Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

A new species of Phrynobatrachus (Anura: Phrynobatrachidae) from the Eastern Arc Mountians of Tanzania



Phrynobatrachus discogularis sp. nov. (Anura, Phrynobatrachidae) is described from the Eastern Arc Mountains in Tanzania. It occupies upland grasslands and while it morphologically most resembles West and Central African P. gutturosus (Chabanaud, 1921), P. rungwensis (Loveridge, 1932), and P. anotis Schmidt and Inger, 1959, preliminary analysis of mitochondrial 16S rRNA indicates that the new species differs from all other species with published sequence data by a minimum distance of 4.1% and has affinities with P. rungwensis, P. uzungwensis Grandison and Howell, 1983 and P. keniensis Barbour and Loveridge, 1928—all diminutive upland eastern African taxa. The shape and colour of the male’s external gular apparatus distinguish this species from all other described Phrynobatrachus species. Although geographically either sympatric or closely allopatric with P. uzungwensis, the lack of overlapping morphological characters indicates the two forms are distinct species. The new taxon is compared with other species from the region.



Amphibia, frog, Phrynobatrachus, highland, gular disc, Udzungwa, grassland

Full Text:



Ahl, E. (1924) Neue afrikanische Frösche. Zoölogischer Anzeiger, 61, 99–103.

Ahl, E. (1924) Neue Reptilien und Batrachier aus dem zoologischen Museum. In: Archiv für Naturgeschichte, Abteilung A, 90, pp. 246–254.

Ahl, E. (1925) Ueber neue afrikanische Frösche der Familie Ranidae. Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin, 1923, 96–106.

Angel, F. (1924) Description de deux batraciens nouveau d’Afrique Orientale anglaise,appartenant au genre Phrynobatrachus (Mission Alluaud et Jeannel, 1911–1912). Bulletin du Muséum National d’histoire Naturelle, Paris, 30, 130–132.

Barbour, T. & Loveridge, A. (1928) New frogs of the genus Phrynobatrachus from the Congo and Kenya Colony. In: Proceedings of the New England Zoölogical Club, 10, pp. 87–90.

Boulenger, G.A. (1895) An account of the reptiles and batrachians collected by Dr. A. Donaldson Smith in western Somali-land and the Galla Country. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1895, 530–540.

Boulenger, G.A. (1898) Fourth report on additions to the batrachian collection in the Natural-History Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1898, 473–482.

Boulenger, G.A. (1905) A list of the batrachians and reptiles collected by Dr. W. J. Ansorge in Angola, with descriptions of new species. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 7, 16, 105–115.

Boulenger, G.A. (1906) Descriptions of new batrachians discovered by Mr. G.L. Bates in South Cameroon. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 7, 17, 317–323.

Boulenger, G.A. (1909) Descriptions of three new frogs discovered by Dr. P. Krefft in Usambara, German East Africa. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 8, 4, 496–497.

Boulenger, G.A. (1912) Descriptions of new African batrachians preserved in the British Museum. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 8, 10, 140–142.

Chabanaud, P. (1921) Contribution a l'etude de la faune herpetologique de l'Afrique Occidentale: deuxieme note. Bulletin du Comite d’Études Historiques et Scientifiques de l’Afrique Occidentale Française, 1921, 445–472.

Cope, E.D. (1867) On the families of the raniform Anura. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Series 2, 6, 189–206.

Crowe, T.M. (1990) “A quantitative analysis of patterns of distribution, species richness and endemism in southern African vertebrates” In: Peters, G. & Hutterer, R. (Eds.), Vertebrates in the tropics. Museum Alexander Koenig, Bonn, pp. 85–102.

Crutsinger, G.M., Pickersgill, M., Channing, A. & Moyer, D.C. (2004) A new species of Phrynobatrachus (Anura: Ranidae) from Tanzania. African Zoology, 39, 19–23.

Darst, C.R. & Cannatella, D.C. (2004) Novel relationships among hyloid frogs inferred from 12S and 16S mitochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution, 31, 462–475.

FitzSimons, V. (1932) Preliminary descriptions of new forms of South African Reptilia and Amphibia, from the Vernay-Lang Kalahari Expedition, 1930. Annals of the Transvaal Museum, 15, 35–40.

FitzSimons, V. (1948) Descriptions of two new frogs from Natal and a gecko from Astove Island. Royal Society of South Africa, Robert Broom Commemorative Volume, 235–242.

Frost, D. R. (2016) Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0 (7 January 2017). American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Electronic Database. Available from: (accessed 30 August 2017)

Grandison, A.G.C. & Howell, K.M. (1983) A new forest species of Phrynobatrachus (Anura: Ranidae) from Morogoro Region, Tanzania. Amphibia-Reptilia, 4, 117–124.

Günther, A. (1862) Descriptions of new species of reptiles and fishes in the collection of the British Museum. Proceeding of the Zoological Society, London, 1862, 188–194.

Hall, B.P. & Moreau, R.E. (1970) An atlas of speciation in African passerine birds. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History), London, 423 pp.

Hoffman, A.C. (1940) Three new species of frog from Greytown, Natal. Soölogiese Navorsing van die Nasionale Museum. Bloemfontein, 1, 97–101.

