Petropedetes palmipes Boulenger, 1905,

Barej, Michael F., Rödel, Mark-Oliver, Gonwouo, Legrand Nono, Pauwels, Olivier S. G., Böhme, Wolfgang & Schmitz, Andreas, 2010, Review of the genus Petropedetes Reichenow, 1874 in Central Africa with the description of three new species (Amphibia: Anura: Petropedetidae), Zootaxa 2340, pp. 1-49: 39-41

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Petropedetes palmipes Boulenger, 1905


Petropedetes palmipes Boulenger, 1905 

Figs. 3View FIGURE 3 d, 4, 8d, 9 d, 16

Petropedetes palmipes Boulenger, 1905  , Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Ser. 7, 15: 282

Material examined. IRSNB-KBIN 13.840 (male), Gabon, Estuaire Province, Kango Department, 15 km north of Alen-Nkoma, right of route L107, 2004, coll. O.S.G. Pauwels; IRSNB-KBIN 14.936 (female), 14.937-14.939 (3 males), Gabon, Kinguélé, app. 80 m a.s.l., VI. 2001, coll. O.S.G. Pauwels; IRSNB-KBIN 14.940 (male), Gabon, Province du Woleu-Ntem, Song, app. 360 m a.s.l., 25.VI. 2001, coll. O.S.G. Pauwels; MHNG 961.68 (male), Cameroon, Mbikiliki, 18.I. 1956, coll. J.-L. Perret; MHNG 1033.28 - 31 (4 males), 1033.32 - 33 (2 females), Cameroon, Mbikiliki, 1959, coll. J.-L. Perret; MHNG 1033.49 - 50 (2 males), 1033.51 - 52 (2 females), Cameroon, Bipindi, Abiete, 1969, coll. J.-L. Perret; ZFMK 28942 (female), Cameroon, Kribi, Efulen, 1906, coll. G.L. Rosenberg; ZFMK 73210 - 211 (2 females), Gabon, 18 km northeast of Barrage de Kinguélé, app. 165 m a.s.l., 25.- 27.I. 2000, coll. S. Lötters & V. Gossmann; ZMB 73891View Materials Gabon (male), Province du Woleu-Ntem, Tchimbélé, app. 469 m a.s.l., 08.VI. 2001, coll. O.S.G. Pauwels.

Diagnosis. Medium to large-sized Petropedetes  ; robust body shape; tympanum indistinct; breeding males without tympanic papilla; moderate forearm hypertrophy; carpal spike present; spinosities developed on whole body; moderate femoral glands prominent; toes fully webbed.

Description. Medium to large-sized Petropedetes  with robust body; females growing slightly larger than males (SUL in males: 40.3–57.8 mm, in females: 37.5–54.7 mm); mean head width in males about 41 % of SUL, in females about 37 %; snout more pointed than in other species; canthus rostralis distinct but rounded, loreal region concave; eye diameter about 1.7 times eye-narial distance; nose closer to snout tip than eye; tympanum very small and indistinct (tympanum / eye in males: 0.18–0.23, in females: 0.20–0.25); no tympanic papilla; supratympanic fold distinct; fingers slender, with typically T-shaped fingertips; relative length of fingers: III> IV> II> I; manual subarticular tubercles single; manual webbing absent; palmar tubercle and thenar tubercle present, palmar tubercle sometimes indistinct; forearm hypertrophy moderately developed in males; carpal spike present in males; spinosities on whole body; dorsal surfaces with heterogeneous skin structure, some larger warts on flank and back, otherwise skin texture on flanks and dorsum similar ( Fig. 8View FIGURE 8 d); ventral skin more granular than in other species; mean femur length in males 53 % of SUL, in females 51 %, mean tibia length in males 58 % of SUL, in females 57 %; mean foot length in males 73 % of SUL, in females 72 %; upper hind limbs of moderate size, lower hind limbs slender; femoral glands larger in males than in females (femoral gland / femur length in males: 0.26–0.38, in females: 0.22–0.31; Fig. 9View FIGURE 9 d); relative length of toes: IV> III> V> II> I; toes fully webbed, on 4 th toe sometimes slightly less developed 4 (0.5 - 0.5).

