agrees in the vomerine dentition, the size of the tympanum, the half-webbed toes, the small metatarsal tubercle and the proportions (the tibio-tarsal articulation reaching the tympanum); distinguished by the presence of a short but very distinct web at the base of the fingers, the skin of the upper parts covered with small round tubercles, and by the coloration. Uniform dark olive above ; a fine white line from the tip of the snout to above the tympanum, following the canthus rostralis and the supraciliary edge; flanks, belly, hinder side of thighs, and lower surface of limbs dark purplish white, with small whitish spots and dots. From snout to vent 43 millim [according to BOULENGER].
A medium-sized arboreal frog. The males reach up to 28 - 43 mm, females 39-50 mm. It inhabits mountain forests at altitudes 1900 až 3100 m.n/m on Ethiopian highland. There are known two color forms. The first is on the the dorsum light yellow-green, blue-gray, or dark olive, usually without any darker markings (in the picture). The second form is pale-gray, or dark-greenish or reddish-brown, with a pattern, with darker spots. These markings, grey or green to dark brown or black, form a more or less conspicuous triangle or rectangular mass on the back, never confluent with the interorbital bar. Usually a series of irregular blotchesin the sacral region. Limbs with a more or less highly-distinctive horizontal stripes. Rarely may be on the back scattered yellow spots. Belly white or cream, usually slightly spotted. The males call from low vegetation in the vicinity of streams, not always particularly close to water. They tend to select a vantage point 25-200 cm above the ground.

Distribution:
This species is endemic to the Ethiopian highlands, on both sides of the Rift Valley, at altitude of 1900-3000 meters. Strictly associated with montane forest.

Description original:
Boulenger, G. A. 1896. A list of the reptiles and batrachians collected by Dr. Ragazzi in Shoa and Eritrea. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova. Serie 2, 16: 545-554.

Described as Hylambates ragazzii

Common english name: Ragazzi's Tree Frog




Leptopeltis vannutellii (Boulenger 1898)


Short description:
Closely allied to H.aubryi, A.Dum. with which it agrees in the vomerine dentition , the extent of the web between the lingers and toes, the size of the digital disks and the proportion of the hind limb, but differing in the less developed inner metatarsal tubercle, which is oval, not compressed, and about two thirds the length of the inner toe. Upper parts with scattered small round warts; throat, belly, and lower surface of thighs granular. Olive grey above , with a few large dark spots and marblings on the body, and cross bars on the limbs ; a white line from the tip of the snout, along the canthus rostralis, to the border of the upper eyelid; a white cross-line above the vent and another at the heel; lower parts white, with small dark brown spots [according to BOULENGER].
A medium-sized frog. Males reach 40 mm, females 46 mm, arboreal Leptopelis from tropical deciduous forest in south-western Ethiopia in altitudes 1500-2200 m. Toes, underside of limbs, tongue and lips translucent blue-green. Males with pectoral glands. Dorsum grey to brown, with darker markings sometimes barely discernible. Wide interorbital stripe, a series of blotches in the shoulder region usually forming a dark triangle with the apex pointing forward, and irregular blotches in the sacral region. Irregularly scattered white spots on the back and limbs. Upper parts with scattered small round warts; throat, belly, and lower surface of thighs granular. Olive grey above, with a few large dark spots and marblings on the body, and cross bars on the limbs ; a white line from the tip of the snout, along the canthus rostralis, to the border of the upper eyelid; a white cross-line above the vent and another at the heel ; lower parts white, with small dark brown spots.

Biology:
The species is restricted to the dense tropical forests and can not survive in deforested areas. They breeds in clean ponds and small streams. The eggs are laid in nests on the ground, not far from the water.

Description original: Boulenger, G. A. 1898. Concluding report on the late Capt. Bottegos collection of reptiles and batrachians from Somaliland and British East Africa. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova. Serie 2, 18: 715-722.

Described as Hylambates vannutellii

Common english name: Dime Forest Treefrog




Leptopelis susanae Largen 1977

Short description:
A medium-sized frog. Males reach up to 37 mm, females 53 mm. Rather stout species which inhabits the mountains of Ethiopia at altitude 2600-2700 m.n/m. The head is short, rounded. Dorsal pattern typically consisting of three longitudinal dark stripes, the mid-dorsal always confluent with the interorbital bar. Males with moderately to very conspicuous pectoral glands as well as glands on first finger and inner faces of forearm and upper arm The dorsum light-gray, brown to brick red or pale yellow to bright yellow-green. Darker markings in golden or grey-brown to blackish typically form a pattern consisting of a mid-dorsal stripe. The colour pattern separates it from all other Ethiopian forms Belly white with faint mottling. L.susanae lives sympatric with populations of L.ragazzii. Males call from exposed sites on vegetation close to streams at a height of about 25 to 150 cm.

Distribution:
This species is currently endemic to Gughe Mountains (SW Ethiopia, west of Arba Minch near the mountain town Chencha, Dorse region), at altitude 2600 - 3000 m). The actual range of distribution will be larger.

Biology:
It is almost unknown. Occurrence is limited to mountain forests, and was found on deforested sites. Males were found on the banks of streams.
Eggs are probably laids in nests on the ground near water.

Description original: Largen, M. J. 1977. The status of the genus Leptopelis (Amphibia Anura Hyperoliidae) in Ethiopia, including descriptions of two new species. Monitore Zoologico Italiano. Nuova Serie, Supplemento. Firenze 9: 85-136.

Common english name: Susan's Tree Frog or Chencha Tree Frog




Leptopelis kivuensis Ahl, 1929


Short description:
Medium-sized frog, males rather small. The size of males 33-36 mm. Dorsum brown with a darker irregular pattern. The males have a white gular sac. Tympanum relatively small.

Biology:
In the occurrence live in tropical forests at altitude around 1500 m. The way of life similar to other species. In Ethiopia we found similar frogs,  in wet tree-savannah, near Gambella town at altitude only 460 m.

Distribution:
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda mostly at altitude around 1500 m; possible occurrence in SW Ethiopia, W Kenya, Zambia.

Description original:
Ahl, E. 1929. Zur Kenntnis der afrikanischen Baumfrosch-Gattung Leptopelis. Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin 1929: 185-222.

Common english name: Kisenyi Forest Treefrog























































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