IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Comprehensive Description

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Typical body shape of a pipid frog; tentacle below the eye that is 0.5 times the length of the eye diameter; foot with four horny claws. A small clawed frog with small protruding eyes located almost on the top of the head. Body flattened. SVL of mature specimens 28-40 mm. A small tentacle below the eye barely reaches 0.3 to 0.5 times the lenght of the eye diameter. No visible tympanum. The skin is finely granular. Starting at the posterior border of the eye, a double line of elongate, vaguely alternating and unpigmented dermal tubercles stretch along the flanks,that are though to be lateral line sense organs; sensual tubercles according to Vigny (1977). The outer line comprises 18 - 20 tubercles arranged at right angles to the body axis, whereas the 15-16 inner tubercles run parallel to this. 3-4 additional tubercles are situated in the neck region, and the inferior border of the lower jaw also bears 9-11 tubercles. Numerous unpigmented wart-like dermal elevations are scattered across the jaw and the dorsum. They are also present on the digits which are not broadened at all, so that the skin appears scaly. On breeding males, the outer parts of the fingers are blackish. The dermal lobes situated above the vent are better developed in females. The hind limbs are fully webbed. They have 3-5 toes with black horny claws. The inner metatarsal tubercle has been transformed into a fourth claw.

The SVL is 45 mm according to Arnold & Lamotte (1968), whereas Fischberg et al. (1982) indicate 32-39 mm for adult males (x = 36 mm) and 48-55 mm for adult females (x = 50 mm). According to the latter authors, 3-7 (x= 4.5) sensory tubercles are arranged around the eyes. Noble (1924) report on a 56 mm long specimen, but his specimens were composite, including X. fraseri. Frétey & Dewynter (1998) cite a 42mm specimen from Gabon (but compare "range").

Dorsal parts of body and limbs light to dark brown with numerous fine gray and black spots which never form larger spots. The iris is yellowish. Venter whitish to yellowish, vaguely mottled with black. Some specimens have scattered black dots on the white belly, which become more numerous on the hind limbs. Arnoult & Lamotte (1968) report on beige ventral surfaces bearing brown spots, and Böhme (1994c) figures a specimen whose belly is vaguely spotted. Perret (1966) mentions frogs from Cameroon bearing yellow vertebral stripes on their neck regions. However, it is rather doubtful whether these animals are really X. tropicalis. Loveridge (1955a) reports on a cream-pink female whose belly showed irregular mottling. Coloration in alcohol corresponds largely to live coloration. In most cases, neither the black dots of the dorsum nor the mottled pattern of the venter remain visible in alcohol, and animals generally become beige-gray to brown, the belly and the ventral parts of the limbs become white. One female turned totally black, and the black claws of another specimen turned white.

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.


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