Family Phrynobatrachidae

Phrynobatrachus acridoides (Cope, 1867)

East African Puddle Frog, Eastern Puddle Frog, Oostelike Modderpadda (A)

By A. Channing

Currently accepted name: Phrynobatrachus acridoides (Cope, 1867)
Type locality: "Zanzibar", Tanzania
Red listing status: Least Concern (IUCN, 2013)

Photo by Verburgt L.; Enviro-Insight CC, 2011. URL: FrogMAP: 2144


P. acridoides is widespread in eastern and southern Africa, ranging from southern Ethiopia and Somalia southward through eastern Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe, just reaching the northeastern parts of South Africa. Within the atlas region, there are several historical records from the coastal plain of KwaZulu-Natal near the Mozambique border. The call of this species is similar to that of P. natalensis, and recordings should be made for sonagraphic analysis to confirm identifications based on vocalizations.

No confirmed records were obtained during the atlas period. A record from Tzaneen (2330CC) requires confirmation and is not shown on the distribution map. Although pre-atlas data plotted on the map are reliable, the true extent of this species’ distribution in the atlas region is not known.


P. acridoides inhabits forest and wooded savanna, breeding in pans, ditches and flooded grassy depressions, often in sandy areas (Stewart 1967). It has been found at altitudes below 200 m on the northern coastal plain of KwaZulu-Natal. This area receives annual rainfall of 750–1000 mm.

Life history

Little is known of the life history of this frog. Breeding takes place in summer (January–May in Malawi). The males call from shallow water or damp mud, often concealed under vegetation. The eggs are small and dark and form a small mat just below the surface of the water (Channing 2001).

In East Africa, beetles form an important part of this species’ diet (Barbour and Loveridge 1928), while predators include the sand snake Psammophis s. sibilans and Oates’ Savanna Vine Snake Thelotornis capensis oatesii (Loveridge 1953a).


Although rare in the atlas region, this species is widespread further north and in no need of any special conservation action. However, because of the importance of protecting the full spectrum of biodiversity in our region, additional surveys should be undertaken in the northeast to determine the actual status and distribution of this frog within the atlas region.

Current distribution map

Undated records;  pre-1996;  1996 to 2002;  2003 to present


  • Web:
    FrogMAP. 2023. Phrynobatrachus acridoides (Cope, 1867). Animal Demography Unit. Accessed from; on 2023-09-24 04:09:06.
  • 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).