Overview

Comprehensive Description

Summary

Ptychadena tellinii is a medium size anuran that exhibits a dorsum that is nearly a uniform red-brown to red. More rarely, a vaguely defined dark mark may be present in the center of the back, manifesting more clearly in breeding males. The red back is distinctly separated from the belly by a dark band. There is a moderate sexual dimorphism with respect to size, with females being slightly larger than males. This anuran occurs in sub-Saharan savanna areas of Northern Africa with chief range from Ghana to the Central African Republic. Spawning usually occurs in very shallow waters near pond and shoreline edges.

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Description

A medium-sized, somewhat stunted ranid with long hind legs. Adult males measure 30-39 mm (SVL), females 36-47 mm. Several rows of vaguely defined dorsal ridges, two of which stretch from the eyes to the center of the back where they gradually fade; two further ridges emerge anterior to the center of the back, stretching backward towards the vent, which they hardly ever touch. Besides, two pairs of very short ridges are usually located further outward. The tympanum is clearly visible and reaches 0.5-0.8 (usually 0.7) of the eye diameter. Males have paired lateral vocal sacs, enlarged thenar tubercles and swollen first fingers. Finger-tips and toe-tips not expanded. The inner metatarsal tubercle almost reaches the shortest toe length (0.5-0.8, most often 0.7). The outer metatarsal tubercle is well-defined. The thighs reach 0.5-0.6 of the SVL, the shank length is 0.55-0.69 of the SVL. The feet. incl. longest toe, usually reaches more than 0.75 (0.68-0.85) of the SVL. The webbing formula is 1 (0), 2i (1) or (0.5), 3 i/e (1-0) or (1-0.5), 4 i (1), 5 (0).
Voucher specimens: SMNS 8952 1-7 + tadpoles; SMF 78624.
Coloration: Dorsum almost uniform red brown to red. Very rarely, a vaguely defined dark marking may be present in the center of the back. It appears more distinct on breeding males. The red back is sharply separated from the belly by a dark band. This band sometimes reaches the dimensions of the lateral line in P. longirostris. Several dark patches of different size are often present on the caudad sections of the flanks. The dark bars on the hind legs are often indistinct. Snout and tympanum region are dark to deep black laterally. The temporal triangle stretches to the base of the arm. Some animals have paler upper lips. The upper part of the iris is silver or golden, the rest is dark. The anterior part of the thigh is dark bordered, at least in its proximad section. The posterior part is mottled in yellow and black. On some animals, the yellow patches of the pattern form one or two longitudinal rows. The venter is white to gray. The border of the lower jaw may be black. The anterior parts of the male’s vocal sacs are black, the rest is pale beige. The webs are pigmented dark. In alcohol the red live coloration either turns even more intense, or the animal appears altogether gray.
Voice: The croaking advertisement call consists of two harmonies reaching from 1.55-2.61 and 3.34-4.9 kHz, respectively. A single note lasts 0.05-0.08 sec, being composed of two to four pulses, each lasting 0.01-0.02 sec, and separated by pauses of the same length. The intervals between the notes last about 0.05-0.11 sec. Similar calls have been published by Schiøtz (1964c, as sp.1) and Amiet (1974b, as P. huguettae). The latter describes the call as a quick "kik kik kik".

This account was taken from Rödel, M.-O. (2000), Herpetofauna of West Africa vol. I. Amphibians of the West African Savanna, with kind permission from Edition Chimaira publishers, Frankfurt am Main.
For references in the text, see here

  • Rödel, M. O. (2000). Herpetofauna of West Africa, Vol. I. Amphibians of the West African Savanna. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, Germany.
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Distribution

P. tellinii occurs in savanna regions of the Sahel from Sierra Leone to Chad, the Central African Republic and northern R.D. Congo. Observation records have been established for: Sierra Leone, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, R.D. Congo, Central African Republic, Eritrea and Ethiopia (Rödel, 2000) Extensive habitat for P. tellinii is found specifically in the West Sudanian savanna, notably within the vast Niger River Basin (Hogan, 2013).

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Range Description

This species ranges from western Eritrea, western Ethiopia and northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, west in the savannah zone to southern Mali and Sierra Leone. There do not appear to be records from Guinea, Chad, South Sudan and Sudan, but it presumably occurs in these countries and they are included in the species' distribution on the map.
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Distribution and Habitat

