Herpetology of Ethiopia and Eritrea

Cacosterninae, Noble 1931 - Petropedetidae, Noble 1931

Cacosternum boettgeri (Boulenger, 1882)

Short description:
A small frog, they reach total lenght to 25 mm. Head moderate; tympanum hidden. Third finger scarcely more than once and a half the length of second: tips of fingers and toes not dilated: two metatarsal tubercles. The hind limb being carried forwards along the body, the tibio-tarsal articulation marks the shoulder. Skin perfectly smooth: a curved fold from the eye to the shoulder. Olive above: a light line from below the eye to the shoulder; in some specimens, a light vertebral line and a broad light stripe from the scapular region to tho groin; transversely dilated dark spots on the legs: belly generally with round black spots; inferior surface of limbs with dark vermiculalions. Male with a large external subgular vocal sac. From snout to vent 19 millim [Boulenger 1882].

It occurs in southern Africa, but only in the highlands north of the Tropic of Capricorn and probably also in the highlands of Tanzania and Kenya. Northwards into Ethiopia, where it occurs mainly in the east of the Rift Valley and some isolated population we know from the west. In Ethiopia extends up to 2500 m.

Inhabits a wide variety of vegetation. Species of open grasslands, including mountain meadows and pastures, and dry savannas. It prefers open low vegetation areas, and is abundand on grassy meadows. He lives near shallow water, especially puddles, flooded ditches, drainages, flooded meadows and shallow wet depressions, but always where there is plenty of grass.
They hunt reasonably sized small insects, especially flies, mosquitoes, butterflies and small crane fly.

Description original:
Boulenger, G. A. 1882. Catalogue of the Batrachia Salientia s. Ecaudata in the Collection of the British Museum. Second Edition. London: Taylor and Francis.

Described as Arthroleptis boettgeri

Common english name: Boettger's Caco

Tomopterna cryptotis (Boulenger, 1907)

Tomopterna cf.cryptotis - Gambella, Ethiopia

Short description:
A medium sized frog. Warty skin, without parotoid glands. The inner metatarsal tubercle very large. External metatarsal tubercle is missing or small. The legs short, body robust, Snouth-vent lenght 38 až 64 mm. tympanum smaller than the eye, is round, but often indistinct. Pupil horizontal. Finger-tips and toe-tips not enlarged. Skin on the belly smooth.
Dorsum brownish to beige basic color is either dark mottled or reticulated. A pale vertebral stripe occurs rather often. Pale dorsolateral lines may be present, too. The infratympanic ridge is white. Numerous dark brown, greenish or reddish spots. Dark bar markings are found on the upper lip and on the limbs. The belly white or creamish. Both sexes have dark stripes on the mandible. On males, the throat is black as well.
Calling of males is very loud, at a distance of 50 cm was measured at 105 db [Amphibiaweb].

The species is widespread in the savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa. It occurs in arid regions of Senegal and Mauritania east to Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. To the south extends to southern Angola, northeastern Namibia and South Africa.
Distribution in Ethiopia, relatively unknow. Probably western part of the country, around Sudan border and warm and dry areas of the western part of Ethiopian highland and western Eritrea (requires verification by comparing DNA samples).

The frogs spend most of the year buried in the soil, hibernate half a meter or more beneath the soil surface. In the rain season males call from exposed sites at the banks of streams, pools and puddles. Females lay 2000-3000 pigmented eggs in size 1.5 mm, with jelly 3 mm. They store them separately in shallow water. Tadpoles hatch 2-3 days later. They are plump and oval. The belly color is black with golden flecks. The tail is transparent.
Metamorphosis begins after five weeks. Young metamorphosed frogs have a size 12 mm. They prey a variety of arthropods, but mainly termites and beetles, but also caterpillars, butterflies and moths, ants and beetle larvae. The tadpoles usually slow moving, often lying at the bottom of pools and they activity starting at night.

Our Records:
Gambella (Trailin, Lizler);

Description original:
Boulenger, G. A. 1907. Description of a new frog discovered by Dr. W. J. Ansorge in Mossamedes, Angola. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 7, 20: 109.

Described as Rana cryptotis

Common english name: Tremolo Sand Frog

Tomopterna cf.cryptotis - habitat, near Gambella, W Ethiopia

Tomopterna kachowskii (Nikolskii, 1900)

Short description:
A medium-sized robust frog. The frogs reach up to 40 mm. The head is short and broader than long, snout is rounded. Nostril is much closer to the lip than the anterior eyelid. Tympanum is distinct, round and measures 1/2 to 3/4 as large as the eye diameter. Subarticulární hrboly jsou jednotlivé a zøetelné. Prsty jsou do jedná tøetiny opatøené plovací blánou. Toes are one-third webbed The inner metatarsal tubercle is prominent and shovel-shaped, longer than the first toe. The dorsal skin is generally smooth with some small, isolated warts. A discontinuous or continuous glandular ridge is present below the tympanum, trailing from the back edge of the mouth. A light vertebral line is variably present, and an interorbital bar may be present. Limbs are barred. Males have a dark throat, abd females have a mottled throat.

