Painted reed frog

Hyperolius marmoratus

Common name:

Painted reed frog

Scientific name:

Hyperolius marmoratus

Alternative common names:

Marbled reed frog, Ahl's African reed frog, variegated rush frog, striped rush frog. 

The painted reed frog is a medium-sized frog, the male reaching 43mm in length. It is a widespread and abundant species along the coast and at low altitudes. It is found in emergent vegetation at the margins of swamps, rivers and lakes in all types of savannah, grassland and bush, as well as many human-modified habitats, including cultivated land, towns and gardens. 

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Ranges from northern Mozambique, through eastern Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe to Swaziland and eastern and southern South Africa.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 3 in Western Cape. Not listed elsewhere.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

    How does it spread?

    It spreads rapidly into recently created waterbodies. The eggs are deposited directly into the water.

    Why is it a problem?

    There are no known adverse effects of these frogs on humans. Even though the species is indigenous to the country, it is considered invasive because it is outside of its historic range and has spread rapidly.

    What does it look like?

    Description: The painted reed frog is small to medium in size, the male reaching 43mm in length. The side of its snout is curved and the head width is 32-38% of its body length. The toes end in toe pads that enable the frog to climb up stems of grass and reeds. They have an enormous variety of brightly coloured markings, with a profusion of stripes, spots or stippling. Currently, populations are grouped by shared colour patterns into subspecies. Some may be pale brown with darker spots or striped with lighter and darker brown. Others may be striped with thick bands of black and white with a yellow stripe running down the centre, while still others have red-brown spots on a light background. Habitat: It is an adaptable species occurring in a wide variety of savannahs, grassland, thickets and agricultural land. Breeding: A Hyperolius marmoratus clutch consists of 150-600 small eggs that are between 1.3-1.5mm in diameter, and are within 2.5mm capsules. The eggs are laid in clumps of about 20, attached to underwater vegetation, during the rainy season. They are pale yellow with a dark brown end, although some have also been reported to be blue-green. In captivity, females are reported to produce eggs every two or three weeks for up to 14 months or longer once they reach sexual maturity. In the field this may be variable depending on the weather.