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Real vs apparent distributions of dwarf amphibians: Bufo lindneri Mertens 1955 - a case in point

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The literature records only four specimens identified as Bufo lindneri Mertens, and gives the distribution of this species as Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and a locality 23 km from Dar es Salaam. The discovery of a further fourteen specimens provides evidence of a wider distribution including S. Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique. B. lindneri is redescribed on the basis of this new material. It is suggested that specimens of dwarf species have often been overlooked, either because of their size, choice of habitat or cryptic coloration or a combination of these factors, leading to the erroneous conclusion that they are rare, or that the species has a restricted distribution. It is further suggested that dwarf species are of particular biological interest. They may be important as ecological indicator species, as indicators of distinct microhabitats, modes of reproduction and associated behaviours.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, British Museum (Natural History), Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD


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