AMPHIBIAWEB
Nectophrynoides frontierei
family: Bufonidae
 
Species Description: Menegon M, Salvidio S, Loader SP 2004 Five new species of Nectophrynoides Noble 1926 (Amphibia Anura Bufonidae) from the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania. Trop. Zool. 17:97-121
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Data Deficient (DD)
CITES
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Tanzania, United Republic of

 

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

   

From the Encyclopedia of Life account:

Etymology

This species is named for the organisation Frontier-Tanzania, whose members collected the type series of this species and have also made significant contributions to understanding the biological diversity of Tanzania.


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Taxonomic Notes

This species is known only from two males that were captured in pitfall traps near a stream in 1999 (Menegon and Loader, 2004; Harper et al., 2010).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Distribution

This species is known only from Amani Nature Reserve, in the East Usambara Mountains, north-eastern Tanzania (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Morphology

This species is small Nectophrynoides with a moderately robust body. Head longer than wide. The tympanum is faintly discernible on both sides of the head. Reflection of the skin on the left side reveals a clear annulus and tympanum. A columella is not clearly visible. The auditory apparatus is evidently partially degenerate. The pupil is horizontal pupil, and the eye is visible ventrally. Sides of the head are vertical. Canthus rostralis is slightly concave, with the snout extending beyond the upper lip. Parotoid glands are absent; skin of the parotoid region with a few small, separated, rounded to oval glands. A glandular ridge on outer edge of eyelids is present. Nostrils are closer to the tip of snout than to eye, below the level of the canthus rostralis and directed laterally. Webbing on hands is absent and only found at the base of the toes. Fingertips are rounded or pointed but not expanded or truncated. One metacarpal tubercle and two sub-equal metatarsal tubercles are present. The tibia/foot ratio is 1.16 in the holotype (Menegon et al., 2004).

The dorsal ground colour is a uniform light brown, with lighter areas corresponding to layers of skin that were probably being shed. The skin is uniformly covered by melanophores, except for the belly and the inferior part of the limbs, where they are less numerous. Light blotches are present on the urostyle region and on the inner side of the thigh. The belly and throat are pale grey with sparse melanophores. Ground colour in life was brown with a faint hourglass pattern. The belly was grey with white speckling. Head and limbs were light brown above and white below. Iris in life was golden (Menegon et al., 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Size

The male holotype measured 18.3 mm in snout-vent length (Menegon et al., 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Diagnostic Description

A very small toad with a broad head. The dorsum is brown with lighter blotches. The tympanum is only weakly visible. Parotid glands are absent, although a few small glands may be present in the parotid area. The upper eyelid has a distinctly glandular ridge. The snout extends slightly beyond the lower lip. Finger and toe tips are not expanded. Toes have a small amount of webbing at the base, fingers lack webbing (Harper et al., 2010).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Comparisons

N. frontierei can be distinguished from most other species in the genus by its lack of clearly visible tympanum and parotid glands.The tympanum, if present in N. frontierei, is weakly discernible, thus differing from N. minutus, N. tornieri, N. poyntoni, N. vestergaardi and N. viviparus, which have a well developed and clearly visible tympanum. This species differs from N. cryptus (which in some specimens has a reduced tympanum) and from N. laevis by its lack of parotoid glands. In N. pseudotornieri the parotoid glands are weakly discernible but N. frontierei is readily distinguished from it by the rounded tip of the fingers and the smaller size. It differs from N. asperginis, which has dark dorsolateral bands and more developed webbing. This species does resemble N. minutus in size and body shape. (Menegon et al., 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Habitat and Ecology

The only known specimens were collected in closed submontane forest relatively close to a stream and a dry riverbed at 920 - 950 m (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Population Biology

The only two specimens known were collected in traps in February 1999 and are from a well-studied. It is therefore believed that this is a very rare species (Menegon and Loader, 2004; Harper et al., 2010).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Reproduction

Reproduction is assumed to be similar to that of other species in the genus with internal fertilization and live birth (ovoviviparity; Harper et al., 2010).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

IUCN Red List Category and Justification of Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List (2010) categorizes this species as Data Deficient becausa it has only recently been discovered, and there is still very little information on its extent of occurrence, status and ecological requirements (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Threats

The nature reserve in which this species is found is well protected, but it is under pressure from illegal gold miners. Much of the forest away from the reserve is being progressively cleared, especially due to agricultural encroachment, wood extraction and expanding human settlements (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Conservation Actions and Management

Amani Nature Reserve is currently the only protected area in which it is known to occur (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


Author: Zimkus, Breda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/