Hoffman, A.C. (1944) Frogs from Chitiala, Nyasaland, together with descriptions of new species. Soölogiese Navorsing van die Nasionale Museum. Bloemfontein, 1, 173–182.

Largen, M.J. (2001) The status of the genus Phrynobatrachus Gunther 1862 in Ethiopia and Eritrea, including description of a new species (Amphibia Anura Ranidae). Tropical Zoology, 14, 287–306.

Lawson, L.P. (2010) The discordance of diversification: evolution in the tropical-montane frogs of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. Molecular Ecology, 19, 4046–4060.

Lawson, L.P., Bates, J.M., Menegon, M. & Loader, S.P. (2015) Divergence at the edges: peripatric isolation in the montane spiny throated reed frog complex. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 15, 128.

Loveridge, A. (1932) New reptiles and amphibians from Tanganyika Territory and Kenya Colony. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 72, 375–387.

Loveridge, A. (1933a) Reports on the scientific results of an expedition to the southwestern highlands of Tanganyika Territory VII Herpetology. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 74, 346–416.

Loveridge, A. (1933b) Reports on the scientific results of an expedition to the southwestern highlands of Tanganyika Territory I Introduction and zoogeography. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 75, 1–43.

Loveridge, A. (1941) New geckos (Phelsuma & Lygodactylus), snake (Leptotyphlops) and frog (Phrynobatrachus) from Pemba Island, East Africa. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 54, 175–178.

Nieden, F. (1910) Neue Reptilien und Amphibien aus Kamerun. Archiv für Naturgeschichte, Berlin, 76, 234–246.

Nieden, F. (1911) Neue ostafrikanische Frösche aus dem Kgl. Zool. Museum in Berlin. Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin, 1910, 436–441.

Nieden, F. (1912) Amphibia. In: Mecklenburg, A.F.H. zu (Ed.), Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Deutschen Zentral-Africa-Expedition. 1907–1908. Vol. 4. Klinkhardt & Piermann, Leipzig, pp. 165–196. [1911]

Palumbi, S.R. (1996) Nucleic Acids II: The polymerase chain reaction. In: Hillis, D.M., Moritz, C. & Mable, B.K. (Ed.), Molecular Systematics. 2nd Edition. Sinauer, Sunderland, Massachusetts, pp. 205–247.

Pickersgill, M. (2007) Frog Search. Results of expeditions to Southern and Eastern Africa. Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main, 574 pp.

Poynton, J.C. (1990) “Composition and subtraction patterns of the East African lowland fauna” In: Peters, G. & Hutterer, R. (Eds.), Vertebrates in the tropics. Alexander Koenig Research Institute and Zoological Museum, Bonn, pp. 285–296.

Poynton, J.C. & Broadley, D.G. (1985) Amphibia Zambesiaca 2. Ranidae. Annals of the Natal Museum, 27, 115–181.

Rodriguez, A., Börner, M., Pabijan, M, Gehara, M., Haddad, C.F.B. & Vences, M. (2015) Genetic divergence in tropical anurans: deeper phylogeographic structure in forest specialists and in topographically complex regions. Evolutionary Ecology, 29, 765–785.

Schick, S., Zimkus, B.M., Channing, A., Köhler, J. & Lötters, S. (2010) Systematics of ‘Little Brown Frogs’ from East Africa: recognition of Phrynobatrachus scheffleri and description of a new species from the Kakamega Forest, Kenya (Amphibia: Phrynobatrachidae). Salamandra, 46, 24–36.

Schmidt, K.P. & Inger, R.F. (1959) “Amphibians exclusive of the genera Hyperolius and AfrixalusIn: Exploration du Parc National de l’Upemba. Fascicule 56. Mission G.F. de Witte, Bruxelles, pp. 1–264.

Smith, A. (1849) Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa; Consisting Chiefly of Figures and Descriptions of the Objects of Natural History Collected during an Expedition into the Interior of South Africa, in the Years 1834, 1835, and 1836 .... Vol. III. Reptilia. Appendix. Smith, Elder & Co., London, 22 pp. [pp. 54–75]

Vences, M., Thomas, M., van der Meijden, A., Chiari, Y. & Vieites, D.R. (2005) Comparative performance of the 16S rRNA gene in DNA barcoding of amphibians. Frontiers in Zoology, 2, 1–12.

Vieites, D.R., Wollenberg, K.C., Andreone, F., Köhler, J., Glaw, F. & Vences, M. (2009) Vast underestimation of Madagascar's biodiversity evidenced by an integrative amphibian inventory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106, 8267–8272.

Zimkus, B.M. & Blackburn, D.C. (2008) Distinguishing features of the sub-Saharan frog genera Arthroleptis and Phrynobatrachus: a short guide for field and museum-based researchers. Breviora, 513, 1–12.[1:DFOTSF]2.0.CO;2

Zimkus, B.M. & Gvoždík, V. (2013) Sky islands of the Cameroon Volcanic Line: a diversification hot spot for puddle frogs (Phrynobatrachidae: Phrynobatrachus). Zoologica Scripta, 42, 591–611.

Zimkus, B.M., Rödel, M.-O. & Hillers, A. (2010) Complex patterns of continental speciation: molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of sub-Saharan puddle frogs (Phrynobatrachus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 55, 883–900.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand