Family Arthroleptidae

Genus Arthroleptis Smith, 1849 (Family Arthroleptidae)

squeakers, kikkers (A)

By A. Channing

Currently accepted name: Arthroleptis sp.
Red listing status:

Photo by Evans Nick, 2013. URL: FrogMAP: 1072


The genus name is derived from the Greek: arthron =joint; lepto=slender. Arthroleptis is morphologically similar to Schoutedenella (Channing 2001), but the latter genus is not represented in the atlas region.

Two species of Arthroleptis occur in the atlas region and may be distinguished from similar species in the region by the presence of an elongated third finger in males, a fine mid-dorsal skin ridge, and a characteristic hour-glass pattern on the back. The two species may be distinguished from each other by the presence of an enlarged inner metatarsal tubercle in A. stenodactylus.


Arthroleptis occurs throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and comprises 13 species. The two species in the atlas region are restricted to the tropical east coast and the Limpopo River valley. The distribution data for this genus are reliable because both species have unmistakable calls.


Both species are associated with leaf litter in indigenous forest, including small forest patches and thick bush. They are common residents of established gardens, where they conceal themselves amongst leaf litter in well-shaded areas. The same habitat is used for feeding and breeding.

Life history

Breeding commences at the start of the summer rains and calling peaks after each rainfall. Small clutches of eggs are deposited beneath leaf litter where they develop directly into small frogs without a free-swimming tadpole stage. Predators are recorded only for A. stenodactylus, and only for areas to the north of the atlas region: these include a range of small snakes.


This genus is widely distributed and relatively abundant. Most species are not in need of special protection, although some may be locally threatened (see species accounts).


  • Web:
    FrogMAP. 2023. Genus Arthroleptis Smith, 1849 (Family Arthroleptidae). Animal Demography Unit. Accessed from; on 2023-12-01 08:12:04.
  • Book:
    Minter L.R., Burger M., Harrison J.A., Braack H.H., Bishop P.J. & Kloepfer D. (eds). 2004. Atlas and Red Data book of the frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series no. 9. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Published by the Smithsonian Institution and the Avian Demography Unit (now Animal Demography Unit).