Schäfer, M., D. Sydow, J. Doumbia & M.-O. Rödel

In Issues 2021

A nursery behind the waterfall – life-history and reproductive ecology of West African Sabre-toothed Frogs (Anura: Odontobatrachidae) in torrent streams. pp. 335-352.

Abstract. Sabre-toothed Frogs (Odontobatrachidae) were only recently identified as the first vertebrate family endemic to West Africa. However, beyond their distribution in, and preference for, torrential rivers in forests, most of the biology of the five Odontobatrachus species remain unknown. Herein, we have summarized various field data from several years to present the first insight into the life-history of the Odontobatrachidae, with emphasis on O. arndti and O. ziama. We highlight differences in microhabitat use between sexes and ages, territorial behaviour with indications of intraspecific combats, identify the breeding habitat, and describe their unusual tadpole development.  Tadpoles start off as troglodyte non-feeding, lentic larvae and subsequently shift to a torrenticolous morphology. Oviposition sites seem to be situated in narrow crevices filled with little water behind cascades and waterfalls.  Spawning and fertilization may take place separately and not in amplexus. Scarcity of suitable breeding sites could be an explanation for territoriality and fighting of Sabretoothed Frogs. These descriptive data provide the first  detailed life-history account for several rare species and can be leveraged to improve their future conservation outlook.

Key words. Amphibia, Odontobatrachus, morphological change, non-feeding, tadpole, territorial behaviour, troglodyte.

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