Frog of the Week

Hairy Frog (Astylosternus robustus)

Hairy Frog
photo by wikiuser Gustavocarra

Common Name: Hairy Frog, Horror Frog, and Wolverine Frog
Scientific Name: Astylosternus robustus
Family: Arthroleptidae
Location: Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria
Size: 4.3 inches (110 mm)

The Hairy Frog lives in the western sub-Saharan coast of Africa. They get their name from the hair like structures that form on males during breeding season. Males also differ from females as they are significantly larger than the females. The frog is terrestrial but come back to the water to breed.

What makes these frogs interesting is that they have retractable “claws”. They aren’t true claws because they are actually bone not keratin. When the frog is threatened, they break their bones in their feet and the sharp bones project out. It is kinda like Wolverine from X-men.

Hairy Frog Reproduction

The breeding happens during the wet season when it rains the most. The male starts by calling out to the females. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The couple lays their eggs on rocks in streams. The male stays behind and protects the eggs from predators. The hair like structures that the male forms help them stay in the water to protect the eggs by helping increase oxygen absorption.


Recently moved into the genus Astylosternus from the genus Trichobatrachus.

Hairy Frog
photo by Marius Burger


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the Hairy Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a fairly large range where they have large populations throughout it. Sadly, the water quality in their range has been decreasing. Researchers aren’t sure how this will effect the frog. The people of the region also eat the frogs but probably not at a rate that could negatively effect the populations.

3 thoughts on “Hairy Frog (Astylosternus robustus)”

Leave a Reply