oa Annals of the Natal Museum - Systematic and field keys to the families, genera and described species of Southern African Anuran tadpoles

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0304-0798



Tadpoles provide excellent characters for the identification of Anuran species, but have not yet received adequate taxonomic study. Attention is drawn to the unsatisfactory nature of some previous descriptionptions of tadpoles occurring in Southern Africa, and to some of the difficulties involved. A list of features useful for descriptionptions of tadpoles is given, especially of the details of structure of the tadpole mouth, and the terms rostrodont and keratodont are coined for certain cornifications forming part of the masticatory apparatus. These features are embodied in a framework of alternatives useful in descriptionptions. Keys are given to the families, subfamilies, genera and species of Southern African tadpoles as far as these are known. A diagrammatic field key is also provided. Only 6 species of Anura, other than Bufo spp. and Breviceps spp., found within this region are too insufficiently known to be included. Diagnoses of hitherto undescriptionbed tadpoles are given for the following species: Xenopus muelleri, Cacosternum namaquense, Cacosternum nanum, Ptychadena subpunctata, Pt. vernayi? Rana vertebralis, Stronglylopus hymenopus. The general literature on tadpoles is briefly surveyed, and a detailed systematic list of references is given.

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