AmphibiaWeb - Callulina laphami


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Callulina laphami Loader, Gower, Ngalason & Menegon, 2010
family: Brevicipitidae
genus: Callulina
Species Description: Loader SP, Gower DJ, Ngalason W, Menegon M 2010 Three new species of Callulina (Amphibia: Anura: Brevicipitidae) highlight local endemism and conservation plight of Africa's Eastern Arc forests. Zool J Linn Soc 160: 496-514.

© 2010 Michele Menegon (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Diagnosis: A large species of Callulina, with snout-urostyle length up to 45.4 mm. Stout and robust body. Ratio of snout-urostyle to tibial length is 33-37%. Tympanum is lacking. Tips of fingers and toes are truncate. Subarticular tubercles are prominent on both hands and feet. Arms and legs have a glandular ridge. Dorsum is dark brown; venter is pale brown. Interocular band is usually red, but is green in some individuals and is darker in preserved specimens.

Callulina laphami can be distinguished from its very similar congener C. shengena by the presence of prominent glands on the arms and legs (absent in C. shengena). C. laphami is also similar to C. dawida but can be distinguished by the absence of tympana (present but sometimes obscured in C. dawida). Callulina laphami can be distinguished from its congeners C. kisiwamsitu, C. kreffti and C. stanleyi by the lack of tympana (present in C. kisiwamsitu, C. kreffti and C. stanleyi), having smoother, less granular skin, finger and toe tips that are truncate, and a brightly colored interocular band (absent in C. kisiwamsitu, C. kreffti, and C. stanleyi).

Description: Body robust and stout, with males attaining snout-urostyle lengths of 22.8-29.0 mm and females reaching snout-urostyle lengths of 33.5-45.4 mm. Snout visible in ventral view. Tympanum is absent. Forelimbs have a slightly raised glandular area on the dorsal/dorsolateral surface, from the wrist to the elbow joint. Fingertips are truncate and rounded with circummarginal grooves. Relative finger lengths are III>IV=II>I. Inner metacarpal tubercle is large, raised, and rounded, but still smaller than the outer metacarpal tubercle, which runs along the margin of the hand. A middle palmar tubercle separates the two metacarpal tubercles and smaller palmar tubercles are also present. Fingers bear subarticular tubercles at the base of each digit and at the phalangeal joints on Fingers III-IV. Hindlimbs have a slightly raised glandular region running from the knee joint to the tibiotarsal joint, on the dorsal, lateral, and ventral surfaces; a glandular region also runs from the tibiotarsal joint to the base of the foot, on the dorsal, lateral, and ventral surfaces. Toe tips are dorsoventrally swollen but are not expanded laterally and do not have lamellae on the ventral surfaces; they bear circummarginal grooves. Relative toe lengths are IV>III=V>I=II. Toes bear subarticular tubercles at the base of each digit and at the phalangeal joints on Toes III-IV. Inner metatarsal tubercle is large, raised, and rounded, and abuts the smaller, raised and rounded outer metatarsal tubercle. Plantar tubercles are present at the base of the sole. The dorsal skin is very slightly granular but mostly smooth, bearing glandular, granular masses laterally and ventrally and at the posterior around the thighs and urostyle.

Coloration in life: dark brown dorsum, shading to paler brown on the flanks and then to yellowish cream ventrally. Bright red (or occasionally green) interocular band that marks anterior and posterior edges of eyelid. Flanks are brown, but paler than the dorsum In juveniles the dorsum may be more of a reddish color.

Distribution and Habitat

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


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Endemic to the Eastern Arc Mountains in Tanzania. Found only in the Kindoroko and Minja Forest Reserves, North Pare Mountains, at elevations between 1730 m and 2000 m asl. The estimated extent of occurrence is 16.5 km2 or less. Habitat is montane forest. Within the forest, this species has been found both in wet stream valleys and on drier ridges. Individuals climb on vegetation at night and shelter under rocks and logs by day.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This species shelters under logs and rocks in the forest, sometimes under damp rocks adjacent to small forest streams, during the day. At night it can be found perched on shrubs, bushes, and small tree branches up to 1.5 m above the forest floor. Males call from their perches on vegetation. The call is a very rapid series of 10-14 trills; each trill consists of 6-7 pulses with a pulse group duration of 6 ms and an interval of about 125 ms between pulse groups. Calls are emitted at a rate of about five calls per second, with a dominant frequency of 1550 Hz. Call activity seems to be less frequent and less constant than for other species of Callulina.

Trends and Threats
This species should be classified as Critically Endangered. C. laphami has a very restricted range (16.5 km2 or less) and fragmented habitat (Loader et al. 2010). Both the area and quality of habitat are declining. This species is present within two protected areas, Kindoroko and Minja Forest Reserves. Although this species is not rare within its restricted range, the limited extent and fragmentation of suitable habitat raise significant conservation concerns.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Habitat fragmentation


Etymology: Named for Lewis H. Lapham in honor of his support for Tanzanian forest conservation, which is especially critical for endemic species with restricted ranges such as C. laphami.

Species authority: Described by Loader et al. (2010).

Loader et al. (2010) noted that species in the genus Callulina can be distinguished from all other brevicipitids by having truncate to expanded digit tips (vs. rounded tips in other brevicipitid species), and are often found climbing on vegetation when not sheltering, in contrast to the burrowing lifestyle favored by other brevicipitids. Loader et al. also provide a key to distinguish between all known species of Callulina.


Loader, S. P., Gower, D. J., Ngalason, W., and Menegon, M. (2010). ''Three new species of Callulina (Amphibia: Anura: Brevicipitidae) highlight local endemism and conservation plight of Africa's Eastern Arc forests.'' Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 160, 496-514.

Originally submitted by: Kellie Whittaker (first posted 2010-10-31)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2010-10-31)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2010 Callulina laphami <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 22, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 Feb 2024.

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