Leptopelis bocagii (Günther, 1865)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Arthroleptidae > Subfamily: Leptopelinae > Genus: Leptopelis > Species: Leptopelis bocagii

Cystignathus bocagii Günther, 1865 "1864", Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1864: 481. Holotype: A "unique specimen" according to the original publication although Perret, 1976, Arq. Mus. Bocage, Ser. 2, 6: 23, suggested that MBL T.15-232 might by syntypes (these destroyed by 1978 fire); two specimens received by BMNH from MBL may be types. Type locality: "Duque de Bragance [= Bragança]", Angola.

Hylambates bocagiiBoulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 133.

Hylambates angolensis Barboza du Bocage, 1893, J. Sci. Math. Phys. Nat., Lisboa, Ser. 2, 3 (10): 119. Syntypes: MBL including T. 14-242-244, according to Perret, 1976, Arq. Mus. Bocage, Ser. 2, 6: 23; destroyed in 1978 fire. Type localities: "Caconda", "Quissange", "Cahata", and "Quidumbo", Angola. Synonymy by Boulenger, 1906 "1905", Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. Genova, Ser. 3, 2: 166; Parker, 1936, Zool. Meded., Leiden, 19: 97; Perret, 1976, Arq. Mus. Bocage, Ser. 2, 6: 23.

Hylambates bocageiFerreira, 1906, J. Sci. Math. Phys. Nat., Lisboa, Ser. 2, 7: 164.

Leptopelis bocagii var. leucopunctata Ferreira, 1906, J. Sci. Math. Phys. Nat., Lisboa, Ser. 2, 7: 113. Syntypes: MUP (2 specimens), by original indication. Ceríaco, Blackburn, Marques, and Calado, 2014, Alytes, 31: 2526, noted MUP 017324 as the registration number of the syntypes and suggested that one of the two may be missing or that the apparency of loss may be due to damage to a label. Type locality: "Gumba", Angola. 

Leptopelis bocagiiLoveridge, 1925, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1925: 787; Ahl, 1931, Das Tierreich, 55: 211.

Hylambates brevipalmatus Ahl, 1930, Zool. Anz., 87: 228. Holotype: ZMB, unnumbered according to the original publication. Type locality: "Unyika, Deutsch-Ostafrika". Synonymy by Loveridge, 1933, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 74: 346.

Leptopelis angolensisAhl, 1931, Das Tierreich, 55: 213.

Leptopelis bocageiParker, 1936, Zool. Meded., Leiden, 19: 97. Incorrect subsequent spelling.

Leptopelis bocagei bocageiMertens, 1937, Abh. Senckenb. Naturforsch. Ges., 435: 21.

Leptopelis bocagei haasi Mertens, 1937, Abh. Senckenb. Naturforsch. Ges., 435: 21. Holotype: SMF 22248, according Mertens, 1967, Senckenb. Biol., 48(A): 47. Type locality: "Nsombo am Baonweolo-See [Lake Bangweolo], Nord-Rhodesien", Zambia. Subspecies status rejected by Loveridge, 1953, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 110: 329.

Leptopelis (Taphriomantis) bocagiiLaurent, 1941, Rev. Zool. Bot. Afr., 35: 101.

Leptopelis bocageiDe Witte, 1952, Result. Sci., Explor. Hydrobiol. Lac Tanganyika (1946–47), 3: 9; Poynton, 1964, Ann. Natal Mus., 17: 172.

Leptopelis bocagiiLoveridge, 1953, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 110: 342; Broadley, 1971, Puku, 6: 1–120. Incorrect subsequent spelling.

English Names

Bocage's Frog (Lambiris, 1990 "1989", Monogr. Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat. Torino, 10: 144).

Bocage's Burrowing Frog (Broadley, 1971, Puku, 6: 120; Broadley, 1973, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 10: 23).

Bocage's Burrowing Leaf-frog (Van Dijk, 1978, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 17: 16).

Horseshoe Forest Treefrog (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 69).

Bocage's Tree Frog (Channing, 2001, Amph. Cent. S. Afr.: 199; Channing and Howell, 2006, Amph. E. Afr.: 198; Du Preez and Carruthers, 2009, Compl. Guide Frogs S. Afr.: 90).

