Frog of the Week

Lake Oku Clawed Frog (Xenopus longipes)

Lake Oku Clawed Frog
photo by Josh More

Common Name: Lake Oku Clawed Frog
Scientific Name: Xenopus longipes
Family: Pipidae – Tongueless Frog family
Location: Cameroon
Size: 1.1 – 1.4 inches (28 – 36 mm)

The Lake Oku Clawed Frog lives only in Lake Oku in northwestern Cameroon. They are a highly aquatic species, spending most of their time underwater and only coming to the surface to get air.

Originally, there was no native fish in the lake, making it a perfect spot for the frogs to live but humans have introduced fish to the lake. These fish predate on the frogs and their tadpoles, causing population declines. Several zoos have started breeding them to make captive assurance colonies.

The Lake Oku Clawed Frog is listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Due to the frog only living in Lake Oku, the health of the lake is vital to the health of the frogs. Forest area around the lake has been cut down to make room for farms and housing developments. The loss of forests and increase in pollution from these projects degrade the health of the lake. Another threat to the frogs is the introduction of fish into the lake.

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