Frog of the Week

Mitchell’s Reed Frog (Hyperolius mitchelli)

Mitchell's Reed Frog
photo by wikiuser Coren

Common Name: Mitchell’s Reed Frog
Scientific Name: Hyperolius mitchelli
Family: Hyperoliidae – African Reed Frog family
Location: Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania
Size: 0.9 – 1.2 inches (23 – 32 mm)

The Mitchell’s Reed Frog has two distinct color phases J (juvenile) and F (female). All the frogs start out with the J color phase. Then before the first breeding season, all the mature females and some mature males change to the F color phase.

Females lay between 50 to 100 eggs on leaves overhanging water. Once the eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall into the water to complete their metamorphosis.

Mitchell's Reed Frog
photo by J. Walz

The Mitchell’s Reed Frog was originally described as a subspecies of the Spotted Reed Frog (Hyperolius puncticulatus) by British herpetologist Arthur Loveridge. He technically never says why he names it in his description of the species but he thanks Bernard Lindley Mitchell, a naturalist from the Nyasaland Game and Tsetse Departmen (this is 1940s)) for his information on herps in the area. The call of the Spotted Reed Frog and the Mitchell’s are different, thus they are different species.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Mitchell’s Reed Frog as Least Concern for Extinction because of their wide range and presumed large population.

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