AmphibiaWeb - Arthroleptidae
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Arthroleptidae

153 species in 8 genera

Commonly Called Squeaker Frogs, Long-fingered Frogs, Night Frogs, Egg Frogs, Hairy Frogs, Gabonese Forest Frogs, African "Big-eyed" Treefrogs


Cardioglossa gracilis
Photo by David Blackburn
(Click for family gallery)

These African genera were once considered part of the large Ranidae family, but have been shown to be sister to the Hyperoliidae (African Reed Frogs, Treefrogs, and Running Frogs). None of the Arthroleptidae are found on oceanic islands, with the single exception of Leptopelis palmatus which occurs on the island of Principe. Both the Arthroleptidae and Hyperoliidae are part of a larger radiation that is restricted to sub-Saharan Africa, which also includes the Hemisotidae and Brevicipitidae (the latter formerly included as a subfamily of the Microhylidae). Within the Arthroleptidae, subfamily taxonomy is still not fully resolved. Arthroleptids include frogs with a diverse range of morphology, ecology, body sizes, and life history. All of these genera can be found in forests, but Leptopelis and Arthroleptis can also be found in woodlands and moist grasslands. Members of some other genera are sometimes found in moist high-altitude grasslands.

All genera have tadpoles, except Arthroleptis and possibly a few Leptopelis species which have direct development. Tadpoles inhabit streams but some Leptopelis can be found in small pools. Adults and tadpoles of Astylosternus, Trichobatrachus, and Leptodactylodon are eaten by local people.

The Hairy Frog (Trichobatrachus robustus) is the most famous of the arthroleptid species, due to breeding males possessing highly vascularized and hair-like dermal extensions. These extensions are believed to aid in cutaneous respiration.

Written by David Blackburn, University of Kansas.

Notable Family Characteristics

  • Generally small frogs (less than 40 mm snout-vent length)
  • Most genera have tadpoles (exceptions are Arthroleptis and possibly a few Leptopelis species, which have direct development)
  • Unlike ranids, of which they were once considered, arthroleptids have cartilaginous sterna, (ossified in ranids)
  • Found in forest leaf-litter; Leptopelis and Arthroleptis can also be found in woodlands and moist grasslands.
  • Distribution limited to Sub-Saharan Africa
Detailed Family Account here
Arthroleptidae Richness map

Cartography Credit: Zoe Yoo, UC Berkeley
Range maps sources: AmphibiaWeb, UC Berkeley, and IUCN RedList

Relevant Reference

Zimkus, B. M., and D. C. Blackburn. 2008. Distinguishing features of the sub-Saharan frog genera Arthroleptis and Phrynobatrachus: a short guide for field and museum researchers. Breviora. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 513: 1–12.

Genus Arthroleptis (50 species)
Arthroleptis adelphus no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis adolfifriederici no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis affinis no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis anotis no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis aureoli no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis bioko no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis bivittatus no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis brevipes no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis carquejai no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis crusculum account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis discodactylus no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis fichika no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis formosus no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis francei no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis hematogaster no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis kidogo no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis krokosua no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis kutogundua no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis lameerei no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis langeri account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis lonnbergi no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis loveridgei no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis mossoensis no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis nguruensis no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis nikeae account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis nimbaensis no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis nlonakoensis account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis palava account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis perreti no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis phrynoides no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis poecilonotus account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis pyrrhoscelis account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis reichei no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis schubotzi no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis spinalis no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis stenodactylus account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis stridens no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis sylvaticus no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis taeniatus no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis tanneri no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis troglodytes no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis tuberosus no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis variabilis no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis vercammeni no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis wageri no account no photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis wahlbergii no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis xenochirus no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis xenodactyloides no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis xenodactylus no account photos no sound/video
Arthroleptis zimmeri no account no photos no sound/video

Genus Astylosternus (12 species)
Astylosternus batesi no account photos no sound/video
Astylosternus diadematus no account photos no sound/video
Astylosternus fallax no account photos no sound/video
Astylosternus laticephalus no account photos no sound/video
Astylosternus laurenti no account no photos no sound/video
Astylosternus montanus no account photos no sound/video
Astylosternus nganhanus no account no photos no sound/video
Astylosternus occidentalis no account photos no sound/video
Astylosternus perreti no account photos no sound/video
Astylosternus ranoides no account photos no sound/video
Astylosternus rheophilus no account photos no sound/video
Astylosternus schioetzi no account photos no sound/video

Genus Cardioglossa (19 species)
Cardioglossa alsco no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa annulata account no photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa congolia account no photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa cyaneospila no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa elegans no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa escalerae no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa gracilis no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa gratiosa no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa inornata no account no photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa leucomystax no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa manengouba no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa melanogaster no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa nigromaculata no account no photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa occidentalis account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa oreas no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa pulchra no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa schioetzi no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa trifasciata no account photos no sound/video
Cardioglossa venusta no account photos no sound/video

Genus Leptodactylodon (15 species)
Leptodactylodon albiventris no account no photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon axillaris no account photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon bicolor no account photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon blanci no account no photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon boulengeri no account no photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon bueanus no account photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon erythrogaster no account photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon mertensi no account photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon ornatus no account no photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon ovatus no account photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon perreti no account photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon polyacanthus no account no photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon stevarti no account no photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon ventrimarmoratus no account no photos no sound/video
Leptodactylodon wildi no account photos no sound/video

Genus Leptopelis (54 species)
Leptopelis anchietae account no photos no sound/video
Leptopelis anebos account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis argenteus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis aubryi account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis aubryioides account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis bequaerti no account no photos no sound/video
Leptopelis bocagii account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis boulengeri account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis brevirostris account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis broadleyi account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis bufonides account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis calcaratus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis christyi account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis concolor account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis cynnamomeus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis difidens no account no photos no sound/video
Leptopelis fenestratus account no photos no sound/video
Leptopelis fiziensis account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis flavomaculatus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis gramineus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis grandiceps account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis jordani no account no photos no sound/video
Leptopelis karissimbensis account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis kivuensis account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis lebeaui no account no photos no sound/video
Leptopelis mackayi account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis macrotis account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis marginatus no account no photos no sound/video
Leptopelis millsoni account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis modestus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis montanus no account no photos no sound/video
Leptopelis mossambicus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis mtoewaate no account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis natalensis account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis nordequatorialis account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis notatus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis occidentalis account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis ocellatus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis oryi account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis palmatus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis parbocagii account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis parkeri account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis parvus account no photos no sound/video
Leptopelis ragazzii account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis rufus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis spiritusnoctis account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis susanae account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis uluguruensis account photos sound/video
Leptopelis vannutellii account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis vermiculatus account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis viridis account photos sound/video
Leptopelis xenodactylus account no photos no sound/video
Leptopelis yaldeni account photos no sound/video
Leptopelis zebra account no photos no sound/video

Genus Nyctibates (1 species)
Nyctibates corrugatus no account photos no sound/video

Genus Scotobleps (1 species)
Scotobleps gabonicus no account photos no sound/video

Genus Trichobatrachus (1 species)
Trichobatrachus robustus account photos no sound/video


Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: https://amphibiaweb.org/. (Accessed:

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