Ptychadena Boulenger, 1917

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Ptychadenidae > Genus: Ptychadena
59 species

Limnophilus Fitzinger, 1843, Syst. Rept.: 31. Type species: Rana mascareniensis Duméril and Bibron, 1841, by original designation. Preoccupied by Limnophilus Burmeister, 1839 (Trichoptera). Objective synonym of Ptychadena Boulenger, 1917. Noted by Loveridge, 1957, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 117: 336.

Ptychadena Boulenger, 1917, C. R. Hebd. Séances Acad. Sci., Paris, 165: 988. Type species: Rana mascareniensis Duméril and Bibron, 1841, by subsequent designation of Boulenger, 1918, Bull. Soc. Zool. France, 43: 114. Named originally as a subgenus of Rana.

PtychadaenaParker, 1930, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1930: 3. Incorrect subsequent spelling.

Abrana Parker, 1931 "1930", Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1930: 898. Type species: Abrana cotti Parker, 1931 "1930", by monotypy. Preoccupied by Abrana Strand, 1928, Arch. Naturgesch., Abt. A,, 92: 59 (Mammalia). Synonymy by Dubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 56.

Parkerana Dubois, 1984, Alytes, 3: 39–40. Replacement name for Abrana Parker, 1931.

English Names

Ridged Frogs (Broadley, 1971, Puku, 6: 114; Van Dijk, 1978, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 17: 15; Channing, 2001, Amph. Cent. S. Afr.: 315; Channing and Howell, 2006, Amph. E. Afr.: 298).

Grass Frogs (Passmore and Carruthers, 1978, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 19: 5; Passmore and Carruthers, 1979, S. Afr. Frogs: 150; Du Preez and Carruthers, 2009, Compl. Guide Frogs S. Afr.: 304).

Grassland Frogs (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 105).


Nilotic Egypt and subsaharan Africa, excluding southwestern Rep. South Africa. Introduced on Madagascar, Seychelles Islands, and Mascarene Islands.


Dubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 55, placed this genus in his subfamily Raninae,tribe Ptychadenini. Subsequently considered a subfamily Ptychadeninae by Dubois, 1992, Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 61: 316, who also recognized the subgenera noted in the comments (Ptychadena and Parkerana). West African species revised by Guibé and Lamotte, 1957, Bull. Inst. Franç. Afr. Noire, Ser. A, 19: 937–1003. Cameroon species reviewed by Guibé and Lamotte, 1958, Bull. Inst. Franç. Afr. Noire, Ser. A, 20: 1448–1463 (who ambivalently treated Ptychadena both as a genus and a subgenus of Rana). Most recently regarded as a subgenus of Rana by Dubois, 1981, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Suppl., 15: 225–284, although this met with little acceptance. Perret, 1979, Bull. Soc. Neuchatel. Sci. Nat., 102: 5–21, discussed several species with new synonyms and corrections of previous misidentifications. Perret, 1980, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Suppl., 13: 151–168, discussed some species of Ethiopia. Stevens, 1972, Arnoldia, Zimbabwe, 5: 12, supplied a key to the species of southern Africa, derived from Poynton, 1970, Ann. Natal Mus., 20: 365–375. See Poynton and Broadley, 1985, Ann. Natal Mus., 27: 143–157, for accounts of species in south-central Africa. See comment under Ptychadena floweri. The sister-taxon of Hildebrandtia + Lanzarana according to Clarke, 1981, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Suppl., 15: 285–311. Perret, 1991, Arch. Sci., Genève, 44: 265–281, noted that one group of nine species (Ptychena ingeri, Ptychadena tournieri, Ptychadena bunoderma, Ptychadena keilingi, Ptychadena nana, Ptychadena stenocephala, Ptychadena ansorgii, Ptychadena erlangeri, and Ptychadena neumanni) are allied by reduced webbing. Key to species of Ethiopia provided by Largen, 1997, Tropical Zool., 10: 223–246. Rödel, 2000, Herpetofauna W. Afr., 1: 91, provided an identification table for West African savanna species as well as individual species accounts. Lamotte and Ohler, 2000, Zoosystema, 22: 569–583, defined and discussed the Ptychadena stenocephala group. Channing, 2001, Amph. Cent. S. Afr.: 315–345, and Du Preez and Carruthers, 2009, Compl. Guide Frogs S. Afr.: 304–327, provided keys and accounts for the species of southern Africa. Vences, Kosuch, Rödel, Channing, Glaw, and Böhme, 2004, J. Biogeograph., 31: 597, provided a tree of relationship for several of the species of East Africa. Channing and Howell, 2006, Amph. E. Afr.: 298–318, provided a key and accounts for the species of East Africa. Bwong, Chira, Schick, Veith, and Lötters, 2009, Salamandra, 45: 129–146, reported on the taxonomic diversity and the problematic identifications of animals from western Kenya. Mercurio, 2011, Amph. Malawi: 247–275, provided accounts and an identification key for the species of Malawi. Channing, Rödel, and Channing, 2012, Tadpoles of Africa: 302–317, provided information on comparative larval morphology. Freilich, Tollis, and Boissinot, 2014, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 71: 157–169, reported on the molecular and morphological phylogenetics of an apparently monophyletic unit in the Ethiopian highlands, and also suggested a phylogeny within the genus. Channing and Willems, 2018, Zootaxa, 4462: 349–366, provided a ML treeof 16S that suggested a rather large number of unnamed species related to Ptychadena nilotica and Ptychadena newtoniDewynter and Frétey, 2019, Cah. Fondation Biotope, 27: 36, briefly discussed the taxonomic difficulties posed by this genus, mostly due to many species complexes masquerading as single species. Rödel and Glos, 2019, Zoosyst. Evol., 95: 26, noted an unnamed species from the Krahn-Bassa Proposed Protected Area in southeastern Liberia. Channing and Rödel, 2019, Field Guide Frogs & Other Amph. Afr.: 324–347, provided brief accounts, photographs, and range maps for the African species. Goutte, Reyes-Velasco, Freilich, Kassie Teme, and Boissinot, 2021, ZooKeys, 1016: 77–141, provided a revision of the species of the Ethiopian highlands (the Ptychadena neumanni complex), with the description of four new species and delimitation of species groups within the species complex: (1) Ptychadena cooperi group (Ptychadena amharensis, Ptychadena cooperi); (2) Ptychadena erlangeri group (Ptychadena erlangeri, Ptychadena nana, Ptychadena robeensis, Ptychadena levenorum); (3) Ptychadena neumanorum group (Ptychadena doro, Ptychadena goweri, Ptychadena delphina, Ptychadena beka, Ptychadena harenna, Ptychadena neumanni). Reyes-Velasco, Goutte, Freilich, and Boissinot, 2021, ZooKeys,  1070: 135–149, reported on mitogenomics of type specimens in the Ptychadena neumanni complex which further clarified the phylogenetic relationships and name applications. Lyra, Kirchhof, Goutte, Kassie Teme, and Boissinot, 2023, Frontiers in Genetics, 14(1215715): 1–14, reported on the diversification and biogeography of the species of the Ethiopian highlands.  

Contained taxa (59 sp.):

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