Family Pyxicephalidae

Strongylopus fasciatus (Smith, 1849)

Striped Stream Frog, Gestreepte Langtoonpadda (A)

By R.C. Boycott

Currently accepted name: Strongylopus fasciatus
Red listing status: Least Concern

Photo by Hardaker T. & , 2012. URL: FrogMAP: 523


S. fasciatus is found in the wetter, relatively temperate parts of the atlas region. Its range extends from Bonnievale (3320CC) in the Western Cape Province, eastward through the Eastern Cape Province to coastal KwaZulu-Natal, and inland to Lesotho and the Drakensberg escarpment of Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces and Swaziland. It has a sporadic distribution in the high-altitude grasslands of the eastern Free State, Gauteng, North West and Limpopo provinces (Greig et al. 1979; Jacobsen 1989). The species frequently occurs at sea level, but many inland populations, for example in Swaziland, appear to be restricted to altitudes above 1100 m (pers. obs.).

North of the atlas region, S. fasciatus is found in highland areas of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique (Channing 2001).

This species is easily identified by its call. The atlas data are reliable and reasonably complete. The absence of recent records from summer-rainfall regions, such as Limpopo Province, may be due to inadequate surveying during the species’ winter breeding period.


S. fasciatus inhabits a variety of vegetation types in the Forest, Fynbos, Thicket, Grassland and Savanna biomes. It occurs in well-watered areas with annual rainfall >500 mm, and it is rarely found far from permanent water (Greig et al. 1979). It ranges mainly through the summer-rainfall region, but extends into the winter-rainfall region in the southwest.

In montane grassland, these frogs seem to prefer grassy areas and reed beds along streams and rivers and around natural vleis. They are also found in well-vegetated man-made dams and ponds and along irrigation canals. They can tolerate disturbance and have been found in urban parks and gardens, and at dams surrounded by alien vegetation, in commercial forestry plantations.

Life history

Breeding takes place mainly in winter, and seems to be associated with a drop in temperature. The first calls are usually heard in mid- to late February, but there are records of calling as early as January (pers. obs.). In Swaziland, peak calling occurs in March, April and May, and calling activity ceases in November (pers obs.). Outside the winter months, sporadic calling may be triggered by a cold front moving through the subcontinent. In the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, strong choruses have been heard in midsummer (M. Burger pers. comm.).

At some breeding sites only a few calling males may be present, while at others, large choruses may form with calling males separated by only a few centimetres. Males call from the water’s edge or from elevated positions in reeds and grass.

The eggs are laid singly in shallow water on the edges of grassy pools, streams and man-made dams. They soon gather debris and become difficult to see. Although clutch size is not recorded for S. fasciatus, a clutch of 64 eggs was recorded for S. fuelleborni in Malawi (Stewart 1967), and another of 44 eggs for the closely related S. bonaespei of the Western Cape Province (Cunningham and Henderson 2000). This suggests that S. fasciatus does not lay large clutches of eggs. Tadpoles reach metamorphosis in 4–5 months (Wager 1986).


S. fasciatus is widespread and common and is not threatened. It often occurs in remote mountainous areas, but also survives in suburbia and other human-altered habitats, and appears to benefit from agricultural activities (Greig et al. 1979).

Current distribution map

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


  • Web:
    FrogMAP. 2017. Strongylopus fasciatus (Smith, 1849). Animal Demography Unit. Acceesed from; on 2017-09-22 02:09:29.
  • 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).