The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Afrixalus fornasini
Afrixalus fornasini
(Fornasini's Spiny Reed Frog)

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Afrixalus fornasini (Bianconi, 1849)

Common name: Fornasini's Spiny Reed Frog

Synonyms and Other Names: Greater Leaf-folding Frog

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Native Range: Southeastern Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United Republic of Zimbabwe (Krysko et al. 2011).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Afrixalus fornasini are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†

Table last updated 4/24/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Afrixalus fornasinii lives in the savanna, possibly preferring dense savanna with larger bushes and trees. It is found in the coastal lowlands, but can be found up to 1,300 m in elevation. To the south, it is confined to coastal tropical lowlands of South Africa. Moist savannah, bush land, grassland, and dry forest are inhabited. Breeding occurs in permanent and semi-permanent pools, and marshes with reeds and sedges.  (Pickersgill et al. 2004; AmphibiaWeb, 2012).

Breeding begins in late September, and large choruses have been recorded in December and January. During the breeding season, A. fornasinii inhabits stagnant water bodies containing large stands of saw grass (Cyperus immensus) and cattails (Typha latifolia).  Males may call from elevated positions on sturdy, broad-leaved vegetation or from reeds; calling begins shortly after sunset and continues until around midnight. The call consists of an initial vibrating pulse followed by a rapid stutter. It has been compared to the sound of a small machine gun (Harper et al. 2010; Encyclopedia of Life, 2012a).
Eggs are laid over permanent water on reeds that are folded and glued over the eggs. Clutches contain approximately 80 unpigmented eggs. Hatching occurs 5 to 10 days later. The tadpoles are long and slender with flattened heads and a total length reaching 65 mm. The larval stage can last 75 days (Encyclopedia of Life, 2012a).

Means of Introduction: Pet trade.

Status: Presumably failed in Florida.

Impact of Introduction: Unknown. It has been reported that A. fornasini preys on eggs and developing larvae of other frogs (Drewes and Altig, 1996).

Remarks: The skin of A. fornasini contains chemicals called tachykinins, which deter some mammalian predators (Channing and Howell, 2006).

References: (click for full references)

AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. 2012. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available from: http://amphibiaweb.org/. Accessed 1/1-13/2012.

Channing, A. and K. Howell. 2006.  Amphibians of East Africa. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 418pp.

Drewes, R.C. and R. Altig. 1996. Anuran egg predation and heterocanibalism in a breeding community of East African frogs. Tropical Zoology 9(2):333-347.

Encyclopedia of Life. 2012. Afrixalus fornasini. Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed 8/12/2012 at: http://eol.org/pages/337448/details.

Harper, E.B. G.J. Measey, D.A. Patrick, M. Menegon, and J.R. Vonesh. 2010. Field Guide to Amphibians of the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Tansania and Kenya. Camerapix Publishers International, Nairobi, Kenya.

Krysko, K.L. and 12 others. 2011. Verified non-indigenous amphibians and reptiles in Florida from 1863 through 2010: Outlining the invasion process and identifying invasion pathways and stages. Zootaxa 3028:1-64.

Pickersgill, M., A. Schiøtz, L. Minter 2004. Afrixalus fornasini. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Accessed 3/5/2013.

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 4/17/2019

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Afrixalus fornasini (Bianconi, 1849): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=2866, Revision Date: 4/17/2019, Access Date: 4/25/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/25/2024].

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