IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

Comprehensive Description

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Breviceps bagginsi is a fossorial microhylid frog with a snout-vent range of 20.0 – 25.9 mm. The snout is highly truncated. The pupil of the eye is horizontally elliptic and the tympanic is indistinguishable. The limbs are short. The fourth finger is shorter than the third, reaching the undivided subarticular tubercles of the third finger. Inner and outer tubercles of the foot are divided by a deep gap. The outer fifth toe is extremely small, not even reaching the basal subarticular tubercale on the fourth toe. The vent is terminal. The skin of the dorsum has many large, scattered tubercles that each contains openings for 2-6 dermal glands. The tubercles are pigmented with small, dark speckles. The ventrum is smooth (Minter 2003).

Breviceps bagginsi is sympatric with B. verrucosus and possibly sympatric with B. mossambicus, B. adspersus, and B. sopranus, but can be differentiated from them by its call (see Life History Section). Breviceps bagginsi can be further differentiated from B. verrucosus by the former being smaller, having a less densely granular dorsum, and a having a smooth venturm. Breviceps adspersus is smaller than B. bagginsi and has a much shorter fourth finger. Breviceps bagginsi can be differentiated from B. mossambicus and B. sopranus by the two latter having approximately equal lengths third and fourth finger (Minter 2003).

In general, the dorsum of the body and limbs are medium to dark brown in color dotted with darker speckles. The dorsum is further marked with a lighter bar between the eyes, paravebral patches, and three dorsolateral patches. In life, the dorsum appears dark chocolate-brown with the patches being a lighter brown color. Breviceps bagginsi has broad strips on the head and neck region - black lines that run along the lower eye down to the base of the arm and a white stripe that runs from the middle of the lower eyelid to the corner of the mouth and long the lips. At the posterior gular patch the lip line becomes indistinct and mottled. The anterior gular patch is black. The sides of the body between fore and hind limbs are brown with white speckles. The pectoral and ventrum are a pure white (Minter 2003).

Dorsal color and markings are highly variable including variation in the distinctness of the interocular bar, a light line from heel to heel, variation in distinctness of paravertebral patches, variation in degree of fusion of dorsolateral patches, continuousness of the black bar that extends from the eye to the arm, and speckles present on the abdomen (Minter 2003).

Breviceps bagginsi species is named in honor J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit after the title character, Bilbo Baggins (Minter 2003).


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