AMPHIBIAWEB
Breviceps gibbosus
Giant rain frog
family: Brevicipitidae

© 2008 Maik Dobiey (1 of 3)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Near Threatened (NT)
CITES
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: South Africa

 

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

   

From the Encyclopedia of Life account:

Distribution

B. gibbosus is endemic to South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland (Text from Minter et al., 2004, © SI/MAB Biodiversity Program)


Authors: Minter, L.R.; Harrison, J.A.
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Morphology

Females reach 80 mm in length and males are smaller (De Villiers 1988). The dorsal surface is rough in texture, and mottled in light and dark brown. A broad, central, creamy band with deeply serrated, dark edges is sometimes present, but more often is broken up to form two longitudinal rows of irregular, creamy patches. The ventrum is creamy white with brown mottling and has a rough texture (Text from Minter et al., 2004, © SI/MAB Biodiversity Program).


Authors: Minter, L.R.; Harrison, J.A.
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Comparisons

The only species with which B. gibbosus sometimes shares habitat is the much smaller B. montanus, which has a higher pitched, whistle-like call. The calls of B. fuscus and B. acutirostris are somewhat similar to those of B. gibbosus but these species are not sympatric with gibbosus (Text from Minter et al., 2004, © SI/MAB Biodiversity Program)


Authors: Minter, L.R.; Harrison, J.A.
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Habitat and Ecology

De Villiers (1988b) found that most localities where B. gibbosus occurs have fine grained, heavy substrates (loamy soils and clays) derived from shales or granites. B. gibbosus also occurs in disturbed and altered habitats, such as pine plantations and suburban gardens (Text from Minter et al., 2004, © SI/MAB Biodiversity Program).


Authors: Minter, L.R.; Harrison, J.A.
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Activity and Special Behaviors

Channing (2001) reports that B. gibbosus survives the long, dry summers by aestivation underground. Individuals produce a thin cocoon around themselves, with nostrils plugged and body inflated (Text from Minter et al., 2004, © SI/MAB Biodiversity Program).


Authors: Minter, L.R.; Harrison, J.A.
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Advertisement Call

B. gibbosus has a distinctive call, being more guttural (lower pitched and distinctly pulsed) than any other rain frog (Text from Minter et al., 2004, © SI/MAB Biodiversity Program).

Calling commences with the first winter rains (late April) and continues through to November. Calling occurs day and night in wet weather. Calling peaks at the beginning of winter and in spring, from late August to October, suggesting that warmer temperatures stimulate calling. Although calling usually occurs during and after rain showers, it sometimes precedes the rain by a few hours suggesting that this species may be able to detect the drop in barometric pressure that occurs in advance of a frontal weather system. Poynton and Pritchard (1976) noted a similar apparent connection between barometric pressure and surface activity in B. adspersus and B. verrucosus. Male B. gibbosus call from the surface, that is, they have never been observed calling from elevated perches as in some other Breviceps species. Calling males are usually well hidden under vegetation, in shallow depressions in the substrate (Text from Minter et al., 2004, © SI/MAB Biodiversity Program).


Authors: Minter, L.R.; Harrison, J.A.
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Reproduction

As in other Breviceps species, adhesive amplexus is employed when mating (Wager, 1965). In dense choruses, males will attempt to clasp any moving object in the vicinity, including other males (Text from Minter et al., 2004, © SI/MAB Biodiversity Program).


Authors: Minter, L.R.; Harrison, J.A.
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

IUCN Red List Category and Justification of Conservation Status

B. gibbosus was previously listed as Vulnerable (McLachlan 1978; Branch 1988) and Near Threatened (Harrison et al. 2001) based on a restricted extent of occurrence and area of occupancy, an inferred drastic reduction and fragmentation of its range by urban and agricultural development (Text from Minter et al., 2004, © SI/MAB Biodiversity Program).


Authors: Minter, L.R.; Harrison, J.A.
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/