Albertine Rift reed frog (Hyperolius discodactylus)

Albertine rift reed frog
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Albertine Rift reed frog fact file

Albertine Rift reed frog description

GenusHyperolius (1)

Hyperolius discodactylus is one of at least nine Hyperolius species endemic to the Albertine Rift, one of the richest sites for biodiversity in Africa (1) (3). In common with many species within this genus, it has moderately long-limbs and large toe pads that aid its largely arboreal lifestyle (4) (5). The smooth back of this species varies in colour between brown and orange and is sometimes dotted with diffuse dark spots. Underneath it is bright orange except for the male vocal sac which is bright green (2). The call of male Hyperolius discodactylus is a fairly long buzzing (2).

Hyperolius alticola.
Male length: 29 - 33 mm (2)

Albertine Rift reed frog biology

Very little is known about Hyperolius discodactylus or indeed about most of the species within the genus. In the wet season the reed frogs tend to gather near water, preferably smaller temporary water bodies, where they breed. However, very little is known of their whereabouts outside the breeding season (6). Most, if not all, Hyperolius species from forest habitats deposit eggs in a gelatinous mass on vegetation above water, while some savanna-living species lay their eggs aquatically (5) (6).


Albertine Rift reed frog range

Found in the Albertine Rift, encompassing parts of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, western Rwanda, western Burundi, and south-western Uganda (1).


Albertine Rift reed frog habitat

Hyperolius discodactylus occurs along streams in montane forests (6).


Albertine Rift reed frog status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Albertine Rift reed frog threats

In common with other reed frogs endemic to the Albertine Rift, the distribution of Hyperolius discodactylus is severely fragmented and its population is probably declining because of a decrease in the quality and extent of its habitat. Wood extraction, habitat conversion for agriculture and encroaching human settlement are thought to be principally responsible for habitat degradation in the Albertine Rift (1).


Albertine Rift reed frog conservation

There are no known conservation measures for Hyperolius discodactylus, but it is known to be present in at least three protected areas, Bwindi National Park and Ruwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda, and Virungas National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (1).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For more information on conservation activities in the Albertine Rift see:



Authenticated (06/02/2009) by a Global Amphibian Assessment Scientist.



An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.


  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2008)
  2. AmphibiaWeb (November, 2008)
  3. Wildlife Conservation Society Albertine Rift Programme (November, 2008)
  4. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Duellman, W.E. and Trueb, L. (1994) Biology of Amphibians. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
  6. Schiøtz, A. (2009) Pers. comm.

Image credit

Albertine rift reed frog  
Albertine rift reed frog

© Arne Schiøtz

Arne Schiøtz


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