Painted Reed Frog

Painted Reed Frog, Botswana, Africa

Painted Reed Frog, Botswana, Africa

This tiny frog, also called the marbled reed frog, can be found in African marshes, reed beds, and other water sources.


An abundant species in sub-Saharan Africa, Hyperolius marmoratus are insectivores; they eat crickets and a variety of other small insects.


Their colors and patterns are extremely variable.  And although their psychedelic backs look wild and dramatic, this tiny frog blends in to the surroundings.


Knowing what to look for, our guide hunted around in the marshy grass and found this frog in an instant.


Less than two inches long (43 mm) and hidden on a reed, he was quietly resting in the sun.


Frogs are fascinating creatures for their calls.  This species spends the day basking, and then at night the male takes up his specific calling site.


He calls consistently from dusk to midnight.  This occurs for a few nights in a row, and eventually the female makes her selection.  The eggs are laid in the water, between 150 and 650 eggs.


More about the African painted reed frog here.


The frog has a relatively large vocal sac that amplifies his call.  During mating season when all the frogs are calling, the chorus is loud and constant.


Walking to my tent after dinner in the dark, the striking chorus emanating from the reeds (that are silent during the day) stopped me in my tracks. We visitors do not linger, however, outdoors in the dark in Africa.


Click on this BBC You Tube clip to hear and see this delightful frog.


A wildly-patterned thumb-sized frog that fills the African night with his earnest song…another reminder of the grandness of life on earth.


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander