A very large (30–40 mm) Afrixalus from the savannas of eastern and southern Africa; dark with broad light silverish dorsolateral bands from tip of snout to anus. The bands meet posteriorly, not anteriorly. About half the specimens in northern populations (Tanzania and Kenya) have the entire dorsum silverish white. Upper side of tibia white.
The males have numerous large conspicuous black-tipped asperities on head, back, dorsal surfaces of limbs and around the anus. The females have smaller asperities.
Pickersgill (1996) regard the populations where the uniform-backed specimens occur as a separate species, Afrixalus unicolor (Boettger 1913), without arguing for its specific distinctness.
Drewes & Altig (1996) have reported that A. fornasini preys on eggs and developing larvae of other frogs (Chiromantis xerampelina, Hyperolius sp. and
Voice. – A typical Afrixalus sound, but loud, slow and low-pitched as can be expected from such a large animal. The voice has been compared with the stuttering of a minute machine-gun by Wager. There is a slow, creaking initial sound followed by a series of figures at a rate of 5–10 per second and with a frequency-intensity maximum at about 2500 cps.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, United Republic of, Zimbabwe
Afrixalus fornasinii is a characteristic element in the savanna, possibly preferring rather dense savanna with larger bushes and trees. It is found in the coastal lowlands, but also on localities up to 1300 metres in Malawi (Stewart 1967). To the south it is again confined to the coastal tropical lowlands of South Africa.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Development. – The eggs are glued in a leaf, the tadpoles are large, up to 65 mm (17+48) and streamlined with a terminal mouth. Tooth formula 0/1.
Drewes, R.C. and Altig, R. (1996). ''Anuran egg predation and heterocanibalism in a breeding community of East African frogs.'' Tropical Zoology, 9(2), 333-347.
Pickersgill, M. (1996). ''The status of Afrixalus unicolor.'' Journal of the International Herpetological Society, (83), 91-94.
Schiøtz, A. (1999). Treefrogs of Africa. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main.
Steward, M. M. and Wilson, V. J. (1966). ''Herpetofauna of the Nyika plateau (Malawi and Zambia).'' Annals of the Natal Government Museum, (18), 287-314.
Originally submitted by: Arne Schiøtz (first posted 2001-01-08)
Edited by: Arie van der Meijden (2008-09-09)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Afrixalus fornasini: Fornasini's Spiny Reed Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/451> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jan 26, 2022.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 26 Jan 2022.
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