Family Pyxicephalidae

Poyntonia paludicola Channing and Boycott, 1989

Montane Marsh Frog, Kogelberg Reserve Frog, Bergmoeraspadda (A)

By A. Channing

Currently accepted name: Poyntonia paludicola
Red listing status: Near Threatened

Photo by Loftie-Eaton M, 2012. URL: FrogMAP: 401


Status: Near Threatened (NT)


This species may be confused with the moss frogs, Arthroleptella, that are found in the same habitat. However, P. paludicola is larger, females reaching 30 mm in body length, and has a very granular skin. Behind the eye there is a raised glandular area that resembles the parotoid gland in toads, and a glandular ridge runs from the top of the head to the angle of the jaw. The dorsum is grey-brown, often with a pale vertebral stripe. One to three pale stripes run from the lower margin of the eye to the upper lip. The advertisement call is a harsh chirp, unlike the high-pitched calls of Arthroleptella.


P. paludicola is endemic to the Cape fold mountains of the southwestern Western Cape Province, where it occurs in two subpopulations (sensu the IUCN definition) in the Hottentots Holland/Kogelberg mountain complex and the Klein River Mountains (Channing and Boycott 1989). It is known from all altitudes between 200 and 1800 m wherever suitable habitat is present. Further fieldwork is expected to extend the known range. The atlas data are accurate but incomplete.


This species inhabits marshy areas, shallow seepage zones and shallow streams along rock outcrops in Mountain Fynbos. The rainfall in these areas exceeds 2000 mm p.a., and falls mainly in winter.

Life history

Once sufficient rain has fallen to produce shallow flooded areas, the males start to call. Calling may occur at any time of year in suitable weather conditions, but usually takes place from late summer to late winter. Males call from the edge of shallow water and from beneath vegetation in seepage areas (Channing and Boycott 1989). These frogs are beautifully camouflaged when among the mosses that are typical of their habitat.

The tadpoles have long tails and may grow to 32 mm in length. They hide in soft mud.

No records of predators or prey are available.



P. paludicola is assigned to the category Near Threatened (Harrison et al. 2001; this publication). The species has a restricted extent of occurrence (<5000 km2) and area of occupancy (<500 km2). It is estimated that its habitat had decreased in area by <20% over the last 60 years, and that the population size had declined by <20% over the same period (Harrison et al. 2001). These relatively minor changes may be explained by the species’ occurrence in generally rugged and inaccessible mountainous terrain. The conservation status of this species should be revised once more distribution data and information on habitat preferences and life history are available.

All known populations are located within protected areas, including Hottentots Holland, Maanschynkop, Vogelgat, Jonkershoek and Kogelberg nature reserves and the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.


Present and potential threats include habitat modification by too frequent fires, altered drainage, damming, and the loss of fynbos to agriculture, particularly tree plantations. Habitat fragmentation also poses a significant threat.

Recommended conservation actions

Distribution surveys and population and life-history research are needed for this species. Other recommended measures include habitat management, limiting factor management, and monitoring (Harrison et al. 2001).

Current distribution map

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


  • Web:
    FrogMAP. 2023. Poyntonia paludicola Channing and Boycott, 1989. Animal Demography Unit. Accessed from; on 2023-12-01 09:12:16.
  • 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).