Range: Before the publication of Perret (1979b, 1981), this frog was presumably often referred to under other names. It is therefore difficult to describe its range on the basis of the data published in older literature. Frost (1985) simply quotes savanna regions from Sierra Leone to Chad, the Central African Republic and northern R.D. Congo. Reliable records have been published for the following countries: Sierra Leone, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, R.D. Congo, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia (Schiøtz 1964a, b, c, Inger 1968, Walker 1968, Amiet 1973a, 1974a, Joger 1981, 1990, Barbault 1984, Schätti 1986, Hughes 1988, Böhme et al. 1996, Rödel 1996, 1998b, Joger & Lambert 1997, Largen 1997a, 1998). The records from Senegal quoted by Mertens (1938a) possibly refer to this species, too. However, the synonyms he gives, Rana guerzea and R. leonensis, are actually synonyms of P. longirostris (Perret 1981). The species Ptychadena sp. from northern Cameroon, compared with Phrynobatrachus plicatus by Amiet (1973a), possibly also belongs to P. schubotzi.
Habitats: Both river banks and savanna habitats are colonized. In Ghana, P. schubotzi inhabits any part of the country, except the rainforest belt (Hughes 1988). In literature, savannas are quoted as habitats (Schiøtz 1964c, Perret 1981, Böhme et al. 1996), including both humid Guinea (Walker 1968, Barbault 1984) and dry Sudan savannas (Amiet 1974b). Lamotte & Xavier (1981) exclusively quote humid savannas when gallery forests are present. Joger (1981) reports on a "misted" slope and on overgrown brook banks in a hilly landscape.

  • Rödel, M. O. (2000). Herpetofauna of West Africa, Vol. I. Amphibians of the West African Savanna. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, Germany.
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Physical Description

Morphology

The dorsum of P. tellinii is nearly a uniform red-brown to red. More rarely, a vaguely defined dark marking may be exhibited in the center of the back, manifesting more distinctly in breeding males. The red back is delineated from the belly by a dark band. Several dark patches of different sizes are frequently present on the caudad sections of the flanks. The dark bars on the hind legs are often indistinct. Snout and tympanum region are dark to deep black laterally. The temporal triangle stretches to the base of the arm. Some animals have paler upper lips. The upper part of the iris is silver or golden, the rest is dark. The anterior part of the thigh is dark bordered, at least in its proximal section. The posterior part is mottled in yellow and black. On some individuals, the yellow patches of the pattern form one or two longitudinal rows. The venter is white to gray, and the border of the lower jaw may be black. The anterior parts of the male’s vocal sacs are black, the rest being pale beige. The webbing is pigmented darkly (Rödel, 2000).

There are several rows of vaguely defined dorsal ridges, two of which stretch from the eyes to the center of the back where they gradually fade; two further ridges emerge anterior to the center of the back, stretching backward towards the vent, which they rarely touch. Two pairs of abbreviated ridges are typically located further outward. The tympanum is clearly visible and reaches 0.5–0.8 (usually 0.7) of the eye diameter. Males have paired lateral vocal sacs, enlarged thenar tubercles and swollen first fingers. Fingertips and toetips are not expanded. The inner metatarsal tubercle almost reaches the shortest toe length (0.5–0.8, most often 0.7). The outer metatarsal tubercle is well-defined. The thighs reach 0.5–0.6 of the SVL, the shank length is 0.55–0.69 of the SVL. The feet, including the longest toe, usually reaches more than 0.75 (0.68–0.85) of the SVL. The webbing formula is 1 (0), 2i (1) or (0.5), 3 i/e (1–0) or (1–0.5), 4 i (1), 5 (0) (Rödel, 2000).

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

P. tellinii inhabits in a gamut of habitat types including humid and dry savannas, gallery forest, agricultural land, and even small villages. It can be found in and around rivers and temporary pools, and breeds in stagnant, temporary waters, generally near the shoreline (Rödel, 2000; Hogan, 2013).

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is a species that lives in a wide variety of habitats including humid and dry savannas, gallery forest, agricultural land, and villages. It can be found in and around rivers and temporary pools, and breeds in stagnant, temporary waters.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Advertisement Call

The croaking advertisement call consists of two harmonies within two frequency bands from 1.55–2.61 and 3.34–4.9 kilohertz, respectively. A single note endures for 0.05 to 0.08 seconds, being comprised of two to four pulses, each lasting for 0.01 to 0.02 seconds, and separated by pauses of the same length. The interval between the notes lasts approximately 0.05 to 0.11 seconds (Rödel, 2000).

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A single deposited egg layer floats at the water surface. The spawn is usually laid down in shallow water near the shoreline or pond edge. The brownish embryo is enveloped by a viscous cloudy to sand-coloured yellow jelly. Including the enveloping jelly, egg diameter ranges from 2.7 to 3.2 millimetres (mm), the egg itself measuring one mm in diameter. Each female can produce 500 to 1000 eggs in a mating season, deposited in batches of 50 to 100 eggs. It is thought that the spawn may be spatially segregated as a method of risk minimization from a catastrophic event occurring to a single floating clutch. In any case, the larvae then hatch within one day of spawn (Rödel, 2000).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group

Reviewer/s
Stuart, S.N.

Contributor/s
Largen, M.J. & Rödel , M.-O.

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its very wide distribution, its tolerance of a broad range of habitats and its presumed large population.

