Breviceps fuscus, also known as black rain frog, plain rain frog, brown short-headed frog, and Tsitsikama rainfrog, and is a species of frogs in the family Brevicipitidae. It is endemic to South Africa. The specific name fuscus refers to the dark coloration of this species.
Distribution and habitat
The species is only found on the southern slopes of the Cape Fold Belt from Swellendam to the Outeniqua Mountains, at elevations of up to over 1,000 m (3,300 ft). It is a burrowing species inhabiting fynbos and forest fringes and does not require the presence of open water.
Breviceps fuscus have a round body with short limbs and toes. They grow to about 40–51 mm (1.6–2.0 in) in snout–vent length. Skin has no warts, but pronounced widely spaced granules or small tubercles and pitting are present. Colouration is typically dark brown or nearly black, with a slightly lighter ventrum and no pigmented patterns.
Males call from within burrows (sometimes while guarding eggs) and from above-ground vegetation. The call is a short (0.2 s) "chirp", with a dominant frequency of 1.8 kHz. The eggs are laid within burrows with small (15 mm) openings and about 30–40 mm deep. Each nest consists of approximately 42–43 yellow eggs that are 5 mm in diameter inside 8 mm capsules. Like frogs in the family Brevicipitidae in general, Breviceps fuscus show direct development (i.e., there is no free-living larval stage).
Breviceps fuscus is a locally abundant species but does not tolerate habitat disturbance. Habitat loss caused by afforestation, the spread of alien vegetation, and too frequent fires are threats to it. However, overall, its habitat is well protected and it occurs in several protected areas.
- IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (2013). "Breviceps fuscus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T57714A3062117. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-2.RLTS.T57714A3062117.en.
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- Vitt and Caldwell (2014), p. 513.
- Vitt and Caldwell (2014), p. 166.
- Vitt, Laurie J. & Caldwell, Janalee P. (2014). Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles (4th ed.). Academic Press. 757 pp.