AMPHIBIAWEB
Nectophrynoides vestergaardi
Vestergaard's Forest Toad
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

© 2005 Martin Vestergaard (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Endangered (EN)
CITES No CITES Listing
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

 

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

   

From the Encyclopedia of Life account:

Etymology

The species is named in honour of Martin Vestergaard, a Danish zoologist, who first recognised the population as being an undescribed species.


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

Summary

This Endangered toad is known only from the West Usambara Mountains in north-eastern Tanzania. It can be distinguished by the presence of the a tympanum and continuous elongate parotid gland, as well as toe tips that are rounded rather than truncate.


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

Distribution

This species is known only from the West Usambara Mountains in north-eastern Tanzania. There are records from the Shume-Magamba Forest Reserve, the Mazumbai Forest Reserve, and the Ambangulu Estate (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


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

Morphology

This medium sized Nectophrynoides exhibits slender limbs. Tympanum and tympanic annulus are easily discernible. Parotoid glands are present as a discrete raised elongated mass from the angle formed by the squamosal and prootic to the scapular region. Snout is short. Nostrils closer to the snout tip than eye and situated laterally. Canthus rostralis is slightly concave. Eye pupil is horizontal, and eyes prominent and visible ventrally. Trace of web is present on hands; two phalanges of fifth toe are free of main webbing, three and half of fourth toe free on outer side, four free on inner side. Tips of fingers and toes are rounded, not expanded or truncated. Two subequal metatarsal tubercles are present on feet. The body skin is completely covered by coni with scattered glandular humps surmounted by small clear spines on eyelids, tympanic area, body sides and limbs, but almost absent from body dorsum and head. The tibia/foot ratio in the type series varies between 0.89 to 1.00 (mean 0.93 ± 0.04; (Menegon et al., 2004).

In preservative the body appears always bicoloured, with sides darker than dorsum. The pale brown colour appearance is the result of a mixture of a very pale surface together with very small condensations of melanophores. A light maxillary patch is usually present and may be conspicuous. Outer edge of parotoid glands is darkened. A clearly raised glandular ridge on outer margin of eyelids is discernible. There is almost always a fine dark mid dorsal vertebral line from snout to urostyle present (Menegon et al., 2004).


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

Size

Holotype, a female, measured 24 mm from snout to urostyle. Females are larger in size (Menegon et al., 2004).


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

Diagnostic Description

A medium-sized Nectophrynoides with short slender limbs. The dorsum is light, with dark sides. Many individuals have a dark mid dorsal stripe. The tympanum is clearly visible. Parotid glands are raised with dark edges and are longer than they are wide. Toe and finger tips are not expanded and may be rounded or slightly pointed. Fingers are webbed only slightly at the base. Toes are partially webbed (Harper et al., 2010).


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

Comparisons

This species resembles N. tornieri in size and body shape but is easily distinguished from it by the rounded fingers and toes without truncated ends. The presence of an elongated and continuous parotoid gland from otic to scapular region, the larger size and the foot length equal or greater than tibia length, allows N. vestergaardi to be distinguished from N. minutus. N. vestergaardi differs from N. asperginis, N. laevis, N. pseudotornieri and N. wendyae by the presence of a tympanum. N. cryptus and N. frontierei sometimes possess a reduced, weakly discernible tympanum, N. vestergaardi is distinguished from them by the presence of narrow and elongated parotoid glands (scapular in N. cryptus, absent in N. frontierei). This species is readily distinguished from N. viviparus by the absence of massive glands on the limbs and by the smaller size. The species resembles N. poyntoni in size, body and head shape, and in rounded tips of fingers and toes. However, it differs in both fore and hindlimb proportions (limbs are significantly shorter in N. vestergaardi), in parotoid glands shape (forming a continuous ridge from otic to scapular region in N. vestergaardi, whereas in N. poyntoni the parotoids are discontinuous) and in dorsal and lateral colour pattern (pale dorsum with darker sides and a thin vertebral line in N. vestergaardi; Menegon et al., 2004).


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

Habitat and Ecology

All records have been from montane and submontane forest between 1230 and 2000 m, including in the ecotone between forest and ericaceous vegetation. The type series was collected in montane forest dominated by Ocotea usambarensis and Podocarpus sp. (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


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

Population Biology

There is little information available on its population status. However, the fact that 23 specimens have been found widely over the West Usambara Mountains, despite limited survey effort, suggests that it is not uncommon in suitable habitat within its small range (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


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

Activity and Special Behaviors

It is probably terrestrial as some animals were found inside a rotten log (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


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. One female was found containing 18 embryos (Menegon et al., 2004)


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 Endangered because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 5,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in the West Usambara Mountains, Tanzania (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


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

Trends

It is assumed that populations are decreasing (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


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

Threats

In some parts of the West Usambaras its habitat is probably being lost, especially due to agricultural encroachment, commercial logging, 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

It occurs in the University of Dar es Salaam's forest reserve at Mazumbai, but additional protection of the habitat in the West Usambara Mountains is needed (Menegon and Loader, 2004).


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