Meristic and morphometric characters of Leptopelis natalensis tadpoles (Amphibia: Anura: Arthroleptidae) from Entumeni Forest reveal variation and inconsistencies with previous descriptions

Susan Schweiger, James Harvey, Theresa S. Otremba, Janina Weber, Hendrik Müller


The tadpole of Leptopelis natalensis is described based on a series of 32 specimens from Entumeni Forest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Previous descriptions are brief, lack morphometric data, or are based on specimens of imprecise origin. The tadpole resembles other Leptopelis tadpoles and is generally in agreement with existing accounts, although some differences exist. Some of these differences seem to fall within the range of natural variation. Others, such as the presence of a fifth anterior row of keratodonts, might be indicative of variation at the population level and should be considered in future taxonomic revisions. Leptopelis natalensis tadpoles seem to be most readily distinguished by their more narrowly keratinized beaks from the geographically overlapping or adjacent L. mossambicus and L. xenodactylus.

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