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Hogsback Frog, Anhydrophryne rattrayi

Hogsback Frog
Conservation status

Endangered (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Petropedetidae
Genus: Anhydrophryne
Hewitt, 1919
Species: A. rattrayi
Binomial name
Anhydrophryne rattrayi
Hewitt, 1919

The Hogsback Frog or Rattray's forest frog (Anhydrophryne rattrayi) is a species of frog in the Petropedetidae family. It is monotypic within the genus Anhydrophryne. It is endemic to South Africa.


This frog was initially discovered and described in 1919 by Dr. Rattray in the Hogsback Mountain region of the Eastern Cape, South Africa.


In addition to the Hogsback region, the frog is also found in the nearby Katberg, Stutterheim, Keiskamahoek and Peddie Mountain forests as well. Habitat is floor of forest and temperate grassland at an altitude greater than 1100 meters.


These small frogs are light-grey to dark-brown (sometimes coppery) in colour. Adults often have a thin pale line over the head and back, with two darker bands alongeither side. The belly is marbled (white and dark brown to black.) The female of the species is approximately 21 mm long. The male is considerably smaller and may be distinguished by a horny tip on their snout. The males have a short ‘ping’ call with up to 15 repeats in rapid succession though single ‘pings’ may also be heard. These calls are typically heard at night though the males are also active on rainy days.

The frogs live on the forest floor among damp vegetable debris, particularly near open water. Diet is principally composed of small arthropods e.g. forest fleas and woodlice.

Eggs are large (approximately 2.6 mm in diameter), white and enclosed in a jelly capsule about 6 mm in size. Up to 20 such eggs are laid in a nest chamber, the diameter of which is approximately 20 mm, with a 10 mm opening to the surface. The opening is covered with leaves. It is believed that the male digs the

Unusual amongst amphibians, the tadpoles mature out of water and indeed drown (they do not have gills) if they are transferred to a wholly aquatic environment. Nevertheless, the nest needs to remain moist for successful development. The tadpoles take twenty-six days to mature, at which stage they leave the nest as 4 mm ‘froglets.’


Due to declining natural habitat, the Hogsback Frog is currently classified as endangered.


* Minter, L., Channing, A. & Harrison, J. 2004. Anhydrophryne rattrayi. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 July 2007.
* Wager, VA. "Frogs of South Africa: Their Fascinating Life Stories." Delta Books, 1986.

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