Xenopus tropicalis (Gray, 1864)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Pipidae > Subfamily: Dactylethrinae > Genus: Xenopus > Species: Xenopus tropicalis

Silurana tropicalis Gray, 1864, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Ser. 3, 14: 316. Syntypes: Not stated, but BMNH 1947.2.24.83–86 (formerly 1864.9.22.1–4) recorded as syntypes in museum records. BMNH 1947.2.24.83, designated lectotype by Evans, Carter, Greenbaum, Gvoždík, Kelley, McLaughlin, Pauwels, Portik, Stanley, Tinsley, Tobias, and Blackburn, 2015, PLoS One, 10(12): e0142823: 21. Type locality: "West Africa, Lagos", Nigeria.

Silurana intertropicalisGünther, 1865, Zool. Rec., 1: 127. Misspelling.

Xenopus tropicalisMüller, 1910, Abh. Math. Physik. Cl. Bayer. Akad. Wiss., 24: 625; Pauly, Hillis, and Cannatella, 2009, Herpetologica, 65: 126.

Silurana tropicalisCannatella and Trueb, 1988, Zool. J. Linn. Soc., 94: 1–38; Channing, Rödel, and Channing, 2012, Tadpoles of Africa: 290; Dubois, Ohler, and Pyron, 2021, Megataxa, 5: 413. 

Xenopus (Silurana) tropicalisKobel, Loumont, and Tinsley, 1996, in Tinsley and Kobel (eds.), Biol. Xenopus: 21; Kobel, Barandun, and Thiebaud, 1998, Herpetol. J., 8: 13.

English Names

Tropical Clawed Frog (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 96; Evans, Carter, Greenbaum, Gvoždík, Kelley, McLaughlin, Pauwels, Portik, Stanley, Tinsley, Tobias, and Blackburn, 2015, PLoS One, 10(12): e0142823: 28).

Forest Clawed Frog (Barnett, Emms, and Santoni, 2001, Herpetol. Bull., London, 77: 8).


Forested West Africa from Sierra Leone and Senegal at least to Burkina Faso and western Cameroon; expected in southern Mali; introduced population in Riverview, Hillsborough County, Florida, USA. 

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo

Likely/Controversially Present: Mali

Introduced: United States of America, United States of America - Florida


 Evans, Carter, Greenbaum, Gvoždík, Kelley, McLaughlin, Pauwels, Portik, Stanley, Tinsley, Tobias, and Blackburn, 2015, PLoS One, 10(12): e0142823: 21–22, provided an account within a larger revision of the genus that redelimited the species and therefore rendered all previous literature, following, of arguable assignment to species. Loumont, 1983, Rev. Suisse Zool., 90: 176, restricted Xenopus tropicalis to the west of tropical Africa only, and considered that records to the south and east (including the Congo Basin) belong to Xenopus epitropicalis. Synonymy includes Xenopus calcaratus. Most primitive of the Xenopus species, set apart from the rest of the genus by chromosome number (2n=20) (Tymowska, 1973, Cytogenet. Cell Genet., 12: 298), osteology (Estes, 1975, Herpetologica, 31: 269), serum albumins (Bisbee, Baker, Wilson, Hadji-Azimi, and Fischberg, 1977, Science, 195: 785–787), and other characters (Tinsley, 1981, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Suppl., 15: 140). Rödel, 2000, Herpetofauna W. Afr., 1: 36–41, provided an account. Rödel and Branch, 2002, Salamandra, 38: 251, reported the species in Ivory Coast. Schiøtz, 1963, Vidensk. Medd. Dansk Naturhist. Foren., 125: 14, provided records for Nigeria. Emms, Jambang, Bah, Mankali, Rödel, and Barnett, 2005, Herpetol. Bull., London, 94: 6–16, provided records for Gambia. Channing, Rödel, and Channing, 2012, Tadpoles of Africa: 290, provided information on comparative larval morphology (as Silurana tropicalis). Rödel and Glos, 2019, Zoosyst. Evol., 95: 18, reported this species from the Krahn-Basa Proposed Protected Area in southeastern Liberia and the Foya Proposed Protected Area in western Liberia. Channing and Rödel, 2019, Field Guide Frogs & Other Amph. Afr.: 42–43, provided a brief account, photograph, and range map. Zattera, Gazolla, Soares, Gazoni, Pollet, Recco-Pimentel, and Bruschi, 2020, Frontiers in Genetics, 11(637): 1–10, reported on karyology. Ayoro, Segniagbeto, Hema, Penner, Oueda, Dubois, Rödel, Kabré, and Ohler, 2020, Zoosystema, 42: 547–582, discussed records, identification, and habitat in Burkina Faso. Sánchez-Vialas, Calvo-Revuelta, Castroviejo-Fisher, and De la Riva, 2020, Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, 66: 137–230, excluded this species from the fauna of Equatorial Guinea. Goodman, Jongsma, Hill, Stanley, Tuckett, Blackburn, and Romagosa, 2021, J. Herpetol., 55: 62–69, discussed the genetics and morphology of the introduced population in Hillsborough County, Florida, USA. 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 northeastern Dem. Rep. Congo, but the identification is doubtful. Gansa, Agadjihouèdé, and Hounkanrin, 2023, Afr. Zool., 58: 39–56, reported the species from the lower Ouémé Valley, southeastern Benin, and briefly descried habitat preference. 

External links:

Please note: these links will take you to external websites not affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History. We are not responsible for their content.