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Xenopus laevis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AMPHIBIA ANURA PIPIDAE

Scientific Name: Xenopus laevis
Species Authority: (Daudin, 1802)
Common Name(s):
English Platanna, Common Clawed Toad, Clawed Frog, Clawed Toad, Common Clawed Frog, African Clawed Toad, Common Platanna, African Clawed Frog, Smooth Clawed Frog, Upland Clawed Frog
Synonym(s):
Bufo laevis Daudin, 1802
Dactylethera boiei (Wagler, 1827)
Dactylethra bufonia (Merrem, 1820)
Dactylethra capensis Cuvier, 1830
Dactylethra delalandii Cuvier, 1849
Dactylethra laevis (Daudin, 1802)
Engystoma laevis (Daudin, 1802)
Leptopus boiei (Wagler, 1827)
Leptopus oxydactylus Mayer, 1835
Pipa africana Mayer, 1835
Pipa bufonia Merrem, 1820
Pipa laevis (Daudin, 1802)
Tremeropugus typicus Smith, 1831
Xenopus boiei Wagler, 1827
Xenopus laevis subspecies bunyoniensis Loveridge, 1932
Xenopus laevis subspecies sudanensis Perret, 1966
Taxonomic Notes: Channing and Howell (2006) and Pickersgill (2007) treated the East African X. l. victorianus as a species in its own right, and we follow that arrangement. However, this leaves the odd situation of X. laevis being a southern African species, but with an isolated subspecies, X. l. sudanensis, in north-central Africa (which probably also needs to be recognized as a full species).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Tinsley, R., Minter, L., Measey, J., Howell, K., Veloso, A., Núñez, H. & Romano, A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N. & Temple, H.J. (Global Amphibian Assessment)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern in view of its very wide distribution, its tolerance of a broad range of habitats, its presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
History:
2008 Least Concern (IUCN 2008)
2008 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The range of this species is unclear following the removal from Xenopus victorianus from X. laevis. For the purposes of this assessment we have assumed that all animals from southern Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique southwards (including in almost all of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland) belong to X. laevis. In addition we treat all animals in Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo west of 28ºE as belonging to X. l. sudanensis. Records from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo east of 28ºE refer to this X. victorianus. There is an isolated record from Gabon (M. Beier pers. comm. January 2006).

It is introduced in several places outside its native range, including the USA where it was first introduced in the 1930s and 1940s for laboratory use and later as an aquarium pet. It was introduced and established locally in California (San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Imperial counties) and Arizona (Tucson area) (Stebbins 1985, Lafferty ad Page 1997). It has been recorded from, but it is not established in Colorado. It has also been introduced to Chile (introduced in the 1970s to central Chile, Valparaiso to Concepción Provinces), parts of the United Kingdom (extant in south Wales and presumed extirpated from the Isle of Wight [not mapped here], and a number of occasional records from other locations [not mapped], the Departments of Deux-Sèvres and Maine et Loire in France and Java (Indonesia) [not mapped here]. It is introduced also in the Lage stream, about 20 km W of Lisbon, Portugal (Rebelo et al. 2007) and there is a large invasive population in Sicily (Lillo et al. 2005, Faraone et al. 2008) [not mapped here]. It is presumed to occur in southwestern Sudan, but there do not appear to be confirmed records from this country (there is an uncertain record assigned to X. l. sudanensis from Jebel Marrah, Sudan (M. Beier pers. comm. January 2006) [not mapped here]). Records from Congo refer to X. petersii. Its range is also extending in parts of Africa, often by introduction because it is used for live bait, and it has spread extensively in South Africa. This species ranges from sea-level up to 3,000 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Angola (Angola); Botswana; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Gabon; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; South Africa; South Sudan; Swaziland; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Introduced:
Chile; France; Indonesia; Italy (Sicilia); Mexico; Portugal; United Kingdom; United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is an extremely abundant, and often increasing, species.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a water-dependent species occurring in a very wide range of habitats, including heavily modified anthropogenic habitats. It lives in all sorts of waterbodies, including streams, but tends to avoid large rivers, and waterbodies with predatory fish. It reaches its highest densities in eutrophic water. It breeds in water; there are no records of it breeding in flowing water. It has very high reproductive potential. It is a highly opportunistic species, and colonizes newly recreated, apparently isolated, waterbodies with ease. It can migrate in large numbers when breeding ponds start to dry up, and the weather is wet.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is harvested and traded both for human consumption and research.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is very successful and adaptable, and is an invasive species in many areas. Recent studies show that it is not impacted by the herbicide atrazine. Chytridiomycosis was detected in museum specimens of this species dating back to 1938, and it is hypothesized that the international trade in this species might have introduced this fungal disease to other regions of the world. The disease does not appear to have any detrimental affect on populations of this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It occurs in many protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

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Channing, A. 2001. Amphibians of Central and Southern Africa. Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London.

