Hyperolius ocellatus
Golden-eyed Reed Frog
family: Hyperoliidae

© 2007 Twan Leenders (1 of 50)

  hear Fonozoo call

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Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
See IUCN account.
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None


A small Hyperolius (males 20–27 mm, females 23–34 mm) from the central parts of Africa. Phase J apple green with a light triangle on the snout and broad silverish dorsolateral stripes. Phase F dense silverish grey with minute black spots. Ventrum yellow. This is the only central African Hyperolius where phase J always has a light triangle on the snout. This species undergoes metachrosis. Coloration by night: Phase J iron red including the lighter canthal triangle and the dorsolateral lines. The ground colour of phase F is also reddish.

The species shows some geographical variation, and has been split into two subspecies, which, however, may not reflect the considerable variation within the species:

H. o. ocellatus from Cameroun west of the Sanaga river. Some males have the phase F coloration. Female phase with small spots, not ocellated, and with marbled or spotted ventrum.

H. o. purpurescens Laurent 1943. East and south of Sanaga river. All males with light triangle on snout and dorsolateral lines (phase J). Females with larger, fewer spots on blue-green background and ventral surfaces unspotted.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Uganda

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
An abundant and widely distributed bushland form from forested areas in south-eastern Nigeria east of Cross River, Cameroun, Fernando Po, Gabon, Rep. Congo, Angola and R. D. Congo to Kivu.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Breeding takes place in small swamps in the forest. The voice is a fine twittering, consisting of a small number of figures with an indistinct frequency-intensity maximum at about 3800–4000 cps.

This species shows developmental changes in patterning, with two phases, J (juveniles and many mature males) and F (mature females and some mature males). All newly metamorphosed individuals are phase J, which is normally brownish to green with paired light dorsolateral lines, or an hourglass pattern. All females, and some males, develop into phase F before the first breeding season. Phase F is often colorful and variable, showing the diagnostic color characteristics for the species or subspecies. Either well-defined morphs may be present, or graded variation.

This account was taken from "Treefrogs of Africa" by Arne Schiøtz with kind permission from Edition Chimaira publishers, Frankfurt am Main.


Schiøtz, A. (1999). Treefrogs of Africa. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main.

Written by Arne Schiøtz (arne AT, *
First submitted 2001-01-10
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2008-09-10)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Hyperolius ocellatus: Golden-eyed Reed Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 26, 2016.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2016. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 26 Oct 2016.

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