This species is known from Ethiopia,Somalia and Djibouti. The exact distributions of this species in Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea are unclear. Mostly central, eastern and south-eastern part of the country. Is possible that the range extends west into Sudan (requires verification by comparing DNA samples).

As T.cryptotis. The dry season survives under large rocks and in burrows.

Our records:
Metahara (Trailin, Mazuch, Novak); Awash NP (Trailin); Qebri Beyah (Trailin, Novak); FilFil Eritrea (Mazuch, Novak);

Description original:
Nikolskii, A. M. 1900. [Chiromantis kachowskii, espece nouvelle des amphibiens provenant d'Abessinie]. Annuaire du Musée Zoologique de l'Academie Impériale des Sciences de St. Pétersbourg 5: 246-247. [In Russian]

Common english name: Kachowski Sand Frog

Tomopterna kachowskii - habitat, near Dire Dawa, E Ethiopia

Tomopterna wambensis Wasonga and Channing, 2013

Tomopterna cf.wambensis - female, SW of Turmi, Omo, S Ethiopia
Tomopterna cf.wambensis - female, SW of Turmi, Omo, S Ethiopia

This species is known from northern to southeastern Kenya and a single record (which has been genetically confirmed) from Arusha, Tanzania, between 725-1,782 m asl (Wasonga and Channing 2013). It is likely to occur into Ethiopia due to the proximity of the most northern confirmed record near to the Kenya-Ethiopian border (Wasonga and Channing 2013). Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is about 78,000 km2.

This species has been found mostly in open savanna habitats including man-made and natural water points; individuals have been observed in (about 10 cm) and outside (around 2 m) of waterbodies (Wasonga and Channing 2013). Breeding aggregations are found in seasonal wetlands; however it is unknown whether it lays eggs or has tadpoles (Wasonga and Channing2013).

A cryptic species with little in the way of morphology to distinguish it according to the original publication.

Original description:
DOMNICK V. WASONGA1 & ALAN CHANNING: Identification of sand frogs (Anura: Pyxicephalidae: Tomopterna) from Kenya with the description of two new species

Our records:
Turmi (Trailin)

Common english name: Wamba Sand Frog

Tomopterna cf.wambensis - habitat, near Turmi, S Ethiopia

Ericabatrachus baleensis Largen, 1991

This species is restricted to the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia, at 2,400-3,200 m asl. It has so far been found only in three very circumscribed localities: Katcha, Fute and the type locality Tulla Negesso (S. Loader and D. Gower pers. comms. June 2012). Its range, taken as a proxy for extent of occurrence (EOO), is estimated to be 0.96 km2 inclusive of the historical localities Katcha and Tulla Negesso. Its area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be smaller than this based on the possible extirpation at two of the three sites (S. Loader and D. Gower pers. comms. June 2012). It is considered to occur in one threat-defined location based on livestock trampling and deforestation along the streams through which the species is found (D. Gower and S. Loader pers. comms. June 2012).

This species is known only from the area of high mountain forests (Erica arborea) and from Schefflera-Hagenia forests. There inhabits grassy banks besides small, fast-flowing, streams. The way of breeding is unknown, but caught females contained large and unpigmented eggs. Probably laid the eggs in the grass along streams.

Evolutionary Relationships of the Critically Endangered Frog Ericabatrachus baleensis Largen, 1991 with Notes on Incorporating Previously Unsampled Taxa into Large-scale Phylogenetic Analyses

Description original:
Largen, M. J. 1991. A new genus and species of petropedetine frog (Amphibia, Anura, Ranidae) from high altitude in the mountains of Ethiopia. Tropical Zoology. Firenze 4: 139-152.

Common english name: Bale Mountains Frog

Amietia nutti (Boulenger, 1896)

