AmphibiaWeb - Afrixalus fornasini


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Afrixalus fornasini (Bianconi, 1849)
Fornasini's Spiny Reed Frog, Umgqagqa omkhulua (Zulu)
family: Hyperoliidae
genus: Afrixalus
Species Description: Bianconi, G. G. 1849 "1848". Lettera al Dottore Filippo De Filippi, Professore di Zoologia a Torino, sopra alcune nuove specie di Rettili del Mozambiqco. Nuovi Annali delle Scienze Naturali. Serie 2. Bologna 10: 106–109.
Afrixalus fornasini
© 2008 Martin Pickersgill (1 of 29)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None


Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (11 records).

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 A. fornasini).
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

Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (11 records).
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.

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]

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 (2023-05-31)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Afrixalus fornasini: Fornasini's Spiny Reed Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 21, 2024.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 Jul 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.