Coloration. Dorsum uniformly dark; green and black with very few minuscule pale spots; throat whitish or dark marbled; upper hind limbs with pale, thin cross bars; coloration in preservation as in life, but pale. According to Lamotte et al. (1959) adults are of a glossy black colour in life, and therefore hard to find between stones. Boulenger (1905) describes them as dark olive above, spotted or marbled dark and light. Limbs bear broad dark bands and narrow light cross-bars, the ventral side is dirty whitish ( Boulenger 1905).

Tadpole. Lamotte et al. (1959) describe the tadpoles of P. palmipes  . Tadpoles were found in high numbers in small rocky pools at the foot of rapids. The general coloration of the tadpoles is grey on dorsum and flanks, a duller colour around eyes and nostrils; venter translucent, intestinal tract being visible ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 d); overall body shape flat; large eyes situated in the first third of body; tail almost twice as long as body and tail tip pointed; jaw sheats small, narrow and serrated; keratodont formula in younger stages 4: 3 + 3 // 1 + 1: 5, in older ones 3 + 3 // 1 + 1: 2 ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 d). More developed tadpoles are darker than younger stages. Tadpoles do not exceed a total length of 35 mm (25 mm being tail; Lamotte et al. 1959).

Natural history. Very little data on the biology of this species has been published. Specimens were caught at night in primary forest among stones in a stream. Clutches were found glued to rocks ( Fig. 16View FIGURE 16). Gossmann et al. (2002) explains that both eggs and larvae occur on submerged rocks. Lamotte et al. (1959) find tadpoles of P. palmipes  in stagnant parts of rivers beneath small rapids. Schiøtz (1966) describes similarities in the morphology of advanced larval stages of P. palmipes  and P. cameronensis  , possessing identical teeth formulae. Schiøtz (1966) interprets the different tadpole mouth development as a change in biology, younger larvae being rheophilous and older ones semiterrestrial, scraping algae off stones. The full webbing of adults points to a more aquatic life history, at least in post-metamorphs. The call of P. palmipes  is not known ( Amiet 1989).

Distribution. Petropedetes palmipes  occurs mainly in lowland areas ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4). It has been found in southern Cameroon ( Perret 1966), in Equatorial Guinea (de la Riva 1994; Lasso et al. 2002) and Gabon ( Lötters et al. 2001; Pauwels & Rödel 2007). The P. p a l m i p e s record from western Cameroon by Perret & Mertens (1957) is based on a P. perreti  specimen (not known at that time).

Genetics. The genetic comparison for the uncorrected p-distances of the mitochondrial 16 S rRNAfragment (Table 4) gave the following results for the single genetic voucher of Petropedetes palmipes  which we could use for this gentic comparison: interspecific differences to P. palmipes  and all other Central African Petropedetes  taxa ranged between 7.80 %- 11.76 %.

Systematic remarks. Petropedetes palmipes  is one of two fully webbed Central African Petropedetes  species; the other one being P. p e r re t i. By the amount of webbing it can easily be differentiated from the halfwebbed species P. cameronensis  and P. juliawurstnerae  sp. nov. and the rudimentary-webbed species P. euskircheni  sp. nov., P. johnstoni  , P. parkeri  and P. vulpiae  sp. nov. P. palmipes  can be easily distinguished from the fully webbed species P. perreti  by the size of the tympanum, which is very small and rather indistinct in both sexes of P. palmipes  , while it is large and distinct in P. perreti  ( Figs. 8View FIGURE 8 a, 8 d). In addition breeding males of P. p e r re t i possess a tympanic papilla, which is lacking in P. palmipes  .


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Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig


Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (Zoological Collections)














Petropedetes palmipes Boulenger, 1905

Barej, Michael F., Rödel, Mark-Oliver, Gonwouo, Legrand Nono, Pauwels, Olivier S. G., Böhme, Wolfgang & Schmitz, Andreas 2010

Petropedetes palmipes

Boulenger 1905