Short description:
This form contains several cryptic species. Pickersgill (2007) recently named three new species from populations that were previously included within Amietia angolensis: A. lubrica from Lake Bunyoni in southwestern Uganda; A. tenuoplicata from the East Usambara Mountains in northeastern Tanzania; and A. viridireticulata from the Udzungwa Mountains in southern Tanzania and Nyika Plateau in northern Malawi. A full resolution of this species complex will probably result in the description of several new species [Amphibiaweb].
Vomerine teeth in two strong oblique series between the choanae. Head as long as broad or slightly broader than long; snout rounded, scarcely projecting, slightly longer than the diameter of the orbit; canthus rostralis obtuse; loreal region very oblique and slightly concave; nostril equally distant from the eye and the tip of the snout; interorbital space a little narrower than the upper eyelid; tympanum very distinct, three fourths the diameter of the eye. Fingers pointed, first longer than second; toes slender, pointed, three-fourths webbed; subarticular tubercles small; a small elliptical inner metatarsal tubercle measuring one third the length of the inner toe. Tibia as long as the fore limb; tibio-tarsal articulation reaching the tip of the snout or a little beyond. Skin smooth; a narrow glandular dorsolateral fold. Olive above; sides of body and limbs vermiculate or marbled with blackish; a dark temporal spot; a light streak from below the eye to the angle of the mouth; limbs with dark cross-bands; lower parts white, throat spotted or marbled with brown. Male with internal vocal sacs. From snout to vent 80 mm [BOULENGER].
2 große ♀♀ und 1 ♂ von Herrn Dr. SCHUBOTZ bei Bukoba gesammelt; die ♀♀ sind auf dem Rücken fast vollig glatt, auf den Flanken zeigen sie rundliche flache Warzen. Beim ♂ hat die Haut ein eigentümliches dorniges Aussehen, wie es in ganz ähnlicher Weise beim Hochzeitskleid des ♂ von Rana delalandi D. u. B. beschrieben worden ist. 2 große ♀♀ , von Dr. SCHUBOTZ in Mpororo gesammelt, (n. 430 und 434 der Sammlung), ersteres mit schwächeren, letzteres mit deutlicheren dunklen Flecken auf dem Rücken. 1 ♂ mit stark dorniger Haut und kurzen Hautfalten auf dem Rücken, von Dr. SCHUBOTZ im Bugoiewald gefangen. 2 jüngere ♂♂ mit fast glattem Rücken und von fast einfarbigem schwarzlichem Aussehen wurden in 2100 m Höhe von Dr. SCHUBOTZ im Rugegewald gefangen.
Am gleichen Fundort in 2100 m Höhe erbeutete Herr GRAUER:
I größeres bräunliches ♀ ohne hellen Medianstreifen.
I kleineres ♀ von grünlichschwarzer Farbung mit einem solchen Streifen,
I junges ♂ , noch nicht halb so groß wie das großte ♀
und 8 junge Tiere, letztere, mit Ausnahme eines Exemplars mit einem hellen Medianstreifen, alle auf grünlichgrauem bis graubraunem Grunde deutlich gefleckt.
Herr Dr. SCHUBOTZ sammelte ferner noch:
I ♂ mit hellem Medianstreifen auf dem Rücken in Ruasa am Fuß der Vulkane in 2500 m Höhe. I ♂ mit großen Daumenschwielen und zahlreichen Hautfalten auf dem Rücken, I ungefähr gleich großes ♂ ohne Daumenschwielen und Hautfalten sowie I ♀ am Mulerasee. 6 jiingere Tiere von grünlicher Farbung, eines mit einem hellen Medianstreifen auf dem Rücken, am Karissimbi beim Dorf des Mtualen Gahama. I ♀ mit hellem Medianstreifen auf dem Rücken und i einfarbig braunliches junges Exemplar am Ruwenzori.
Herr GRAUER erbeutete noch:
I ♂ mit deutlichen Falten auf dem Rücken und nicht sehr scharfem hellem Medianstreifen in Usumbura.
Ferner 10 Exemplare in verschiedenen Altersstufen von 63 mm Lange bis herab zu 22 mm Lange im Urwald go km westlich des Südendes des Albert-Edward-Sees: darunter befinden sich je ein ♂ und ♀ mit hellem Medianstreifen; das jüngste Tier besitzt bei sonstiger voller Ausbildung noch einen Schwanz von halber Kopf-Rumpflänge.
Die vorstehend aufgefiihrten Exemplare zeigen hinsichtlich ihrer Farbung eine starke Variabilitat nicht nur bei Tieren von verschiedenen Fundorten, sondern auch bei solchen gleicher Herkunft. Im allgemeinen überwiegen bei jungen Froschen helle grünliche Farbentone und starkere Fleckenzeichnung gegenüber dem mehr einfarbig braunlichen Aussehen der alteren weniger oder gar nicht gefleckten Individuen. Helle Medianstreifen auf dem Rücken konnte ich nicht nur bei Mannchen feststellen PERACCA beobachtete bei R. nntti vom Ruwenzori solche Streifen nur bei männlichen Tieren sondern auch bei Weibchen und bei jungen Individuen. Die verschiedenen Farbtöne gehen übrigens bei vielen Kxemplaren so ineinander iiber, daß eine genaue Beschreibung kaum möglich ist [STERNFELD].

This species ranges widely in eastern and southern Africa, occurring mainly in upland areas (especially in the tropics) from Eritrea and Ethiopia south to southern Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, and Angola. It occurs from sea level to 2,000m asl in South Africa 2,800m asl in East Africa and 3,100m asl in Ethiopia. It presumably occurs in extreme southern Namibia and in the Caprivi Strip, but there do not appear to be any records from this country. A record from Landiani in northern coastal Kenya requires confirmation.

It requires permanent water surrounded by dense herbaceous vegetation, in grassland, forests, savannah and agricultural land. It prefers shallow water, including ponds, streams and rivers, and breeds in still water and on the edges of streams.

Common english name: Nutt's River Frog

Amietia nutti - habitat, Chammo lake, S Ethiopia

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