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Description

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Morphology: Bufo kassasii, or the Nile Valley Toad, is a relatively small toad with a maximum snout-vent length of 34 mm in males and 38.5 mm in females. The snout is short and somewhat pointed, and the tympanum is large and clearly visible. The parotoid glands are indistinct, spinose, and oval shaped. On the hands, finger II is longer than finger I. Hind legs are short, and some webbing is present between toes. The dorsum is quite granular and spinose. Ventral sides are also granular. The tarsal ridge is absent. Males have a subgular vocal sac and are considerably more spinose than females.

Coloration: The dorsum is light olive gray with paired dark blotches in the interorbital, pectoral and sacral areas. There is usually a thin white mid-dorsal stripe. Ventral sides are white, occasionally with dark flecking. The femoral area has crimson patches. Posterior thighs and the area under the armpits may also have crimson blotches. Overall, males are more suffused with yellow and have a reduced dorsal pattern compared to females. The throat is pale orange in males (Baha El Din 2006, Baha El Din 1993).

Bufo kassasii resembles B. steindachneri but is smaller and less spinose with an indistinct parotoid and a larger tympanum (Baha El Din 1993).

This species has been confused with Bufo vittatus in the literature up until 1993, when Baha El Din (1993) showed that the two species were distinct and that Bufo vittatus was confined to Uganda.

References

  • Akef, M.S.A., and Schneider, H. (). ''Reproductive behavior and mating call pattern in Degen's toad.'' Journal of African Zoology, , -.
  • Baha El Din, S.M. (). ''A contribution to the herpetology of Sinai.'' British Herpetological Society Bulletin, , -.
  • Tandy, M., and Baha El Din, S. (). Amietophrynus kassasii. In: IUCN . IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on March .

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Distribution and Habitat

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Bufo kassasii has only been observed in Egypt in the Nile Valley and the Nile Delta and the Fayoum Depression. The species is present all along the Nile, including in the middle of Cairo. Abundant populations have also been discovered in Luxor. Due to the establishment of reed swamps along river banks and canals in the wake of damming of the Nile, B. kassasi has spread upstream from its original habitat in the Nile Delta (Baha El Din 2006).

Unlike other Egyptian toads, Bufo kassasii is highly aquatic. It is common to densely vegetated aquatic areas such as reed swamps, rice fields, and overgrown canals. It has also been found associated with floating clumps of vegetation in the middle of the Nile River (Baha El Din 2006).

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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

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Bufo kassasi is seldom seen and even males calling close by are difficult to locate (Baha El Din 2006). Although the species is nocturnal, calls can be heard throughout the day, especially in spring and autumn (Baha El Din 2006). The distinctive call is simple and sounds like a rattle, averaging 3.46 pulses per call with an average call duration of 119.88 milliseconds (Akef and Schneider 1993, as Bufo vittatus). Although Akef and Schneider (1993) reported a lack of aggressive calls between males, Baha El Din (2006) states that antiphonal calls have been heard among males in the same area.

This species often occurs in very dense populations, especially in rice fields (Baha El Din 2006).

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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

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Aside from habitat loss and pollution in its vicinity, there are relatively few threats to this resilient and adaptable species (Tandy and Baha El Din 2006). It occurs within three protected areas within Egypt: Qarum, Lake Burullus and Nile Islands (Tandy and Baha El Din 2006).

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Nile Delta toad

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The Nile Delta toad or Damietta toad (Amietophrynus kassasii) is a species of toad in the family Bufonidae.[2] It is endemic to Egypt, where it is found from the Nile Delta to as far south as Luxor. Its natural habitats are swamps, freshwater marshes, arable land, urban areas, seasonally flooded agricultural land and canals and ditches.

Taxonomy

Between 1909 and 1912, several specimens of a small toad species were collected near Alexandria and were sent to the British Museum, where they were identified as Bufo vittatus (now Amietophrynus vittatus). No further specimens were found. In 1991, a new species of toad was discovered by Baha el Din near Damietta in the Nile Delta which differed in several particulars from B. vittatus, which is otherwise only known from the vicinity of Lake Victoria, and the original identification was called into question. The new species was described in 1993 as Bufo kassassii,[3] and has since been transferred to the genus Amietophrynus becoming Amietophrynus kassasii.[2]

Description

The Nile Delta toad is a small species, with females growing to a snout-to-vent length of 38 mm (1.5 in) and males to 34 mm (1.3 in). The upper surface is a greenish-grey colour with dark blotches between the eyes, on the shoulders and hips, and usually a thin white stripe along the spine. The underparts are white, sometimes with dark specks, and the hips can have dark red patches.[4] It has a long snout which is slender when viewed from the side, large distinct tympani (eardrums) and indistinct oval paratoid glands. The skin of the back is somewhat granular or may bear spiny warts, and that on the underside is slightly granular. The first finger of the hand is shorter than the second, most individuals have a red patch on the thigh, and males in breeding condition have an orange vocal sac. These and certain other characteristics distinguish this species from A. vittatus and from all other toads found in Egypt.[3]

Distribution and habitat

The Nile Delta toad was originally found in the Nile Delta in Egypt. It is a small, nocturnal aquatic species and is seldom seen, although its presence in an area may be known from the distinctive call made by the male. It occurs in swamps, rice fields and clumps of floating vegetation and has spread further upstream as reeds have become established along the margins of the River Nile and the canals associated with it. It is now present in Cairo and as far south as Luxor, where it is said to be abundant.[4]

Status

The Nile Delta toad has a total range of less than 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi), and although it is familiar in dense populations, it is rarely seen. But it has adapted to inhabit rice fields and cultivated land as well as its natural swampy habitat. It is present in several protected areas and faces no particular threats, so the IUCN has listed it as being of "least concern".[1][4]

References

  1. ^ a b Mills Tandy; Sherif Baha El Din (2004). "Amietophrynus kassasii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2004. Retrieved 2014-09-09.old-form url
  2. ^ a b Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Amietophrynus kassasii (Baha El Din, 1993)". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b Baha el Din; Sherif M. (1993). "A new species of toad (Anura, Bufonidae) from Egypt". The Journal of the Herpetological Association of Africa. 42 (1): 24–27. doi:10.1080/04416651.1993.9650367.
  4. ^ a b c Taha Jabbar (2009-02-24). "Amietophrynus kassasii". AmphibiaWeb. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
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Nile Delta toad: Brief Summary

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The Nile Delta toad or Damietta toad (Amietophrynus kassasii) is a species of toad in the family Bufonidae. It is endemic to Egypt, where it is found from the Nile Delta to as far south as Luxor. Its natural habitats are swamps, freshwater marshes, arable land, urban areas, seasonally flooded agricultural land and canals and ditches.

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