Sclerophrys pusilla (Mertens, 1937)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Bufonidae > Genus: Sclerophrys > Species: Sclerophrys pusilla

Bufo regularis pusillus Mertens, 1937, Abh. Senckenb. Naturforsch. Ges., 435: 17. Holotype: SMF 22247 by original designation and according to Mertens, 1967, Senckenb. Biol., 48(A): 40. Type locality: "Leteba-Camp, [Kruger National Park,] Gr. Letaba-River, Ost Transvaal", Limpopo Province, South Africa. 

Bufo pusillus — Pienaar, 1963, Koedoe, 6: 78; Poynton, 1964, Ann. Natal Mus., 17: 53; Poynton, 1969 "1966", Mem. Inst. Invest. Cient. Moçambique, Ser. A, Cienc. Biol., 8: 15.

Bufo latifrons savannae Inger, 1968, Explor. Parc Natl. Garamba, Miss. H. de Saeger, 52: 30. Holotype: MRAC 73067 B 765, by original designation. Type locality: "source of the Nabakoyo River, Parc National de la Garamba, Congo [= Dem. Rep. Congo], at approximately 750 m". Synonymy with Bufo maculatus by Tandy and Keith, 1972, in Blair (ed.), Evol. Genus Bufo: 159. Synonymy by implication of Poynton, Loader, Conradie, Rödel, and Liedtke, 2016, Zootaxa, 4098: 73_94. 

Bufo maculatus pusillus — Hulselmans, 1970, Rev. Zool. Bot. Afr., 81: 149–154.

Sclerophrys pusilla — Poynton, Loader, Conradie, Rödel, and Liedtke, 2016, Zootaxa, 4098: 84. 

English Names

Merten's Striped Toad (Pienaar, 1963, Koedoe, 6: 78).

Lesser Square-marked Toad (Broadley, 1971, Puku, 6: 108; Broadley, 1973, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 10: 22; Passmore and Carruthers, 1978, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 19: 4; Passmore and Carruthers, 1979, S. Afr. Frogs: 70).

Flat-backed Toad (Stewart and Wilson, 1966, Ann. Natal Mus., 18: 298; Passmore and Carruthers, 1978, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 19: 4; Passmore and Carruthers, 1979, S. Afr. Frogs: 70; Channing, 2001, Amph. Cent. S. Afr.: 84; Channing and Howell, 2006, Amph. E. Afr.: 78; Du Preez and Carruthers, 2009, Compl. Guide Frogs S. Afr.:146).

Southern Flat-backed Toad (Miguel, Matsinhe, Francisco, and Kaiser, 2022, Herpetol. Notes, 15: 772). 

Striped Toad (Passmore and Carruthers, 1979, S. Afr. Frogs: 70, as Bufo maculata).

Spotted Toad (Lötters, Wagner, Bwong, Schick, Malonza, Muchai, Wasonga, and Veith, 2007, Fieldguide Amph. Rept. Kakamega Forest: 14, as Bufo maculata).

Lesser Cross-marked Toad (Bufo pusillusLambiris, 1990 "1989", Monogr. Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat. Torino, 10: 52, as Bufo maculata).


Generally in humid savanna and forest-edge from southern Cameroon south to the coast of Rep. Congo and east through Central African Rep. through South Sudan to southwestern Ethiopia and Kenya, thence south though eastern Dem. Rep. Congo and Uganda to Mozambique and northeastern Rep. South Africa, east through Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to central and western and southern Angola and northern Namibia; presumed to extend into Equatorial Guinea and Sudan but not so far confirmed. 

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Congo, Republic of the, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Likely/Controversially Present: Equatorial Guinea, Sudan


