Studies on the ecology and systematics of a new species of clawed toad, the genus Xenopus, from western Uganda



A new species of African clawed toad, Xenopus kigesiensis sp.n., has been recorded from Lake Mutanda in South-west Kigezi, Uganda. Information on the biology and morphological variation of the species has been compiled from a sample preserved in the field and from a collection of living specimens maintained in the laboratory. An analysis of the characters of the species has been conducted and its relationships with the six known species of the genus assessed.

In the early part of this century the clawed toad populations occupying the lakes of South-West Kigezi exclusively comprised a Xenopus laevis subspecies. It appears that X. kigesiensis sp.n. has recently migrated into Lake Mutanda and has replaced the previous form. Hybridization experiments have demonstrated the reproductive isolation of X. kigesiensis sp.n. from two subspecies of X. laevis. There is evidence of a change in the ecology of the lakes during the period of apparent invasion.

The locality of X. kigesiensis sp.n. lies close to one of the main watersheds of Central Africa; taxonomically the toad forms an important link in the series of known Xenopus species.