is a highly variable species that exhibits considerable polymorphism in color pattern. Some populations contain distinct morphs while in others there is gradation among extremes. It is widely regarded as a superspecies with more than fifty subspecies recognized. The subspecies are divided into two subgroups, parallelus and viridiflavus, based on variation in geographic range and coloration. There is some controversy about the taxonomy of that is discussed further in the other comments section.
is a small to medium sized frog species with an average mass of 2 g and body length of 15 to 30 mm, depending on the subspecies.
This species exhibits sexual dimorphism with males slightly smaller than females. Females are more colorful than males; their adult pattern is referred to as Phase F which is highly variable and contains several distinct morphs. Mature males frequently remain in the juvenile phase (Phase J), which ranges from brownish to green with paired light dorsolateral lines.
Members of this species have horizontal pupils, extensive webbing of the feet, a brief snout, and a very large, shagreened, gular flap. They lack an external metatarsal tubercle. Males have a large dilatable vocal sac. Females have a tranverse gular flap All subspecies have a subdermal dark bluish lateral streak caused by black pigmentation of the musculus obliquus abdominal muscle. This band is sometimes difficult to see if the sides of the frog are heavily pigmented. The band differs in placement between the sexes.
The subspecies have different coloration ranging from solid light green in the H. viridiflavus mwanzae to light brown in H. viridiflavus pantherinus to very brightly spotted and striped in H. viridiflavus tauniatus. The feet are frequently brightly colored. (Grafe, et al., 1992; Schiøtz, et al., 2004; Schiøtz, 1999)
breeds during the wet season. The length of the breeding activity varies among subspecies but typically lasts several months. Females have multiple clutches over the course of the breeding season. The average size of a clutch is 330 eggs. Eggs hatch after 2 to 5 days, and have metamorphosed into juveniles by 8 weeks of age. Juveniles of both sexes become sexually mature at 4 to 12 months old.
has been shown to experience protogyny, or female to male sex change, in the laboratory. The new males were able to fertilize the eggs of females. This likely occurs when the sex ratio within a population is heavily weighted towards males.
H. viridiflavus nitidulus that has survived the dry season in West Africa. Even under laboratory conditions, adult senesce quickly after the end of breeding activity. Males also experience high mortality because they are highly vocal and are therefore more susceptible to predation by acoustically-hunting predators. (Geise and Linsenmair, 1988; Grafe and Lisenmair, 1989)lives in an environment with widely fluctuating weather conditions. Shortly after the breeding season, these frogs face a severe dry season when they must rely on stored water. Adults do not handle this water shortage as well as juveniles. Adults do not generally survive the dry season, and in areas with prolonged dry seasons adults are probably annual. Linsenmair has never found an adult
These frogs utilize exposed calling sites and males exhibit territorial behavior during the breeding season at these sites. In order to maintain an individual calling site, males engage in intense and prolonged combat. During the dry season, (Geise and Linsenmair, 1988; Grafe and Lisenmair, 1989)aestivates. Juveniles estivate on dry vegetation in exposed positions, instead of burrowing in the ground. This behavior is unique among frogs. Only juveniles are able to survive the dry season; they do so by reducing metabolism and adjusting water economy. Adults are not able to make these changes and generally do not survive the dry season. Juveniles do not move, eat, urinate, or defecate during the dry season. Juveniles must rely on stored water for several months during the dry season so they must minimize evaporative water loss. The dorsal and ventral skin of is differentiated in order to maximize water conservation and uptake. During the dry season the skin turns white because of built-up purine crystals in the skin.
There is no information on home range for this species.
has a melodic call like a xylophone that is more tonal than that of other species in this genus. Their calls are a characteristic part of the African night sounds. Males have an exposed calling site and form choruses in order to attract mates.
Hyperolius viridiflavus nitidulus males have two distinct calls, a mating call and a territorial call. The territorial call is longer and deeper than the mating call, and lasts from 0.28 to 0.36 seconds and has a frequency of 0.98 to 2.6 kHz. The mating call is a short metallic click that lasts between 0.10 to 0.24 s and has a frequency of 2.04 to 3.43 kHz, depending on the size of the frog. Female cannot make sounds.
Members of this species use keen visual perception in order to capture insects. They have bulging eyes and horizontal pupils. (Bubac, 2009; Grafe and Lisenmair, 1989; Schiøtz, et al., 2004; Schiøtz, 1999)
This species is a part of the international pet trade although not at high levels. (Schiøtz, et al., 2004)
There are no known adverse effects of (Schiøtz, 1999)on humans. However, the Masai of East Africa have a superstition that their cattle will die if they eat these frogs because of their bright warning coloration.
Jennifer Brady (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Rachelle Sterling (editor), Special Projects.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
uses sound to communicate
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
to jointly display, usually with sounds, at the same time as two or more other individuals of the same or different species
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
fertilization takes place outside the female's body
union of egg and spermatozoan
mainly lives in water that is not salty.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
specialized for swimming
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
"many forms." A species is polymorphic if its individuals can be divided into two or more easily recognized groups, based on structure, color, or other similar characteristics. The term only applies when the distinct groups can be found in the same area; graded or clinal variation throughout the range of a species (e.g. a north-to-south decrease in size) is not polymorphism. Polymorphic characteristics may be inherited because the differences have a genetic basis, or they may be the result of environmental influences. We do not consider sexual differences (i.e. sexual dimorphism), seasonal changes (e.g. change in fur color), or age-related changes to be polymorphic. Polymorphism in a local population can be an adaptation to prevent density-dependent predation, where predators preferentially prey on the most common morph.
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
uses sight to communicate
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Wieczorek, A., R. Drewes, A. Channing. 2001. Phylogenetic relationships within the Hyperolius viridiflavus complex (Anura: Hyperoliidae), and comments on taxonomic status. Amphibia-Reptilia, 22: 155-166. Accessed February 19, 2010 at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/amre/2001/00000022/00000002/art00002.