An egg clutch of the Tanzanian brevicipitid frog, Probreviceps m. macrodactylus, is described for the first time. The single clutch consists of 32 eggs and 21 infertile, jelly-filled capsules, tightly bound together by a thin, tough outer layer. The infertile capsules are concentrated toward the top of the clutch. The eggs were found in a dry season, and were perhaps likely to hatch at the onset of the short rains. The specific identification is confirmed through analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequence data. Eggs are yolky and large, about 8 mm in diameter (including capsule), suggesting that P. m. macrodactylus has a direct mode of development. The embryos observed were in an early developmental stage and showed the early division of the brain and anlagen of three pairs of visceral arches. Brevicipitid reproduction and development are poorly known, but a review of the existing literature and parsimonious optimization of simple characters onto a phylogenetic framework suggest that direct development is a derived condition characterizing the whole clade.
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Vol. 2007 • No. 3