Lake Oku Clawed Frog, Xenopus longipes

The Lake Oku clawed frog is native to and found exclusively in Lake Oku of Cameroon and is fully aquatic. The lake and surrounding forest are now a nature reserve along with several zoos set up with conservation measures to repopulate the species. This species is listed as critical on the IUCN list.

The male of the species can reach 1.5 inches while the female is slightly larger at 1.75 inches. All four feet are webbed and the toes and fingers are clawed, giving this species its name. The body is either grey or brown and covered with small black dots and tiny spinules. The throat and thighs are yellow-orange.

The head is short and rounded with large eyes located on top. An eyelid is located on the lower third of the eyes. This species does not have a tongue normally used for feeding, and has a bony voice box having two cartilages that produce a clicking sound to announce their presence and for mating purposes.

The Lake Oku clawed frog feeds by sucking in water that contain nutrients and small prey, particularly after a rain.

The tadpole of this species feed by filtration, positioning the body head down in the water and make rapid gulps while stirring up the water with the tail. It is dark in color and has barbels on each side of the mouth resembling small catfish.

Breeding has not been observed in the wild or in captivity, so there is little known about the reproductive nature of this species. In 2009, 88 specimens were transported into captivity where all males died during the transport.

Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Amphibia
Order:     Anura
Family:     Pipidae

Image Caption: Xenopus longipes. Credit: Václav Gvoždík/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)