Herpetology of Ethiopia and Eritrea

Phrynobatrachidae Laurent, 1941

Phrynobatrachus bullans Crutsinger et.al 2004

Short description:
A medium sized frog SVL 28 mm. Dorsum colour from grey - brown, with a dark stripe between the eyes and a occipital patch in some specimens. Banding on the legs is brown. The belly is pale to white; males have a dark grey gular sack with white asperities and lateral vocal folds. Males have prominent light-colored asperities over the dorsum, females have aperities over the posterior of the dorsum. The tympanum is distinct and round. Digital discs are absent. No femoral glands are present [CRUTSINGER et.al].

Southern Ethiopia (Lake Awassa area); southwestern Kenya in Nyanza Province; and northwestern and central Tanzania.

Description original:
Crutsinger, G. M., M. Pickersgill, A. Channing, and D. C. Moyer. 2004. A new species of Phrynobatrachus (Anura: Ranidae) from Tanzania. African Zoology 39: 19–23.

Common english name: Bubbling Puddle Frog

Phrynobatrachus inexpectatus Largen, 2001

P. inexpectatus - Bale Mt., Ethiopia
P. inexpectatus - Bonga, Kaffa, Ethiopia
P. inexpectatus - Harena forest, Bale, Ethiopia

Short description:
A small puddle frog, reach up to 20 mm. Females are smaller. Dorsum brown, or brown-green, with darker spots on dorsum. Male throat yellow or brown. Longitudinal stripe on the back.
Snout-vent length of adult males 13-16 (mean 14.5) mm, females 15-17 (16.4) mm; toe IV with 33-4-4 phalanges free of significant webbing; broad web not or scarcely extending beyond the proximal subarticular tubercle on toes III and V, investing at most only a quarter of the basal phalanx on these toes; digital discs absent; no distinct pale stripe on the posterior face of the thigh; adult males with femoral glands, little or no conspicuous development of spinules except occasionally on the chin, but having the throat rather strongly suffused with dark grey pigment (so probably not bright yellow in life).
P. inexpectatus is appreciably smaller than sympatric P. minutus. It has even more restricted webbing than most, though not all, specimens of that species and its adult males have conspicuously darker throats [according to LARGEN].

This species is known only from two officially confirmed localities in southern Ethiopia, from the mountains in altitude 2650 m, 70 km northwest of Kibre Mengist, west of the Rift Valley, and from around Chencha(Dorse) at the height of 2000 m.n/m east of the Rift Valley. The individual in the photo comes from the Bonga, in western  Ethiopia at altitude 1800 m. It is probable that the distribution area will be much greater.

It is found amongst herbaceous vegetation or rocks at the swampy margins of lakes, rivers, streams and temporary pools in both moist grassland and forest clearings. It breeds in lake edges, rivers, streams and pools. It is generally found at 1,300-2,800m asl, possibly down to 800m (Largen et al. 2004). In the Dorse was found in a intensively cultivated swampy area , with the remnants of forest.

Our record:
Bonga (Trailin)

Description original:
Largen, M. J. 2001. The status of the genus Phrynobatrachus Gunther 1862 in Ethiopia and Eritrea, including description of a new species (Amphibia Anura Ranidae). Tropical Zoology. Firenze 14: 287-306.

Common english name: Largen's Dwarf Puddle Frog

Phrynobatrachus cf.inexpectatus - locality, Bonga, Kaffa keflehager, Ethiopia

Phrynobatrachus minutus (Boulenger, 1895)

Short description:
Tongue with a free papilla in the middle. Head moderate, as long as broad; snout rounded, a little shorter than the diameter of the orbit; canthus rostralis rounded; tympanum hidden, ringers and toes blunt; first finger shorter than second; toes webbed at the base, the web extending as a fringe to the tip; a tarsal tubercle; a small, oval inner metatarsal tubercle; subarticular tubercles strong. The tibio-tarsal articulation reaches the posterior border of the eye. Skin smooth. Blackish brown above, whitish beneath; a fine whitish vertebral line. Male with a subgular vocal sac. From snout to vent 16 millim [according to BOULENGER].
A small species, which reach size up to 25 mm. Wart lines on the body smaller and less noticeable than in P.natalensis, usually they reach only to half of the body. In some individuals may be present vertebral lighter stripe. Dorsum light brown, grey, belly creamisch, dark dotted. Throat of adult males yellow. A dark triangle may be present immediately behind a pale interorbital bar. Tympanum is hidden.
Snout-vent length of adult males 15-20 (mean 17.4) mm, females 18-23 (20.0) mm; toe IV with 31-3-4 phalanges free of significant webbing; broad web reaching or more commonly extending beyond the proximal subarticular tubercle on toes III and V, investing up to half the basal phalanx on the former and as much as 2/3 of the basal phalanx on the latter; digital discs present or absent; adult males with femoral glands and extensive development of minute spinules on both dorsal and ventral surfaces of the body, but with the throat not conspicuously darkened (bright yellow in life) and having no more than a pale grey cast in alcohol [according to LARGEN].

