Native Amphibians Of Kenya
The endemic Denhardt's African Caecilian and critically threatened Taita Warty Frog are among Kenya's many amphibians. The Denhardt's African Caecilian is a large earthworm-like species known from the holotype collected before 1912.Human encroachment primarily threatens these species.The Angola River Frog on the other hand is widely distributed facing no significant threat. The Taita Hills Valley is home to many amphibians in Kenya. The savannas and grasslands are also habitats for many species especially the frogs. Watercourses and river vegetation are crucial for the amphibian survival. Here are the native amphibians of Kenya.
Angola River Frog
The Angola river frog (Amietia angolensis) or the common river frog is a species in the Pyxicephalidae family. The frog lives in a wide range of habitats in Kenya where it is native and other countries in southern states of Africa, West African countries like Angola and the whole of Eastern Africa. The frog lives in forests, savannah, agricultural areas, and can thrive in heavily degraded forests.In Kenya, especially in Taita hills, the frog thrives in streams and rivers. The brown and green blotched appearance blends well with mud and vegetation. The species has long hind legs, webbed between the toes, and well adapted to swimming and jumping. The common frog feeds on worms and insects. It falls prey to crocodiles, snakes, and shoebills. Adults spend the day floating through vegetation and at times basking on rocks near rivers or streams. Water is vital for breeding. Whether it is standing or running waters, the frog lays single eggs in still small areas preferably from October to April. The hatched tadpoles take two years before maturing into frogs.
Mababe Puddle Frog
Mababe Puddle Frog (Phrynobatrachus mababiensi) is a species belonging to the phrynobatrachidae family. The Mababe frog is common in the Sahel of East Africa, South Africa, and West Africa towards Namibia and Angola. The frog thrives in subtropical and tropical biomes of the savanna, freshwater swamps, and marshes, lakes, and rivers. The frog can also survive in agricultural lands, gardens, water storage areas, ponds, canals, and ditches. The frog is naturally small with colorations and markings. These frogs spend the dry period in aestivation. Advertisement or mating calls are strongest at dusk and diminish at nightfall or continuous during the rainy season. The young juveniles metamorphose after five weeks. There are no records of extinction since it is not harvested for anything.
Denhardt's African Caecilian
The Denhardt's African Caecilian (Boulengerula denhardti) belongs to the Caeciliidae family. The amphibian is native to Kenya and known only from type locality, in the Tana River valley and the farmlands adjacent to Ngaia Forest of Meru County. The amphibians survive in habitats of subtropical and tropical biomes of forest fringes and massively degraded forests zones. The species is oviparous in nature with direct development; the species skips the larva stage. It apparently resembles a worm with a protective layer of bone where the eyes should be, but the earthworm like amphibians is still capable of simple dark-light perception. There are also tentacles on either side of the head. The body of Boulengerula denhardti is adapted to burrowing. The primary amphibian threat is habitat loss due to expanding agriculture and farming practices like use of pesticides and herbicides and expanding human settlements.
Mozambique Ridged Frog
Mozambique Ridged Frog (Ptychadena mossambica) is a species of the Ptychadenidae family. The species lives in altitudinal ranges of 200-1200 meters above sea level. The frog species is widely distributed in Kenya, through Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, South Africa states and westwards towards Angola. The frog exhibits significant breeding assemblages in the dry savannahs, bushland, grassland, and wet savannahs and forest fringes. It can also survive in altered habitats. The frog breeds in pans, and dams, following intermittent or permanent water, and inundated grassland. The grass frog is adapted to swimming and jumping and crawls easily through dense plants. They have strong hind legs capable of launching them up to 3 meters in the air with every single bound. The forelegs are comparatively short. The frog has a dark gray-brown or greenish background. The frogs prefer pools but hide in cracks and crevices underlying drying mud. When scared they conceal themselves in the nearby vegetation by crawling underneath. Ptychadena mossambica has sexual dimorphism with the animal pole of the egg as dark gray and the vegetative pole as creamy yellow-white. The frog is an adaptable species facing no significant threats.
Taita Warty Frog
The Taita Warty Frog (Callulina dawida) is a large spotted Kassina found in bushes and trees in the lowlands of Kenya. The dorsum is gray with oval dots. The frog lays its eggs in submerged vegetation and tadpoles have long tails. The legs, groin, and armpits are red in color. The Taita Warty Frog will eat anything when feeding including each other. Their mating calls resemble a repetitive loud clap. The species is nocturnal and evade humans by burrowing in loose mud or concealing in dense vegetation. At night they climb trees and shrubs to feed. They walk on hind limbs instead of the traditional frog hopping.
Kenya has many amphibian species. Some are threatened others are adaptable and extinction is almost impossible.There are very few conservative areas in Kenya for amphibians because the species are not harvested for anything in the country. Water is crucial to the survival of amphibians. Whether stagnant or flowing or soil seepage, every habitat should have water since breeding, and the amphibian body needs water. Most frogs feed on insects.