AmphibiaWeb - Scaphiophryne matsoko


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Scaphiophryne matsoko Raselimanana, Raxworthy, Andreone, Glaw & Vences, 2014
family: Microhylidae
subfamily: Scaphiophryninae
genus: Scaphiophryne
Species Description: Raselimanana AP, Raxworthy CJ, Andreone F, Glaw F, Vences M 2014 An enigmatic new Scaphiophryne toadlet from the rainforests of north-eastern Madagascar (Amphibia: Microhylidae). Vertebrate Zoology (Senckenberg) 64: 95-102.

© 2014 Achille Raselimanana (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Near Threatened (NT)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.


Scaphiophryne matsoko is a moderately sized frog with a snout-vent length ranging from 34.6 – 36.4 mm in males. There is no information to date about females of this species. The head of this frog is greater in width than in length, yet the head is more slender than the rest of the plump body. The snout is tapered when viewed from above or from the side and projects about 2 mm forward from the mouth opening. The somewhat protruding nostrils are pointed to the sides and are farther from the eyes than from the snout tip. Scaphiophryne matsoko has a sharp-edged canthus, a uniform loreal region, and tympana that are not easily identifiable. However, the supratympanic fold is uncurved and identifiable. This frog has an ovular, wide tongue that is undivided and not attached to the posterior of the mouth. The forelimbs are thin and terminate with unwebbed fingers with a relative length of 3 > 4 > 2 > 1. There are visible subarticular tubercles, but no distinguishable metacarpal tubercles. The finger disks are localized to the fingertips and are not very large. There are no nuptial pads present. The hindlimbs are slim and not very long, but are still lengthier than most other species of Scaphiophryne. The inner metatarsal tubercles are big and pronounced and there are no outer metatarsal or tarsal tubercles present. The toes are very slightly webbed at the base, have small disks localized at the tips, and have a relative length of 4 > 3 > 5 > 2 > 1. This frog has uniform, soft skin on both the ventral and dorsal surfaces and has a clearly defined dorsolateral fold (Raselimanana et al. 2014).

Scaphiophryne matsoko differs from other species of Scaphiophryne because it has a sharply tapered snout tip and has no tarsal tubercles. It is additionally differentiated from the other Scaphiophryne species except S. calcarata by its lengthier hindlimbs (tibia length/snout-vent length < 0.43 in other Scaphiophryne) and its clearly defined dorsolateral fold. It is similar to S. boribory and S. marmorata by its marbled ventral side. It differs from S. spinosa, S. boribory, S. madagascariensis, S. menabensis, S. gottlebei, and S. marmorata by its chocolate-brown dorsum with a red hue and lack of green coloration except on the dorsal side of the hindlimbs; from S. menabensis, S. boribory, S. marmorata, S. spinosa, and S. gottlebei by its lack of large terminal disks on all phalanges (other species have large, trilateral disks). In general appearance, Scaphiophryne matsoko is most similar to S. calcarata but is distinguished from that species by its larger size (snout-vent length = 28 – 33 mm in S. calcarata), sharply tapered snout tip, more distinct dorsolateral fold, and its nonexistent tarsal tubercles (Raselimanana et al. 2014).

In preservative, the frog is chocolate-brown on the dorsum, which shifts to a lighter tone of brown laterally. The dorsolateral fold is tan colored. There is a very narrow, faint vertebral line on either side of which is a region of darker brown color than the one displayed on the rest of the dorsum. The forelimb, as well as the lateral area between the forelimb insertion and the tympanum, is the same tan color as the dorsolateral fold and has several small brown dots. The chocolate-brown hindlimbs are the same color as the dorsum except for some crossbands of varying color. The posterior of the dorsum and the region just dorsal to the eyes have small tan spots. The ventral surface of the throat is the same chocolate-brown as the dorsum and has an indistinct dividing line made of white spots. The chest and belly are marbled in yellow and chocolate-brown. In life, the color is comparable. The dorsum has a reddish hue and is darker laterally. The dorsolateral fold is white. The hindlimbs have dorsal lime-green patches with the same reddish hue in the background that is found on the dorsum. The iris is hazel with some patches of darker brown. The chest and belly are maize with brown splotches and the throat is amber (Raselimanana et al. 2014).

The tympanum varies in size and its diameter is typically 50–75% that of the horizontal diameter of the eye. The throat can have somewhat rough skin, which most likely suggests that it has a vocal sac. In some individuals, the color may be generally darkened, otherwise maintaining the defining features such as the marbled belly. There may be off-white (in life yellow-green) dots at the forelimb insertion (Raselimanana et al. 2014).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

All specimens of Scaphiophryne matsoko were collected in the humid rainforests of northeastern Madagascar at the Marotondrano Special Reserve, Ambatovaky Special Reserve, Ankarana River close to Antalaha, Tsararano, and Besariaka. They were all collected at mid to low altitudes (70 – 850 m; Raselimanana et al. 2014).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

All known specimens of Scaphiophryne matsoko were active and collected during the day. Moreover, they were all captured during a seven-day interval of no rainfall. All the specimens were caught in close proximity, indicating that this species may be particularly seasonal or have a very concentrated distribution in specific regions (Raselimanana et al. 2014).


The species authority is: Raselimanana, A.P., Raxworthy C.J., Andreone F., Glaw F., and Vences M. 2014. An enigmatic new Scaphiophryne toadlet 
from the rainforests of north-eastern Madagascar. Vertebrate Zoology 64(1): 95-102.

Based on external morphology, Scaphiophryne is typically divided into two major groups. One group is made up of the species that are similar to S. marmorata (S. marmorata, S. spinosa, S. boribory, S. menabensis S. madagascariensis, and S. gottlebei) which all live in rainforests in central and east Madagascar or forest remains in western Madagascar. They are distinguished by their large terminal disks on their fingers and the green features on their dorsal surfaces (except for S. madagascariensis). The second group, made up of S. calcarata and S. brevis, is typically only found in the dry regions or western Madagascar. Because Scaphiophryne matsoko is most similar in appearance to S. calcarata, yet has only been found in the humid environment of the north-eastern rainforests of Madagascar, it may be possible that S. matsoko is the first example of a third lineage of Scaphiophryne frogs that are only distantly related to other Scaphiophryne species (Raselimanana et al. 2014).

The species epithet is derived from the Malagasy word, "matsoko," which indicates something pointing forward and refers to the pointed nature of the Scaphiophryne matsoko's head (Raselimanana et al. 2014).


Raselimanana, A.P., Raxworthy C.J., Andreone F., Glaw F., and Vences M. (2014). ''An enigmatic new Scaphiophryne toadlet
from the rainforests of north-eastern Madagascar.'' Vertebrate Zoology, 64(1), 95-102.

Originally submitted by: Riley David Kermanian (first posted 2014-10-21)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2014-11-13)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2014 Scaphiophryne matsoko <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 13, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 13 Apr 2024.

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