Savanna Tree Frog (Lötters, Wagner, Bwong, Schick, Malonza, Muchai, Wasonga, and Veith, 2007, Fieldguide Amph. Rept. Kakamega Forest: 38).

Bocage's Burrowing Tree Frog (Largen and Spawls, 2010, Amph. Rept. Ethiopia Eritrea: 133).


Savanna regions of western and southern Ethiopia south through Kenya (isolated populations), Tanzania, eastern Rwanda and Burundi to western Zambia and thence west through most of Angola south to Bicuar National Park and to extreme northeastern Namibia (Caprivi), through southern Malawi and most of Zimbabwe and almost to northeastern Rep. South Africa (see comment); possibly extending in to northern Botswana. 

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Angola, Burundi, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Likely/Controversially Present: Botswana


This nominal species may be composed of several cryptic species; see Largen, 1977, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Suppl., 9: 96. Schiøtz, 1999, Treefrogs Afr.: 289–291, also discussed the probability of cryptic species masquerading under this name. Perret, 1976, Arq. Mus. Bocage, Ser. 2, 6: 23–24, noted that the synonymy of Hylambates angolensis Bocage, 1893, was problematic because the types are of different age classes and, therefore, not easily comparable. Perret also noted that Schiøtz, 1975, Treefrogs E. Afr.: 14, and Broadley, 1971, Puku, 6: 120, did not include Hylambates angolensis in their synonymies of Leptopelis bocagii (nor did Poynton and Broadley, 1987, Ann. Natal Mus., 28: 174–175). See comment under Leptopelis bufonides. Channing, 2001, Amph. Cent. S. Afr.: 199–200, provided an account. Largen, 2001, Tropical Zool., 14: 349–350, commented on distribution and identifications. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, 2004, Global Amph. Assessment (and M. Cunningham, personal commun.), suggested that the record from Rep. South Africa is based on a misidentification of a specimens in the Transvaal Museum. Channing and Howell, 2006, Amph. E. Afr.: 198–199, provided an account for East Africa. Pickersgill, 2007, Frog Search: 499–500, also provided an account. Lötters, Wagner, Bwong, Schick, Malonza, Muchai, Wasonga, and Veith, 2007, Fieldguide Amph. Rept. Kakamega Forest: 38–39, provided an account for the Kenya population. See account, photograph, and map for Ethiopia by Largen and Spawls, 2010, Amph. Rept. Ethiopia Eritrea: 132–134. Mercurio, 2011, Amph. Malawi: 96–97, provided an account for Malawi. Hopkins, 2012, Afr. Herp News, 56: 17–18, reported on larval morphology in Zimbabwe. See account (as Leptopis cf. bocagii) for Cameroon by Amiet, 2012, Rainettes Cameroun: 466–472. Marques, Ceríaco, Blackburn, and Bauer, 2018, Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, 65 (Suppl. II): 122–124, provided a map and brief account for Angola. Ceríaco, Marques, and Bandeira, 2016, Anf. Rept. Parque Nac. Cangandala: 27, provided a brief account for Malanje Province, Angola. Baptista, Conradie, Vaz Pinto, and Branch, 2019, In Huntley, Russo, Lages, and Ferrand (eds.), Biodiversity in Angola: 262, suggested that Hylambates bocagei var. leucopunctata Ferreira, 1904, may prove to be a distinct species and that the synonymy of Leptopelis angolensis was premature. Spawls, Wasonga, and Drewes, 2019, Amph. Kenya: 7, provided a range map for Kenya, photograph, and brief characterization. Channing and Rödel, 2019, Field Guide Frogs & Other Amph. Afr.: 228–229, provided a brief account, photograph, and range map. Baptista, António, and Branch, 2019, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 13 (e203): 96–130, reported on specimens from Bicuar National Park, southwestern Angola and suggested that the synonymy of Hylambates angolensis Bocage, 1893, requires revisiting. Dehling and Sinsch, 2023, Diversity, 15 (512): 1–81, discussed the range, identification, natural history, advertisement call, and conservation status in Rwanda. Conradie, Keates, Verburgt, Baptista, and Harvey, 2023, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 17: 25–26, provided an account and dot map of the species in Angola. 

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