AmphibiaWeb - Poyntonia paludicola


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Poyntonia paludicola Channing & Boycott, 1989
Montane Marsh Frog
family: Pyxicephalidae
subfamily: Cacosterninae
genus: Poyntonia
Poyntonia paludicola
© 2010 Division of Herpetology, University of Kansas (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Near Threatened (NT)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Poyntonia paludicola is a small ranid frog that ranges from 23 to 30 millimeters in length from snout to vent (SVL). Adults have very rough and warty skin on their sides and dorsal surfaces. This species strongly resembles a bufonid, due to the rough skin texture, as well as an invisible tympanum and raised glandular areas behind the eyes resembling parotoids (Channing and Boycott 1989).

The holotype for this species is a male (SVL 29 mm) (Channing and Boycott 1989). The skin on the dorsum and flanks is covered with distinct glandular warts with pale perforations. Warts also occur on the head and limbs, but are smaller and less dense. Some warts even occur on plantar surfaces. A distinct postorbital glandular ridge of tubercles runs from the top of the head, behind the eye, then diagonally backwards to the angle of the jaw. The skin of the gular region is finely granular and lightly pigmented. The skin of the venter and underside of the limbs is lightly pigmented. The anal opening is directed posteroventrally at the upper level of the thighs. The testes have a black pigment and are bean shaped. The hind limbs are short and very robust. The upper arms of the front legs are slightly less robust than the hind legs and the toes are moderately webbed with discs being absent on the digits. The head is slightly narrower than the body. The snout appears to be bluntly rounded when viewed from the side and is truncate in profile. The nostrils are raised and rimmed, and the eyes are moderate in size, protruding above the head, with horizontal pupils. The choanae are round and the choanal diameter/interchoanal distance is 0.25. The tongue is in length more than twice its width and is notched posteriorly. There are no median papillae and vocal slits are absent. The tympanum are invisible. A raised glandular area behind each eye resembles the parotoids of a bufonid, caused by a well developed muscle covered by a thin layer of skin.

The top of the head, the body, and the upper side of the limbs are a dark grayish brown color. A pale to reddish vertebral stripe was seen in some individuals catalogued by Channing and Boycott (1989). A distinct white ridge occurs from the eye to the angle of the jaw. The underside of the body is pale and can be creamy to heavily flecked. The undersides of the limbs are flecked.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: South Africa

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P. paludicola occurs in mountainous areas of the southwestern Cape Province in South Africa. It appears to be restricted to the mesic mountain fynbos biome, southwest of the Breede River Valley. It is absent from the Cape Peninsula (Boycott 1990).

This species resides in shallow seepage zones, shallow streams along rocky outcrops, and marshy areas away from larger streams, river dams, or lakes. All preferred habitats occur on the upper slopes of the mountains of the southwestern Cape Province in South Africa (Channing and Boycott 1989). Seepage zones appear to be its optimal habitat, especially those characterized by low, water-loving bushes, grass tussocks, and clumps of reeds where the water depth remains constantly shallow (Boycott 1990).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Channing and Boycott (1989) described the P. paludicola tadpole as follows. The mouth is small, ventral, and not visible dorsally. A single row of mental papillae and many papillae in the angle of the mouth. Rostral papillae are absent. Suprarostrodont with lateral inflection, pigmented, with serrated margin. The nostrils are subcircular and rimmed with a small posteromedial flap. The opening is dorsal and the nasal passage is only visible anterolaterally. The width of the nostril/internarial distance is 0.14. There is no distinct pineal spot. The extraocular proportion is 0.25. The vent is close to the base of the tail. It is dextral and marginal and the opening is slightly scalloped. The tail is very long, 0.72 of the total length. The maximum tail height is less than the trunk height. The height of the caudal muscles at the base of the tail is 0.66 of the trunk height. The base of the tail is thickened laterally. The tip is rounded and heterocercal. The maximum depth of the dorsal fin is 0.7 posteriorly along the tail. The axis of the tail is extrapolated anteriorly and passes beneath the eye. The dorsal pigmentation is a light brown background with dark brown speckles. The fins are lightly pigmented. Ventrally, the covering of the gut coils is darkly striped. There are numerous small, white-tipped tubercles covering the top and sides of the trunk, extending over the anterior upper one third of the tail, apparently absent below the level of the nostrils and eyes. The canthral areas are raised slightly, giving the tadpole a flat-faced appearance.

According to Channing and Boycott (1989), male advertisement calls have been heard in the field in February, June, July, and August. It is suspected that breeding may occur throughout the year whenever environmental conditions are suitable. The males of this species put forth a unique advertisement call that sounds like a coarse “kruck-kruck-kruck” (Boycott 1990).

Trends and Threats
The seepage zones preferred by this species frequently occur on the sides and in the bottoms of valleys. Consequently, one of the greatest threats to this species is the damming of such valleys and the resulting flooding of their habitat. This threat has already caused a significant loss of habitat for this species in several locations (Boycott 1990).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline



Boycott, R. (1990). ''A new frog from the south-western Cape Province.'' African Wildlife, 44(6), 343-346.

Channing, A. and Boycott, R. C. (1989). ''A new frog genus and species from the mountains of the southwestern Cape, South Africa (Anura: Ranidae).'' Copeia, 1989(2), 467-471.

Originally submitted by: Kory Heiken (first posted 2005-10-25)
Edited by: Kory Heiken, Kellie Whittaker (2008-02-03)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Poyntonia paludicola: Montane Marsh Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 17, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Jun 2024.

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