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 Painted Reed Frog (1999)
(Hyperolius marmoratus)

Acrylic on illustration board
7" x 7"
Private collection

 Family Hyperoliidae -- the reed frogs

This family of around 19 genera is distributed through most of Africa, with a single genus, Heteraxilus, on Madagascar, and a single monotypic genus, Tachycnemis, on the Seychelles. Most species are small and treefrog-like, but the aberrant genera Kassina and Semnodactylus are terrestrial and walk rather than hop. Most hyperoliids lay their eggs in water, although foam nesting, tree hole breeding, and laying of eggs in vegetation above water are all behaviors occuring in the family. The hyperoliids are closely allied with the rhacophorids, and many taxonomists consider them a subfamily within that group.

  Painted Reed Frog (Hyperolius marmoratus)

On summer nights, around fresh water bodies through most of the eastern part of Sub-Africa, the short, sharp whistles of male painted reed frogs are common sounds. Descending from the trees in the evening, these beautiful inch-and-a-half-long amphibians deposit their eggs on the upper surface of submerged leaves. The males establish territories among the reeds, which they defend from rivals from dawn until around midnight, when breeding activity ceases, and the frogs return to the trees. This species occurs in a dizzying array of colors and patterns, and can be very difficult to identify. The individual depicted in the painting is typical of the subspecies H. m. taeniatus.