History
  • 2009
    Least Concern
  • 2004
    Least Concern
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Population

Population
It is a very common species.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Spawn: The single egg layer floats at the surface of the water. The brown embryo is surrounded by a viscous cloudy to sand yellow jelly. Including the latter, the egg diameter varies from 2.7 to 3.2 mm, the egg itself measures 1 mm in diameter. A single female produces 500 to 1000 eggs, forming batches of 50-100 eggs (compare the remarks in the P. pumilio and P. bibroni accounts). The larvae hatch within one day. According to Barbault (1984), females from Lamto produce 2011 ± 851 eggs that measure 1.3 mm in diameter (N = 4).
Tadpoles: The tadpoles are somewhat plumper than those of P. maccarthyensis and have the typical oval shape of all Ptychadena tadpoles. They are almost invariably beige, showing only a few dark spots. Green tadpoles are very rare. The green color may disappear within a few minutes. Unlike that of most other Ptychadena tadpoles, their high tail fins are usually black. The color is either restricted to some patches near the tip, or it covers the entire tail. However, there are also tadpoles with transparent fins.
While the form of the body seems to be almost invariable, two variants with completely different tail lengths are known to exist. Whereas the tail of the plumper morph is just a bit longer than the body, the tail of the second one nearly reaches two times the SVL. In both cases, the dorsal part of the tail fin, which is considerably broader than the ventral one, inserts at the level of the spiracle. The delicacy of the tail fin is also similar on both morphs. It is extremely fragile and will break off at the slightest touch.
Several keratodont formulae are known to exist in both morphs: 1 // 1+1 / 1; 1 // 2 and 1 // 2+2. The horny beaks are serrated and moderately massive. The oral disc is usually surrounded by single lateral and caudal rows of papillae. The caudal papillae may be arranged in two rows. The ends of the short horny teeth form a "shovel" with numerous tips. The surfaces of the caudad papillae often bear horny structures, too.
The tadpoles hatch within a day, bearing exterior gills and measuring about 4.2-6.0 mm (BL: 1.4-2.0 mm). In the aquarium, the gills were still present when the horny beaks began to develop 54 hours later (TL: 7 mm). Another 19 hours later, rudimentary gills and the first horny teeth were present, but complete oral discs were observed not before six days later. The longest larvae without hind legs measured up to 40 mm (TL). Hind legs are developed at a BL of 12-16 mm (TL: 25-47 mm). The forelegs also emerge at this length. Because of the fragile tail fin, the true TL is often difficult to estimate. Tadpoles reared in captivity metamorphosed after six weeks, and the young frogs measured 12-15 mm. In the wild, their development was considerable faster (see below).
Biology: In the dry season, P. schubotzi is found both under stones near rivers and in dry savanna pools where it seeks refuge in crevices and under rotten wood. Gallery forests are never used as breeding sites. They are just crossed when the frogs move to the savanna, with the onset of the rains. As soon as the savanna ponds are filled with water, considerable choruses start to establish on the pond’s edges. Calling males either hide under vegetation, or they call from exposed sites on bare soil.
The spawn is usually deposited in shallow water near the banks, but it floats occasionally to other sections of the pond. Like P. bibroni, P. schubotzi apparently prefers larger ponds. As the rainy season advances, however, both choruses and clutches are as often found in smaller and even tiny waters. As the number of egg batches found in small pools rarely corresponds with the number which may be produced by a single female, it is possible that they are deposited at several adjacent waters for risk spreading (see also P. bibroni). Amiet (1973b) observed calling males at dry, vegetationless sites. In northern Cameroon, they begin to call with the first rainfall. There, their breeding period lasts longer than those of other species inhabiting the arid savannas.
The tadpoles most often inhabit shallow water zones near the banks, swimming usually close to the bottom, both in heavily vegetated and in vegetationless parts of the pond. Freshly metamorphosed frogs are sometimes found already three weeks after the beginning of the rainy season.

  • Rödel, M. O. (2000). Herpetofauna of West Africa, Vol. I. Amphibians of the West African Savanna. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, Germany.
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Threats

Major Threats
It is an adaptable species that is not facing any significant threats, except in localized situations.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It occurs in many protected areas.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

In Burkino Faso, P. tellinii i is one of many frog species that are traded or consumed as a source of animal protein. Frogs are an integral part of the economy in areas with large frog populations because villagers are employed to catch and prepare frogs, and they are an "important international trading item." Aside from their value as an essential food source, they may also be used for cultural reasons and as traditional medicine in areas where Western medicine is not available (Mohneke, 2010).

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Wikipedia

Ptychadena tellinii

Ptychadena tellinii is a species of frog in the Ptychadenidae family. It is found in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, possibly Benin, possibly Chad, possibly Guinea, possibly Liberia, and possibly Sudan.

Habitat[edit]

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, subtropical or tropical moist shrubland, subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland, rivers, intermittent freshwater marshes, arable land, rural gardens, and ponds. It is threatened by habitat loss.

References[edit]


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