Re: AW Amphibian Book: Frogs & Toads - Photos & Descriptions

Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:44 pm

Snoring Puddle Frog, Natal Dwarf Puddle Frog Phrynobatrachus natalensis (Snorkmodderpadda)
Family: Petropeditidae

Image © Flutterby
Kruger National Park, Lower Sabie

Description
Phrynobatrachus natalensis is a medium to large sized puddle frog (SVL < 40 mm) with variable dorsal coloration and patterns, but most often brown with a light vertebral stripe. Above often mottled with several wart-like elevations. Belly whitish. Horizontal pupils. Males have a vocal sac folded into creases on either side of the jaws. The tympanum is visible and larger than ½ the diameter of the eye. Toes are webbed for almost half their length. Finger tips lack disks or distinct swelling.

Distribution
This species ranges very widely in the savannah zone of Africa, from Senegal and Gambia, east to Ethiopia and Eritrea, south to Angola, northeastern Namibia, northern Botswana, Eastern Cape Province, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West Province of South Africa and Lesotho.

Taxonomic Notes
The variation in clutch size, tadpole morphology, size of the adult frog and period of activity, suggests that this taxon almost certainly consists of a number of cryptic species (Rödel 2000).

Habitat
Phrynobatrachus natalensis is typically associated with herbaceous vegetation along the margins of shallow marshes, lakes, rivers, streams and pools, both permanent and temporary. It inhabits a variety of vegetation types in the savanna and grassland biomes where summer rainfall is >500 mm, although some populations along the western edge of the species’ range are found in drier areas. The polymorphic colour pattern may be a means of protection against predators, and specific patterns have been correlated with particular habitats.
Breeding takes place in shallow to fairly deep water in temporary pans and pools, vleis, dams and even small, slow-flowing streams. Breeding sites usually have vegetation or other types of cover along their banks. It is tolerant of human disturbance and is often found near human habitation.

Diet
The Natal dwarf puddle frog feeds on a variety of invertebrates including beetles, termites, bugs, flies, cockroaches, grasshoppers, butterflies and spiders.

Reproduction
Breeding begins in spring after the first rains and continues to late summer. Males usually call from concealed sites and may be heard throughout the day and night in wet weather. Aggressive encounters between males are commonplace. Mating pairs swim while depositing the small eggs in a single-layered plate that floats at the surface. The eggs hatch about four days later. The tadpoles take about four to five weeks to develop to metamorphosis.

Call
A rapidly repeated nasal snoring once or twice per second.

Links: Vincent Carruthers: Frogs and Frogging in Southern Africa

Re: AW Amphibian Book: Frogs & Toads - Photos & Descriptions

Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:39 pm

Olive Toad, Eastern Olive Toad Amietophrynus garmani, Bufo garmani (Olyfskurwepadda)
Family: Bufonidae

Image © BluTuna
Balule camp. Kruger National Park

Diagnostic Description
A large toad with long, distinct parotid glands. The tympanum is visible. Toes are webbed only slightly at the base. The back is warty and light brown with paired, regular darker square patches. Some of the markings may have a reddish tinge. Occasionally there is a thin line down the spine. Patches behind the eyes are not fused into a bar as in the Raucous Toad. No patches on the snout. Wite below with granular skin. Male has a darl throat. Red colouring on the inner legs.
Similar species: A. garmani can be confused with A. maculatus, A. xeros and A. gutturalis. Juveniles of all members of this genus are difficult to distinguish. A. garmani lacks the light cross on the head or light band between the eyes that is typically seen in A. maculatus, and A. xeros. A. garmani also lacks dark markings on the snout in contrast to many other Amietophrynus species.

Image

Size
Up to 10 cm. Males usually measure 63-72 mm and females 55-74 mm in snout-vent length.

Distribution
A. garmani has a wide distribution in the eastern savannas of Africa, ranging from Somalia in the north to South Africa in the south. It occurs in northern KwaZulu-Natal and extends to the northwest through the lowveld of Swaziland, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, and westward along the Limpopo River valley.
Some confusion exists as to the western limit of the distribution of A. garmani, as it is difficult to distinguish this species from the morphologically similar A. poweri (Western Olive Toad). While the advertisement call of A. garmani has a relatively slower pulse rate and shorter duration than that of A. poweri, this can be determined only by sonagraphic analysis.

Image
Distribution records for these two species A. garmani and A. poweri have been combined and are presented here in a single map.

Habitat
This species inhabits various bushveld vegetation types in the Savanna Biome and seems to prefer well-wooded, low-lying areas with high daytime temperatures. During the day, individuals may be found under fallen logs, rocks and mats of vegetation, or beneath any object that provides shelter around houses. In northern Kruger National Park, specimens have been found in abandoned termitaria.
Breeding usually occurs in small, shallow, temporary water bodies, but occasionally the quiet backwaters of rivers and pools along small, slow-flowing streams are used. They also breed in artificial water bodies such as farm dams and ornamental ponds around homesteads. In the urban environment, A. garmani is less common than A. gutturalis.

Diet
Their prey includes beetles, termites, moths, insect larvae and other small invertebrates. After rain, when alate termites emerge, these toads congregate around the openings of termitaria where they gorge themselves on alates.

Predators
The eggs of are eaten by the Serrated Hinged Terrapin Pelusios sinuatus, Müller’s Platanna Xenopus muelleri, and by their own tadpoles, while the adult frogs are taken by young crocodiles. Other predators include various small carnivores, snakes and birds.

Reproduction
Most breeding takes place during spring and summer, continuing into January and occasionally February. Breeding commences after the first substantial spring rains, or earlier if artificial water bodies such as garden ponds are available.
Males call from the edges of water bodies, often forming small choruses. They exhibit call-site fidelity, returning to the same site even when removed and released a considerable distance away. Amplexus is axillary, and displacement of amplexing males is frequent, with 'knots' of several males and a single female forming at times. Eggs are laid in double strands containing up to 12 000–20 000 eggs. The eggs hatch within 24 hours; metamorphosis takes place after 64 days. Tadpoles assume a lighter or darker colouring to match the substrate.

Call
A loud bray of about a third of a second, emitted once a second. The call is described as a loud kwaak.

Status
IUCN (Red List) status: Least Concern (LC).

Links: FrogMAP Species text; AFRICAN AMPHIBIANS LIFEDESK; Vincent Carruthers: Frogs and Frogging in Southern Africa