We report direct development for toads of the bufonid genus Oreophrynella, endemic to the tepuis of the Guayanan Highlands. Tepui toads place few (9-13), large (-3 mm diameter) eggs in a single or communal terrestrial nest. One communal nest found on Kukenan-tepui contained 102 toads (70 males, 30 females, 2 hatchlings) and 321 eggs in clumps of 8-35. All viable clutches from Kukenan were attended by an adult. One clutch of 13 eggs from Ilu-tepui was without an attendant adult. Calls of Kukenan males consist of 9-16 partially pulsed notes given at a rate of 5-7 notes per second. Calls and notes were modulated and increased or decreased in frequency; dominant frequencies of the calls ranged between 2650-3650 Hz. Tepui toads are diurnal, rock dwellers with a slow, deliberate walking gait. An unusual balling and tumbling behavior and bright colored venter may be associated with predator avoidance in some populations. Remarkable parallels in reproductive ecology and behavior between Oreophynella and montane populations of the African bufonid Nectophrynoides are noted.
Additional publication details
Aspects of the reproductive ecology and behavior of the tepui toads, genus Oreophrynella (Anura: Bufonidae)