Channing, A. and Griffin, M. 1993. An annotated checklist of the frogs of Namibia. Madoqua: 101-116.

Du Preez, L.H., Solomon, K.R., Carr, J.A., Giesy, J.P., Gross, T.S., Kendall, R.J., Smith, E.E., Van der Kraak, G. and Weldon, C. 2005. Population structure of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) in maize-growing areas with atrazone application versus non-maize growing areas in South Africa. African Journal of Herpetology: 61-68.

Faraone, F.P., Lillo, F., Giacalone, G. and Lo Valvo, M. 2008. The large invasive population of Xenopus laevis in Sicily, Italy. Amphibia-Reptilia 29: 405-412.

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IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2009.1). Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 22 June 2009).

IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2009.2). Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 3 November 2009).

Joger, U. 1990. The herpetofauna of the Central African Republic, with description of a new species of Rhinotyphlops (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). In: G. Peters and R. Hutterer (eds), Vertebrates in the Tropics, pp. 85-102. Museum Alexandrer Koenig, Bonn.

Kobel, H.R., Barundun, B. and Thiebaud, C.H. 1998. Mitochondrial rDNA phylogeny in Xenopus. Herpetological Journal: 13-17.

Kobel, H.R., du Pasquier, L., Fischberg, M., and Gloor, H. 1980. Xenopus amieti sp. nov. (Anura: Pipidae) from the Cameroons, another case of tetraploidy. Revue Suisse de Zoologie: 919-926.

Lambiris, A.J.L. 1989. A review of the amphibians of Natal. Lammergeyer 39: 1-210.

Lambiris, A.J.L. 1989. The frogs of Zimbabwe. Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat. Torino, Monografia: 1-247.

Lillo, F., Marrone, F., Sicilia, A., Castelli, G. and Zava, B. 2005. An invasive population of Xenopus laevis (Daudin, 1802) in Italy. Herpetozoa 18: 63-64.

Loumont, C. and Kobel, H.R. 1991. Xenopus longipes sp. nov., a new polyploid pipid from western Cameroon. Revue Suisse de Zoologie: 731-738.

Measey, G.J. 1998. Diet of feral Xenopus laevis (Daudin) in South Wales, U.K. Journal of Zoology: 287-298.

Measey, G.J. 2001. Growth and ageing of feral Xenopus laevis (Daudin) in South Wales, U.K. Journal of Zoology: 547-555.

Measey, G.J. and Channing, A. 2003. Phylogeography of the genus Xenopus in southern Africa. Amphibia-Reptilia: 321-330.

Measey, G.J. and Tinsley, R.C. 1998. Feral Xenopus laevis in South Wales. Herpetological Journal: 23-27.

Minter, L.R., Burger, M., Harrison, J.A., Braack, H.H., Bishop, P.J. and Knoepfer, D. 2004. Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series No. 9, Washington, D.C.

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Perret, J.-L. 1966. Les Amphibiens du Cameroun. Zoologische Jahrbuecher fuer Systematik: 289-464.

Picker, M. 1980. Xenopus laevis (Anura: Pipidae) mating systems. A preliminary synthesis with some data on the female phonoresponse. S. Afr. J. Zool.: 150-158.

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Rebelo, R., Gil, F., Santos, C., Faria, C., Almada, V., Amaral, P., Bernardes, M. and Leitão, D. 2007. Xenopus laevis, a new exotic amphibian in Portugal. 14th European Congress of Herpetology.. Oporto, Portugal..

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Citation: Tinsley, R., Minter, L., Measey, J., Howell, K., Veloso, A., Núñez, H. & Romano, A. 2009. Xenopus laevis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 September 2014.
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