IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Comprehensive Description

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A small ranid with a moderately pointed snout. Adult males measure 25–32 mm (SVL), females 25.5–36 mm. Four pairs of symmetrically arranged longitudinal ridges on the back. The third pair, counted from the vertebra, covers just half of the back length, whereas the rest stretch from the eye to the end of the body. All these ridges are continuous. On the flanks, some warts form a short ridge. A short supratympanal fold is present. The tympanum is clearly visible, reaching 0.7–0.9 of the eye diameter and appearing slightly concave. Males with paired lateral vocal sacs, enlarged thenar tubercles and swollen first fingers. The end of the slits of the vocal sacs are situated beneath the armpit. Sturdy, moderately long hind limbs. The thighs and shanks reach 0.4–0.6 of the SVL, and the foot, incl. the longest toe, 0.7–0.8 of the SVL. The inner metatarsal tubercle reaches 0.3-0.5 of the length of the shortest toe. Webbing formula of the hind limbs: 1 (0.5) or (0), 2 i/e (1–0.5) or (1–0), 3 i/e (1–0.5) or (1–0), 4 i/e (1), 5 (0,5) or (0). Toe-tips and finger-tips not enlarged.
Lamotte (1967a) gives up to 36 mm (SVL) for males and up to 40 mm for females. Poynton (1964a) even gives 41 mm for females. Passmore & Carruthers (1995) figure a specimen with three free phalanges on the fourth toe.
Voucher specimens: SMNS 8950 1–7; SMF 78633 + numerous specimens without number.
Coloration: Besides animals showing a dark brown basic color, against which other markings hardly contrast, there are also frogs with clear green basic color and any kind of transitional coloration. A fine line or a broad vertebral band, lined by two ridges, often runs along the vertebra. Both the line and the band may be yellow to red. Most animals bear a dark orange line. On green frogs, the vertebral band, the lateral ridges and the upper arms are often colored red orange. The respective animals were exclusively breeding males. The six median dorsal ridges bear numerous dark patches which may equally expand to the areas between the ridges. The lateral ridges are paler or even white. These light markings partially continue across the part of the iris situated above the pupil, ending at the nostril. A pale patch which forms an extension of the above-mentioned markings adorns the groin and the inner border of the thigh. The posterior part of the outer face of the thigh shows a continuous, partially undulating yellow line with broad dark brown borders. The basic color of the extremities, snout and temple is similar to that of the back. Several dark olive to black transverse bands are present on the extremities. The upper arm is usually paler and lacks bands. The upper lip is either white or dark. Hands and flanks are dirty gray. Dark spots may be present on the flanks. The line on the flank composed of numerous warts is black or at least bordered black. Single males have some black spots near the slits of their vocal sacs. The webs are usually dark, with only very few individuals lacking this coloration. According to Passmore & Carruthers (1995), 2–3 parallel pale lines adorn the outer parts of the thighs. In alcohol the markings generally turn somewhat less conspicuous, but they are still discernible. Yellow parts turn white, and the other colors are replaced by various shades of brown.
Voice: I have recorded two different calls uttered by P. pumilio. The first is a simple creaking sound uttered exclusively by solitary animals. It lasts 0.17–0.19 sec, the dominant frequency ranging from 2.6 to 4.8 kHz. Like the second call, it comprises numerous short pulses which might initially be produced at shorter intervals (0.02 sec) than later on. The second call, a dry rattling sound, is supposed to be the real advertisement call which usually can be heard where many males have formed a chorus. It may develop from the former call and consists of two different elements which are repeated alternately. The shorter one lasts 0.26 sec, frequency: 3.6–4.3 kHz, and the second lasts 0.29 sec, frequency: 2.2–4.6 kHz. The pauses between these call elements last about 0.1 sec.
The call published by Amiet (1974b) lasts approx. 0.3 sec, its dominant frequency being 2 kHz. Passmore & Carruthers (1995) figures a call lasting approx. 0.2 sec at a frequency of 0.8–3.8 kHz. A short creaking sound which may turn into a very intensive call has been described by Passmore (1977) for Ptychadena oxyrhynchus. This author supposes that this call is meant to "check" the presence of other males and to "assign" calling sites to those males who arrive later.

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


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