AMPHIBIAWEB
Phrynobatrachus asper
family: Phrynobatrachidae

© 2011 Eli Greenbaum (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Data Deficient (DD)
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

This species is named from the Latin 'asper' (Latin) meaning rough and presumably refers to the dorsal skin, which is covered in warts and tubercles in both sexes and has small, spiny asperities in males.


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

Summary

Phrynobatrachus asper is one of the largest species (SVL 55 mm) of puddle frog, known only from the Itombwe Highlands in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Members of this genus are identified by the presence of a midtarsal tubercle, elongate inner metatarsal tubercle, and outer metatarsal tubercle. Phrynobatrachus asper is characterized by extensive pedal webbing, lack of digital discs, and a dorsum that includes longitudinal folds, as well as logitudinal rows of warts and tubercles.


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

Distribution

This species has been recorded only from the Itombwe Highlands in southern Kivu Province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, which is part of the Albertine Rift (Drewes and Pickersgill, 2004).


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

Morphology

Aspect is raniform. An elongate dimple, instead of a conical papillae, is present on the tongue. The canthus rostralis is somewhat obtuse and incurved, and the frenal region is markedly concave. The mouth is at the most distal part of the head. Manual webbing is absent. Pedal webbing is extensive with 1-2 phalanges free on toe IV. Digital tips are blunt and discs are absent. Sub-articular tubercles are not particularly prominent. Inner metatarsal tubercle is ovular and well developed. External metatarsal tubercle is present but somewhat indistinct and followed on the tarsus by some tubercles that are almost as developed. A quite large fold leaves the internal metatarsal tubercle but it does not connect to the tarsal tubercle as it often does in other species. The tibiotarsal articulation almost reaches the nostril. Numerous longitudinal folds, as well as rows of warts and tubercles also longitudinally oriented, are present on the back. There are often 8 longitudinal folds, and the lateral folds are almost always fragmented followed by a series of elongated tubercles. The dorsolateral folds that are located laterally are often discontinuous and may be angled slightly in the direction of the tympanum at the start. The dorsolateral folds that are located medially are often more continuous, outlining the posterior edge of the eyelid. The medio-dorsal folds do not reach above the scapular region; they are often less obvious and fragmented. A distinct supratympanic fold begins directly behind the eye and descends immediately behind the tympanum to the forelimb insertion. There are a number of folds and rows of tubercles present on the legs, although developed more obliquely, with two rows of spiny tubercles on the top of the thigh. The region surrounding the vent region is lined with strong spiny asperities, decreasing in size towards the distal end of the thigh. Small, spiny asperities are often present between the folds in males, and these spiny tubercles are absent in females. In females, the folds are much less prominent and the medio-dorsal ones are often absent. According to the original description, males do not exhibit a vocal sac (Laurent, 1951).

Dorsum is olive-gray with black glandular folds. A slightly darker incomplete band is present between the eyes, starting at the posterior edge of the eyelids and stopping abruptly in the middle. In front of this line, the muzzle is solid grey or brown. The limit of the solid color of the head is a dark band that runs from the tip of the snout to the eye, clearly following the canthus rostralis below the nostrils and traveling towards the snout tip above the nostrils. A lighter band of cream runs below the dark lateral band on the head, beneath the eye, and under the dark tympanic region. Sometimes a clear narrow latero-dorsal line is sandwiched between two warty dorsal lateral folds. Morphotypes with a vertebral line or a light-colored mid-dorsal area have been identified. The ventral color is yellow-white and very light mixed with weak and undefined grey spots in the male. The belly color is white-grey with more defined grey-black spots in the female.


Authors: Zimkus, Breda; Lawson, Lucinda
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Size

The male holotype measures 55 mm (Laurent, 1951).


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

Diagnostic Description

Phrynobatrachus asper is a large-bodied species that is characterized by extensive pedal webbing (only 1-2 phalanges free or webbing on toe IV), lack of digital discs, and a dorsum that includes longitudinal folds, as well as logitudinal rows of warts and tubercles.


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

Comparisons

It is most similar to those species restricted to the Albertine Rift, including P. acutirostris, P. dalcqui, P. dendrobates, P. petropedetoides, P. sulfureogularis, and P. versicolor. It is morphologically most similar to P. acutirostris and P. sulfureogularis but differs by its more extensive pedal webbing and absence of digital discs. Male P. asper are also easily distinguished from P. sulfeoregularis by the absence of a yellow vocal sac. In P. acutirostris, the scapular glands are often relatively weakly developed and exhibit a different pattern: a double Y in the scapular region. In P. acutirostris, the dark pigmentation on the venter is more spread out, intense, and clearly defined, and there is a clear longitudinal line in the middle of the throat that is absent in P. asper. The head and other dimensions are relatively larger in P. acutirostris with the exception of the size of upper eyelid. The major difference is that the interorbital space is 35% larger in P. acutirostris, and the length of the 3rd digit is approximately 20% shorter.


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

Habitat and Ecology

This species is known to live in swamps both within and outside montane forest, above 2,400m asl. (Drewes and Pickersgill, 2004). According to Laurent (1964), P. asper is most commonly founds in the brooks that come down from the hills through bamboo woods and light gallery forest composed of hagenias, lobelias, and varies bushes.


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

Associations

Laurent (1964) notes that this species appears to stay in close proximity to brooks, possibly because its diet is composed of aquatic insects.


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

Population Biology

There is no recent information on the population status of this species (Drewes and Pickersgill, 2004).


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

Activity and Special Behaviors

P. asper is largely aquatic (Laurent, 1964).


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

Phylogenetics

Sequence data is not currently available for this species, but it most likely falls within the group of large-bodied puddle frogs restricted to the Albertine Rift, including P. acutirostris, P. dendrobates, P. petropedetoides, and P. versicolor identified by Zimkus et al. (2010). This group is also hypothesized to include P. dalcqui, P. irangi, and P. sulfureogularis. Molecular data also indicate that the aforementioned group of puddle frogs is sister to P. krefftii from East Africa.


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 (2009) categorizes this species as Data Deficient in view of the absence of recent information on its extent of occurrence, status and ecological requirements (Drewes and Pickersgill, 2004).


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

Threats

There is no recent information on threats to this species.


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

Conservation Actions and Management

It is not known from any protected areas (Drewes and Pickersgill, 2004).


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