Hoplobatrachus occipitalis (Günther, 1858)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Dicroglossidae > Subfamily: Dicroglossinae > Genus: Hoplobatrachus > Species: Hoplobatrachus occipitalis

Rana occipitalis Günther, 1858, Arch. Naturgesch., 24: 320. Syntypes: BMNH (12 specimens) implied by Günther, 1859 "1858", Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus.: 130, at least 10 of these by museum records are BMNH 1947.2.28.99 (formerly 1853.2.21.4), 1947.2.29.6 (formerly 1858.11.25.102), 1947.2.29.3-5 (formerly 1858.11.25.112-113), 1947.2.29.7-9 (Gambia, formerly 1858.11.25.99-101), and 1947.2.29.1-2 (formerly 1932.11.1.1-2 ). Type locality: "West-Afrika"; given as "West Africa", "Africa", and "Gambia" by Günther, 1859 "1858", Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus.: 130.

Rana bragantina Barboza du Bocage, 1864, Rev. Mag. Zool., Paris, Ser. 2, 16: 253. Holotype: Not stated, presumably MBL, but considered lost by Perret, 1976, Arq. Mus. Bocage, Ser. 2, 6: 19, and, if it was extant in 1976, it would have been destroyed in 1978 fire. Type locality: "Angola (Afrique occidentale).—District du Duque de Bragança". Synonymy by Günther, 1867, Zool. Rec., 3: 129; Boulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 27; Barboza du Bocage, 1895, Herpetol. Angola Congo: 155.

Rana (Fejervarya) occipitalisBolkay, 1915, Anat. Anz., 48: 172.

Rana tigrina var. occipitalisBoulenger, 1918, Rec. Indian Mus., 15: 58.

Rana (Rana) tigrina occipitalisChabanaud, 1921, Bull. Com. Études Hist. Scient. Afr. Occid. Franç., 1921: 450.

Ranosoma schereri Ahl, 1924, Arch. Naturgesch., Abt. A,, 90: 250. Holotype: ZMB unnumbered according to the original publication. Type locality: "Senegal". Synonymy by Barbour and Loveridge, 1930, in Strong (ed.), Afr. Rep. Liberia Belgian Congo, 2: 778.

Rana occipitalisNoble, 1924, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 49: 212–213; Parker, 1936, Zool. Meded., Leiden, 19: 89.

Rana mwanzae Loveridge, 1925, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1925: 772. Syntypes: MCZ 10337–78, by original desgination. Type locality: "a pool in the otherwise dry bed of the Simiyu River at Sagayo, Mwanza, Tanganyika Territory", Tanzania. Synonymy by Barbour and Loveridge, 1929, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 69: 330.

Rana (Rana) occipitalisDe Witte, 1930, Rev. Zool. Bot. Afr., 19: 259.

Rana esculenta bilmaensis Angel, 1936, Bull. Soc. Zool. France, 61: 277. Holotype: MNHNP 1936.123 according to Böhme, 1978, Rev. Suisse Zool., 85: 642. Type locality: "l’oasis de Bilma", Nigeria. Synonymy by Böhme, 1978, Rev. Suisse Zool., 85: 641–644.

Dicroglossus occipitalisDeckert, 1938, Sitzungsber. Ges. Naturforsch. Freunde Berlin, 1938: 138; Laurent, 1954, Publ. Cult. Companhia Diamantes Angola, 23: 133 (14 of preprint).

Rana (Dicroglossus) occipitalisDe Witte, 1952, Result. Sci., Explor. Hydrobiol. Lac Tanganyika (1946–47), 3: 5.

Rana (Euphlyctis) occipitalisDubois, 1981, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Suppl., 15: 240.

Euphlyctis occipitalisPoynton and Broadley, 1985, Ann. Natal Mus., 27: 125; Largen, 2001, Tropical Zool., 14: 328.

Limnonectes (Hoplobatrachus) occipitalisDubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 61.

Hoplobatrachus occipitalisDubois, 1992, Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 61: 315.

English Names

African Tigrine Frog (Cochran, 1961, Living Amph. World: 153).

Giant Swamp Frog (Broadley, 1971, Puku, 6: 113).

