Phrynobatrachus bequaerti

Phrynobatrachus bequaerti (Barbour and Loveridge, 1929)

Original Published Description:

Barbour, T., & Loveridge A. (1929).  A New Frog of the Genus Arthroleptis from the Belgian Congo. Proceedings of the New England Zoological Club. 11, 25-26.
 

Common Names

Vissoke River Frog (English)

Languages: English

Overview

Summary

Phrynobatrachus bequaerti is a small species (SVL > 25 mm) of puddle frog from montane regions of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, western Rwanda and north-western Burundi. Members of this genus are identified by the presence of a midtarsal tubercle, elongate inner metatarsal tubercle, and outer metatarsal tubercle. Phrynobatrachus bequaerti is characterized by a distinct tympanum, moderate pedal webbing, and tips of the fingers are toes that are slightly expanded.

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Distribution

This species occurs in the mountains of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo from Mount Ruwenzori south to the western side of Lake Kivu, western Rwanda and north-western Burundi. It is very likely to occur in Uganda, but there appear to be no confirmed records (Pickersgill and Drewes, 2004).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Etymology

This species was named for Dr. Joseph Charles Bequaert, who was an Entomolgist, Malacologist, and Botanist working as the Curator of Insects at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University at the time of the publication of this species description.

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Description

Diagnostic Description

Phrynobatrachus bequaerti is a small species (SVL > 25 mm)  characterized by a distinct tympanum, moderate pedal webbing, and tips of the fingers are toes that are slightly expanded.

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Size

The holotype measured 22 mm, and paratypes ranged from 12 to 25 mm with the largest in the series being females (Boulenger, 1929). Zimkus (unpublished) measured specimens from 17.1-22.2 mm in snout-vent length (N=7).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Morphology

Habit is moderate. Tongue is as broad as long or slightly longer than broad with a median conical papilla. Snout is rounded, projecting slightly beyond the mouth, and shorter than the diameter of the orbit. The nostril is equidistant from the orbit and snout top. The interorbital space is considerably broader than the upper eyelid. The tympanum is very distinct. Fingers are moderate with the digit I shorter than II, which is slightly shorter than III. Digit III is approximately twice the length of the first. Manual webbing is absent. Toes are moderate, approximately one-third webbed, except for toe IV which exhibits a narrow fringe, leaving 2 phalanges free of web. Zimkus (unpublished) examined speciments with 3-3.5 digits free of webbing on toe IV. Tips of the fingers are toes are slightly expanded. Subarticular tubercles are well developed. Small inner and outer metatarsal tubercles, as well as a tarsal tubercle, are present. The tarsal tubercle is as far from the inner metatarsal tubercles as the inner is from the outer. A slight skin fold is present from the tarsal tubercle to the inner metatarsal tubercle. The tibio-tarsal articulation reaches the nostril, eye, or somewhere in between when the hind limb is bent. Boulenger (1929) reports that the dorsal and ventral skin is smooth, but Grandison and Howell (1983) note that the dorsum male paratype in the British Museum exhibits minute spiny tubercles. De Witte (1941) also reports that prominent tubercles exist in a female, although they are less developed.

Dorsum is uniform brown with or without a vertebral stripe from snout to vent. Dorsum of limbs may be barred. Venter is white, mottled, and vermiculated with dusky brown on the throat and chest. The throat may exhibit some large spots or minute speckling as to appear dusky. The belly and thighs are immaculate. The edges of the lower jaw, as well as the soles of the hands and feet, are grey (Boulenger, 1929).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Ecology

Habitat and Ecology

It is a species of swamps and marshes in both montane forest and montane grassland. It occurs at very high altitudes, from at least 2,400m asl (perhaps lower) to over 3,000m asl. (Pickersgill and Drewes, 2004).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Population Biology

There is little recent information on the population status of this species, but it is apparently not uncommon in suitable habitat (Pickersgill and Drewes, 2004).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Trends

Populations of this species are presumably decreasing (Pickersgill and Drewes, 2004).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Life History

Reproduction

It presumably breeds in swamps. Large ovules (1.3 mm. in the holotype) were found in adult females (Barbour and Loveridge, 1929).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Evolution and Systematics

Phylogenetics

Sequence data is not currently available for this species.

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Conservation

IUCN Red List Category and Justification of Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List (2009) categorizes this species as Vulnerable because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and the quality and extent of its forest habitat in the Albertine Rift is declining (Pickersgill and Drewes, 2004).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Threats

It is probably affected by the mass movement and settlement of refugees, and the resultant increased demands for firewood and building materials (Pickersgill and Drewes, 2004).

   
Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Conservation Actions and Management

It occurs in the Virunga National Park within Democratic Republic of Congo and the Volcanoes National Park within Rwanda. However, the quality of habitat in these protected areas has declined due to the influx and settlement of refugees as a result of regional political instability (Pickersgill and Drewes, 2004).

Author(s): Zimkus, Breda
Rights holder(s): Zimkus, Breda

Taxonomy

  • Arthroleptis bequaerti Barbour and Loveridge, 1929 (synonym)
  • Pararthroleptis bequaerti — Deckert, 1938 (synonym)
  • Phrynobatrachus bequaerti — De Witte, 1941 (synonym)
  • Phrynobatrachus (Phrynobatrachus) bequaerti — Laurent, 1941 (synonym)

References

Barbour, T., & Loveridge A. (1929).  A New Frog of the Genus Arthroleptis from the Belgian Congo. Proceedings of the New England Zoological Club. 11, 25-26.
 
Pickersgill, M., & Drewes R. C. (2004).  Phrynobatrachus bequaerti. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>.
Zimkus, B. M., Rödel M-O., & Hillers A. (2010).  Complex patterns of speciation and diversity among African frogs (genus Phrynobatrachus). Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution. 55, 883-900.
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