AmphibiaWeb - Hyperolius pusillus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Hyperolius pusillus (Cope, 1862)
Water Lily Reed Frog, Umgqagqa weminduzea (Zulu)
family: Hyperoliidae
genus: Hyperolius
Species Description: Cope, E. D. (1862). Notes upon some reptiles of the Old World. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 14: 337–344.
Hyperolius pusillus
© 2008 Frank Teigler (1 of 19)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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A small flat green Hyperolius (males 16-20 mm) from the eastern lowlands. Dorsum translucent green, sometimes with dark dots. A fine dark canthal and dorsolateral line is often present. Throat of males white, of females green. Eye golden. Pupil horizontal. Populations vary somewhat, thus the specimens found in the dry savanna in Kenya are larger and with a conspicuous hourglass pattern. Similar specimens are found in drier parts of eastern Zimbabwe. H. pusillus can closely resemble males of the larger H. argus; for a comparison with H. viridis see account for that species.

The young tadpoles are green, the older ones greenish brown with light ventrum and a black tail tip. Size 35 mm (10+25). Tooth formula 1/3.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, United Republic of

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Found in open swamp vegetation in the eastern lowlands from southernmost coastal Somalia to KwaZulu-Natal.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Hyperolius pusillus calls from floating vegetation. The voice is a fast series of high-pitched screams with an indistinct frequency-intensity maximum at 2500-3000 cps. A strange feature that has been noted from Kenya and South Africa is that when expanded the gular sac produces two supplementary expansions.

The eggs, light green in colour, are placed in batches of 20-120 in a single layer between leaves of floating vegetation.

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


Phaka, F.M., Netherlands, E.C., Kruger, D.J.D., Du Preez, L.H. (2019). Folk taxonomy and indigenous names for frogs in Zululand, South Africa. J Ethnobiology Ethnomedicine 15, 17. [link]

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

Originally submitted by: Arne Schiøtz (first posted 2001-01-29)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2023-05-31)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Hyperolius pusillus: Water Lily Reed Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Jul 2024.

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