AmphibiaWeb - Hyperolius spinigularis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Hyperolius spinigularis Stevens, 1971
Spiny-throated Reed Frog
family: Hyperoliidae
genus: Hyperolius
Hyperolius spinigularis
© 2008 Erik Wederkinch (1 of 9)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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A Hyperolius from farmland and forest in the eastern highlands. Males are very small (18-24 mm) and the females are small to medium. Pupil horizontal. The males have black spines on the very flat gular flap, ventrum and ventral side of the hindlegs in the breeding season. Gular flap in males medium-sized, circular or wider than long with almost no loose skin surrounding it. Dorsum pale apple green or sometimes pale red-brown. A pattern in white or pale green seems to suggest two morphs, either with broad to narrow rather regular canthal and dorsolateral stripes or with a light triangle on the snout and a very irregular, often broken dorsolateral band.

A very characteristic feature is the many black asperities covering the gular flap, ventrum and hindlimbs of males; southern populations also have black asperities on the dorsum in both sexes. Stevens (1971) reports the surprising phenomenon that both the black asperities and the male gular flap seem to disappear outside the breeding season.

The tadpole has the usual tooth formula of 1/1+1,2.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, United Republic of

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Found both in dense, evergreen forest and in open farmland, but always at rather high altitudes. This is a most inconspicuous species, and has until recently only been known from two localities far apart (Usambaras and Mulanje) but a search for it at the Udzungwas revealed it both in forest and in very open farmland, and it may be found wherever suitable habitats exist in the eastern Tanzanian-Malawi highlands.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Although the gular flap is well developed, no mating call has been attributed to this species, but quiet croaks has been heard when males are forced together in a bag. The breeding season is brief. 150-200 unpigmented eggs are placed above but close to water. Stevens (1971) records that a female returned to her eggs over several nights to squirt water over them (hydric brooding) - a remarkable observation.

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


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

Stevens, R.A. (1971). ''A new treefrog from Malawi (Hyperoliinae, Amphibia).'' Zoologica Africana, 6, 313-320.

Originally submitted by: Arne Schiøtz (first posted 2001-01-29)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2008-03-03)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Hyperolius spinigularis: Spiny-throated Reed Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 26, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 26 May 2024.

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