AmphibiaWeb - Afrixalus brachycnemis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Afrixalus brachycnemis (Boulenger, 1896)
Lesser Spiny Reed Frog
family: Hyperoliidae
genus: Afrixalus
Species Description: Boulenger GA. 1896. Descriptions of new batrachians in the British Museum. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 6(17): 401–406
Taxonomic Notes: Formerly a subspecies of Afrixalus stuhlmanni (Pickersgill 2005; see species account) but recognized as a species (following Pyonton (2006; African Journal of Herpetology), Du Preez & Carruthers (2017; Frogs of Southern Africa, A Complete Guide) and Portik et al. (2019; Systematic Biology).)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

A small, slender savanna Afrixalus frog (males 15-21 mm, females 17-25 mm), from eastern Africa. The gular disc is rounded to transversely oval and weakly granular. Dorsal asperities abundant. Ventrally, asperities confined to the mentum. Above silvery yellow with a dark lateral band. There is a pair of slightly convergent dark lines from the rump over the back to between the eyes. Tibia has a dark band along its lower exposed surface and often an isolated longitudinally-biased dark streak in the lighter area but pattern is variable (Pickersgill 2007).

Distribution and Habitat

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


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Known from Malawi and eastern Zambia. Prefers grassy pools and marshes in humid shrub land, mixed farmland and savanna (IUCN 2006).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The eggs are placed on grass leaves but observations indicate that the leaves are not glued together (Schiøtz 1999).


IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2006. Global Amphibian Assessment: Afrixalus stuhlmanni. Accessed on 23 August 2008.

Pickersgill, M. (2005). ''The taxonomy and ethology of the Afrixalus stuhlmanni complex (Anura: Hyperoliidae).'' Steenstrupia, 29(1), 1-38.

Pickersgill, M. (2007). Frog Search: Results of Expeditions to Southern and Eastern Africa. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main.

Poynton, J. (2006). ''On dwarf spiny reedfrogs in Tanzanian eastern lowlands (Anura : Afrixalus) : short communication.'' African Journal of Herpetology, 55(2), 167-169.

Poynton, J. C. and Broadley, D. G. (1987). ''Amphibia Zambesiaca 3. Rhacophoridae and Hyperoliidae.'' Annals of the Natal Museum, 28, 161-229.

Schiøtz, A. (1974). ''Revision of the genus Afrixalus (Anura) in Eastern Africa.'' Vedenskabelige Meddelelser fra Dansk Naturhistorisk Forening, 137, 9-18.

Edited by: Michelle S. Koo (2023-11-10)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Afrixalus brachycnemis: Lesser Spiny Reed Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 22, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 Feb 2024.

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