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This viviparous toad has a restricted range in the Mount Nimba region of Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, and Liberia. Two subspecies have been denoted, one from Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire and one from Liberia: N. occidentalis occidentalis is generally smaller in body size (females average 20.5 mm SVL, males average 18.0 mm) compared to N. occidentalis liberiensis (females average 28.7 mm SVL, males average 22.4 mm). Females of N. occidentalis liberiensis have significantly longer feet than females of N. occidentalis occidentalis, even when corrected for differing body size (Sandberger et al. 2010).

Most individuals have brown to black dorsal surfaces and white venters without distinct borders between the dark and light areas. N. occidentalis liberiensis sometimes has brown dots on the venter, while N. occidentalis occidentalis has a uniform venter. The dorsum may be uniform or may show an irregular mixture of lighter and darker browns. The snout and eyelids are lighter in color. Legs are light brown with irregularly bordered dark stripes or dots (Sandberger et al. 2010).

Juveniles have a brighter, golden-brownish dorsum that may have blackish spots or figures. Juveniles also have a black lateral line, bordered by white, that runs from the tip of the snout through the eye and on into the groin area. In juveniles, legs are yellow to brown with white stripes. As the toads mature, the dorsum and legs become darker and the contrast between colors fades (Sandberger et al. 2010).

Species authority: Angel (1943).

Nimbaphrynoides liberiensis, originally described by Xavier (1978), is now considered a subspecies of N. occidentalis (Sandberger et al. 2010). Size and color differences were noted between the two subspecies but genetically and acoustically the subspecies cannot be distinguished (Sandberger et al. 2010). The greatest genetic differences between the two taxa, found in the cyt b gene, were about 2% (Sandberger et al. 2010). Captive breeding experiments showed that N. occidentalis liberiensis males and females had an 80% successful live birth rate, while heterogeneous pairings of N. occidentalis liberiensis males and N. occidentalis occidentalis females were not viable (only 1 of 16 pairings produced a pregnant female, and those offspring were born dead) (Xavier 1978); the reverse combination of Liberian females and Guinean males was apparently not attempted (Sandberger et al. 2010).


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