Ethiopia Peters Frog (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 99).

Crowned Bullfrog (Channing, 2001, Amph. Cent. S. Afr.: 295).

Groove-crowned Bullfrog (Ananjeva, Borkin, Darevsky, and Orlov, 1988, Dict. Amph. Rept. Five Languages: 126; Barnett, Emms, and Santoni, 2001, Herpetol. Bull., London, 77: 8).

Eastern Groove-crowned Bullfrog (Channing and Howell, 2006, Amph. E. Afr.: 268; Lötters, Wagner, Bwong, Schick, Malonza, Muchai, Wasonga, and Veith, 2007, Fieldguide Amph. Rept. Kakamega Forest: 26).

African Groove-crowned Frog (Largen and Spawls, 2010, Amph. Rept. Ethiopia Eritrea: 158).

African Tiger Frog (Kanga, Kouamé, Zogbass, Gongomin, Agoh, Kouamé, Konan, Adepo-Gourène, Gourène, and Rödel, 2021, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 15: 84).


Gambia and extreme southeastern Western Sahara to western Ethiopia (including isolated populations in southwestern Libya; see comment) and adjacent Algeria, Air mountains of Niger, northern Mali), south through subsaharan Africa to northern Zambia, western Rwanda, northern to west-central Angola, and western Rep. Congo and western Dem. Rep. Congo, presumably in intervening Cabinda, Angola; reported from northeastern Dem. Rep. Congo (see comment). Reports from Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, and Eritrea require confirmation (see comment). 

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Congo, Republic of the, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia

Likely/Controversially Present: Equatorial Guinea


Dubois, 1992, Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 61: 315 (following Dubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 61), placed this in the Hoplobatrachus occipitalis group. Loveridge, 1957, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 117: 344, reported the species as occurring in Morocco and Eritrea, but did not cite vouchers; these occurrences require confirmation. Composed of two sibling species, according to Bogart and Tandy, 1976, Science, 193: 334–335, one of which, in Liberia, is tetraploid. See Salvador, 1996, Smithson. Herpetol. Inform. Serv., 109, for account. See Géniez, Mateo, and Bons, 2001 "2000", Herpetozoa, Wien, 13: 152, for Western Sahara record. Rödel, 2000, Herpetofauna W. Afr., 1: 145–152, Channing, 2001, Amph. Cent. S. Afr.: 296–297, Channing and Howell, 2006, Amph. E. Afr.: 268–270, Pickersgill, 2007, Frog Search: 111–112, and Lötters, Wagner, Bwong, Schick, Malonza, Muchai, Wasonga, and Veith, 2007, Fieldguide Amph. Rept. Kakamega Forest: 26–27, provided accounts. Padial and De la Riva, 2004, Rev. Esp. Herpetol., 18: 93, provided records from Mauritania. Schiøtz, 1963, Vidensk. Medd. Dansk Naturhist. Foren., 125: 25–26, provided records for Nigeria. Emms, Jambang, Bah, Mankali, Rödel, and Barnett, 2005, Herpetol. Bull., London, 94: 6–16, provided records for Gambia. Géniez, Mateo, Geniez, and Pether, 2004, Amph. Rept. W. Sahara: 42, provided a brief account for Western Sahara. Jackson and Blackburn, 2007, Salamandra, 43: 149–164, provided a record for Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, Rep. Congo. Jacobsen, 2009, Afr. Herp News, 47: 2–20, reported this species from east-north-central Central African Republic. See account, photograph, and map for Ethiopia by Largen and Spawls, 2010, Amph. Rept. Ethiopia Eritrea: 157–158. Channing, Rödel, and Channing, 2012, Tadpoles of Africa: 166–167, reported on comparative tadpole morphology. Reques, Pleguezuelos, Busack, and de Pous, 2013, Basic & Appl. Herpetol., 27: 23–50, discussed the range and conservation status in Western Sahara. Padial, Crochet, Géniez, and Brito, 2013, Basic & Appl. Herpetol., 27: 11–22, discussed systematics, distribution, and conservation status in Mauritania. Ibrahim, 2013, Basic & Appl. Herpetol., 27: 101–106, discussed ranges and population status in Libya, and suggested that the species may have been introduced into Libya and now extirpated.  Mateo, Géniez, and Pether, 2013, Basic & Appl. Herpetol., 27: 51–83, provided a range map, comments on the range and population status in Algeria. Jongsma, Tobi, Dixon-MacCallum, Bamba-Kaya, Yoga, Mbega, Mve Beh, Emrich, and Blackburn, 2017, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 11 (1: e144): 10, provided a record for southeastern Gabon and briefly discussed habitat and range. Marques, Ceríaco, Blackburn, and Bauer, 2018, Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, 65 (Suppl. II): 157, provided a map for Angola and brief discussion of the literature. Nagy, Chifundera, Collet, and Gvoždík, 2013, Herpetol. Notes, 6:  413–419, provided a record from Bas-Congo, southwestern Dem. Rep. Congo. Sow, Gonçalves, Sousa, Martínez-Freiría, Santarém, Velo-Antón, Dieng, Campos, Diagne, Boratyński, and Brito, 2017, Basic & Appl. Herpetol., 31: 101–116, reported the species from extreme southeastern Mauritania. Dewynter, Chirio, Melki, Cordier, and Frétey, 2017, Cah. Fondation Biotope, 11: 13, 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: 20, summarized the literature for Gabon and provided photographs (p. 54). Rödel and Glos, 2019, Zoosyst. Evol., 95: 21, reported this species from the Foya Proposed Protected Area in western Liberia. See detailed account for North Africa by Escoriza and Ben Hassine, 2019, Amph. N. Afr.: 184–189. Spawls, Wasonga, and Drewes, 2019, Amph. Kenya: 49, provided a photograph, range map, and brief characterization. Mali, Laudisoit, Yendema, Badjedjea, Mukobya, Ewango, Katuala, Akaibe, Bongo, Anio, Ngbolua, and Tungaluna, 2019, Asian J. Res. Zool., 2(4): 1–11, reported specimens so identified from the Lendu Plateau of northeastern Dem. Rep. Congo; this identification requires confirmation. 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, again, the identification requires confirmation. Ernst, Lautenschläger, Branquima, and Hölting, 2020, Zoosyst. Evol., 96: 253, noted the presence in Uigé Province, northwestern Angola. Ayoro, Segniagbeto, Hema, Penner, Oueda, Dubois, Rödel, Kabré, and Ohler, 2020, Zoosystema, 42: 547–582, discussed records, identification, and habitat in Burkina Faso. Sampaio, Velo-Antón, Martínez-Freiría, Sánchez-Vialas, Pleguezuelos, Géniez, Crochet, and Brito, 2021, Conserv. Genetics, 22: 233–248, discussed possible cryptic species diversity in Mauritania. Kanga, Kouamé, Zogbass, Gongomin, Agoh, Kouamé, Konan, Adepo-Gourène, Gourène, and Rödel, 2021, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 15: 71–107, commented on conservation status, identification, range, and habitat on the Ivory Coast side of Mont Nimba. Kako-Wanzalire, Mongo, Ilonga, Mapoli, Mbumba, Neema, Tungaluna, Itoka, and Bogaert, 2021, Tropicultura, 39 (1: 1709): 1–19, briefly discussed habitat preference in north-central Dem. Rep. Congo. Discussion of range in Libya provided by Blackburn, Nielsen, and Jdeidi, 2022, Herpetol. Rev., 53: 211–219. Sánchez-Vialas, Calvo-Revuelta, Castroviejo-Fisher, and De la Riva, 2020, Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, 66: 144, suggested that no specimens for Equatorial Guinea have been documented and presence in that political unit requires conformation. Pagano, Daf, Ballouche, Taïbi, and Sinsch, 2022, Salamandra, 58: 317–322, reported on the advertisement call from  Diawling National Park, southwestern Mauritania. Dehling and Sinsch, 2023, Diversity, 15 (512): 1–81, discussed the range, identification, natural history, advertisement call, and conservation status in Rwanda. Gansa, Agadjihouèdé, and Hounkanrin, 2023, Afr. Zool., 58: 39–56, reported the species from the lower Ouémé Valley, southern Benin, and briefly descried habitat preference. 

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