This species is endemic to Ethiopia. It is widely distributed in the central and southern parts of the country on both sides of the Rift Valley. Mostly at altitudes 1300-2800 m.

It is found amongst herbaceous vegetation or rocks at the swampy margins of lakes, rivers, streams and temporary pools in both moist grassland and forest clearings. It is generally found at 1,300-2,800m asl, possibly down to 800m asl. (Largen et al., 2004). Around Jimma town, in western Ethiopia, I found this species on a marshy meadow, in Bedell nearby village, near small streams and puddles.

Our records:
Jimma (Trailin)

Description original:
Boulenger, G. A. 1895. An account of the reptiles and batrachians collected by Dr. A. Donaldson Smith in western Somali-land and the Galla Country. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1895: 530-540.

Described as Arthroleptis minutus

Common english name: Ethiopian Dwarf Puddle Frog

Phrynobatrachus minutus - locality, Jimma - Kito Furdisa , Kaffa keflehager, Ethiopia

Phrynobatrachus natalensis (Smith, 1849)

Short description:
A medium-sized Phrynobatrachus with a pointed, but rounded snout and a warty skin. Males reach a size of 25-30 mm, females 26 to 31 mm. Enlarged warts forming groups to shoulder level, moderately converge to the head. Tympanum is barely visible. Males have one subgular vocal sack. Inactive it forms numerous folds on the throat, running either irregularly or parallel to the jaw. Feet with a small inner metatarsal tubercle. An outer metatarsal tubercle at the base of the fifth toe. Tarsal tubercle present. Tips of toes and fingers not enlarged. Front legs without webbed feet. The very uniform color of the dorsum is light to dark brown. Males sometimes with green dorsal splotch and with interorbital band. Longitudinal lines on the rear part of thighs are either poorly defined or missing. The vocal sac of males is black with many noticeable white spots. Color of the throat in female is white or white with black spots, or even black. Edge of the mandible is black. Belly white.

From Senegal across sub-Saharan Africa to Ethiopia and Eritrea south through Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to Mozambique and South Africa. West, accros the southern DRC, into Angola and Namibia (Zambia, Zimbabwe...).
Abundant in Ethiopia.

Main activity comes in this species in the rainy season, when both sexes are coming to water resources. A female laid eggs forming a single floating film or clutch with diameter about 10 cm. They were brown-white and measured 0.8–1.0 mm. The tadpoles hatched from within half a day to two days. Tadpoles reach up to 35 mm (TL). Their development is normal at water temperatures from 22 to 34 ° C, but stagnates at lower temperatures, and at higher temperatures tadpoles die. Metamorphosis comes after four or five weeks. SVL after metamorphosis is 12 mm. Males call at night from the grass at edge of water, or on the ground.
They eat a variety of arthropods, especially beetles, termites, insects, spiders, flies, cockroaches, dragonflies and butterflies. Termites mostly during the rainy season.
It inhabits wet savannah, forest edges, clearings and grassy meadows.

Description original:
Smith, A. 1849. Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa; Consisting Chiefly of Figures and Descriptions of the Objects of Natural History Collected during an Expedition into the Interior of South Africa, in the Years 1834, 1835, and 1836 .... Vol. III. Reptilia. Appendix. London: Smith, Elder, & Co..

Our records:
Neghelle Borana (Novak, Trailin); Jimma (Trailin); Bedelle (Trailin, Lizler, Nečas); Langano (Trailin, Lizler, Nečas)

Describet as Stenorhynchus natalensis

Common english name: Natal Puddle Frog

Phrynobatrachus natalensis - locality, Jimma - Amest kilo , Kaffa keflehager, Ethiopia

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