Amphibians (frogs)

Tradouw Mountain Toad, Tradouw Toadlet, Tradouw's Toad / Tradouw Bergskurwepadda

Capensibufo tradouwi

Size Adult males may attain a body length of 37 mm but females are smaller.

Description This species has an elongated body that is smooth and soft on the upper side with scattered blister-like ridges and warts, while the skin on the underside is granular but less so on the throat. The parotoid glands are pear-shaped, the tympanum is present, and the pupil is horizontally elliptical. There is no webbing between the toes and the hind limbs are relatively short and better adapted for walking and running than for jumping. The upper body surface varies from grey to brown and is interspersed with darker spots and blotches. A light vertebral stripe or band and a pair of irregular light longitudinal bands are usually present. The parotoid glands and other elevations on the back have red to orange markings. The underside is white to grey with darker specks or a distinctly marbled pattern. The advertisement call is a creaking squawk often ending in a sharp cheep, emitted at a rate of about one in three seconds.

Biology The Tradouw mountain toad occurs at high altitudes in mountains within the Fynbos Biome (of the Cape Floral Kingdom ). Its distribution range is mostly situated in the winter rainfall region where this species breeds from about June to September; to the east its distribution range extends into a winter/summer rainfall transition zone where breeding has been reported in late November.

Breeding takes place in shallow pools which may be in seepage areas and slow streams. At the breeding site the males have been observed calling from concealed positions at the water's edge. Amplexus is axillary and the eggs are laid in water. Unlike most toads, this species lays its eggs singly and not in strings. The eggs are small (2 mm in diameter) and the clutch size is about 60. These develop into dark, benthic tadpoles which have unusually long, undulating tails. The tadpoles have been found in dense masses and in direct sunlight, especially in shallower water at the pool's edge. During the day, Tradouw toads shelter under rocks (for example) or may be found walking about in the open. The information on this species is based on relatively few observations and further field studies are required.

Distribution This species is endemic to the Cape Fold Mountains of the Western Cape Province . Within this area it has a wide distribution which extends through various mountain ranges from the Cederberg complex of mountains in the north-west to the Tsitsikamma Mountains in the south-east. However, there are relatively few records of this species.

Distribution in GCBC This toad is confined to the mountain fynbos areas of the higher mountain ranges in the GCBC.

Conservation status Not threatened.

Threats No serious threats.

Current studies This species was assessed in the Southern African Frog Atlas Project (published in 2004) and a project is underway to investigate the genetic diversity in the Capensibufo (mountain toad) genus.

 

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