Poynton, Loader, Conradie, Rödel, and Liedtke, 2016, Zootaxa, 4098: 73–93, removed Sclerophrys pusilla from the synonymy of Sclerophrys maculata and redescribed the holotype of this species.  See comments under Sclerophrys maculata for relevant literature. Angola records in Poynton and Haacke, 1993, Ann. Transvaal Mus., 36: 1–16 (as Bufo maculata). Poynton and Broadley, 1988, Ann. Natal Mus., 29: 460–463, discussed the uncertainty of the synonymy of Bufo pusillus with Bufo maculatus, citing immunological evidence of Maxson, 1981, Herpetologica, 37: 96–104. See also Lambiris, 1988, Lammergeyer, 39: 51, who recognized Bufo pusillus, and Channing, 1989, Lammergeyer, 40: 1, who disputed Lambiris' conclusion. Rödel, 2000, Herpetofauna W. Afr., 1: 47–53, Channing, 2001, Amph. Cent. S. Afr.: 84, Lötters, Wagner, Bwong, Schick, Malonza, Muchai, Wasonga, and Veith, 2007, Fieldguide Amph. Rept. Kakamega Forest: 14–15, and Du Preez and Carruthers, 2009, Compl. Guide Frogs S. Afr.: 146–147, provided accounts (as Bufo maculata). SeeLargen, 2001, Tropical Zool., 14: 320–321, for comments on distribution (as Bufo maculata). Frétey and Blanc, 2002 "2001", Bull. Soc. Zool. France, 126: 380, reported this species from Gabon. Channing and Howell, 2006, Amph. E. Afr.: 85–86, provided an account. Wanger, 2005, Salamandra, 41: 27–33, provided Gambia records. Boycott, 2004, in Minter et al. (eds.), Atlas Frogs S. Afr. Lesotho and Swaziland: 69–71, provided an account (as Bufo maculatus) for South Africa. Pickersgill, 2007, Frog Search: 541–545, provided a discussion of biology and taxonomy and doubted the distinctiveness of Bufo pusillus from Bufo maculatusJackson and Blackburn, 2007, Salamandra, 43: 149–164, provided a record for Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, Rep. Congo (as Bufo maculatus). Jacobsen, 2009, Afr. Herp News, 47: 2–20, reported this species from east-north-central Central African Republic  (as Bufo maculatus). See account (as Bufo maculatus), photograph, and map for Ethiopia by Largen and Spawls, 2010, Amph. Rept. Ethiopia Eritrea: 82–83. Mercurio, 2011, Amph. Malawi: 122–126, provided an account  (as Bufo maculatus) for Malawi. Harper, Measey, Patrick, Menegon, and Vonesh, 2010, Field Guide Amph. E. Arc Mts. Tanzania and Kenya: 110–111, provided a brief account  (as Bufo maculatus). Portik, Mulungu, Sequeira, and McEntee, 2013, Herpetol. Rev., 44: 395, provided records (as Bufo maculatus) for Niassa and Zambézia provinces, Mozambique. Ohler and Frétey, 2014, J. E. Afr. Nat. Hist., 103: 82, provided a brief account for northern Mozambique (as Bufo maculatus). Conradie, Bittencourt-Silva, Engelbrecht, Loader, Menegon, Nanvonamuquitxo, Scott, and Tolley, 2016, Zoosyst. Evol., Berlin, 92: 163–180, reported populations from Mount Mabu and Mount Namuli (Zambezia Province) and Mount M'pàluwé (Nampula Province), Mozambique. Poynton, Loader, Conradie, Rödel, and Liedtke, 2016, Zootaxa, 4098: 73–94, redelimited the species and provided a detailed account.  Marques, Ceríaco, Blackburn, and Bauer, 2018, Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, 65 (Suppl. II): 75–76, provided a map for Angola and provided a brief account. Dewynter, Chirio, Melki, Cordier, and Frétey, 2017, Cah. Fondation Biotope, 11: 26, provided a brief account and photographs of this species from the Mount Koumouna-Bouali area of Gabon.  Dewynter and Frétey, 2019, Cah. Fondation Biotope, 27: 17, summarized the literature for Gabon and provided photographs (p. 53). Phaka, Netherlands, Kruger, and Du Preez, 2017, Bilingual Field Guide Frogs Zululand: 33, provided a photograph, Zululand regional map, and a brief account of life history and identification. Butler, Ceríaco, Marques, Bandeira, Júlio, Heinicke, and Bauer, 2019, Herpetol. Rev., 50: 225–240, reported on a collection from Huila Province, southwestern Angola. See Bittencourt-Silva, 2019, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 13 (2: e181): 4, for comments on ecology in western Zambia. Spawls, Wasonga, and Drewes, 2019, Amph. Kenya: 10, provided a range map for Kenya, photograph, and brief characterization.  Channing and Rödel, 2019, Field Guide Frogs & Other Amph. Afr.: 60–62, provided a brief account, photograph, and range map. Poynton, Loader, Conradie, Rödel, and Liedtke, 2016, Zootaxa, 4098: 73–94, distinguished this species from Sclerophrys pusilla on molecular and morphological grounds as well as providing a range map. Mali, Banda, Chifundera, Badjedjea, Sebe, Lokasola, Ewango, Tungaluna, and Akaibe, 2019, Am. J. Zool., 2: 38–43, reported the species from the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, northeastern Dem. Rep. Congo. Baptista, António, and Branch, 2019, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 13 (e203): 96–130, reported on specimens from Bicuar National Park, southwestern Angola but regarded the taxonomy to be problematic. Sánchez-Vialas, Calvo-Revuelta, Castroviejo-Fisher, and De la Riva, 2020, Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, 66: 144, rejected this species as a member of the Equatorial Guinea fauna pending evidence of specimens collected. Ernst, Lautenschläger, Branquima, and Hölting, 2020, Zoosyst. Evol., 96: 250, noted the species to occur in Uigé Province of northwestern Angola. Bittencourt-Silva, Bayliss, and Conradie, 2020, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 14 (2: e247): 198–271, reported the species from Mount Lico, Ile District, Zambezia Province, northeast-central Mozambique. Lobón-Rovira, Vaz Pinto, Becker, Tolley, Measey, Bennet, Boon, de Sá, and Conradie, 2022, Check List, 18: 289–321, reported the species from Iona National Park, southwestern Angola, and characterized its habitat. Dehling and Sinsch, 2023, Diversity, 15 (512): 66, specfically excluded this species from Rwanda. Conradie, Keates, Verburgt, Baptista, and Harvey, 2023, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 17: 29, provided an account and dot map of the species in Angola. 

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