Southern Foam Nest Frog

Chiromantis xerampelina

Foam Nest Frogs are excellently adapted to an arboreal lifestyle, living near seasonal and permanent water in the savanna biome and often seen inside houses and other buildings in these parts. At 9cm in length, adult females are slightly larger than males.

During spring and summer Foam Nest Frogs congregate around pools of standing water to mate. The female secretes a fluid from her oviducts and then, using their hind legs in a process that may take several hours, she and the attending males churn it into a thick white foam ball that attaches to a branch or other structure hanging over the water and in which up to 1,200 eggs, fertilised by several of the present males, are then laid. At times the mating frogs congregate in large groups creating enormous, collaborative foam nests. Inside the foam balls, now with a hardened outer edge and looking very meringue-like, the eggs and newly hatched tadpoles are kept moist and safe from smaller predators. When they are a few days old the tadpoles drop from the foam ball into the water to find food and complete their metamorphosis.

In South Africa, Foam Nest Frogs are commonly encountered in the north of Kwazulu-Natal, the lowveld of Mpumalanga and widely through the bushveld regions of Limpopo. They are also distributed widely over much of the rest of southern, central and eastern Africa. The IUCN considers it to be of least concern.

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25 thoughts on “Southern Foam Nest Frog

  1. naturebackin

    I have marvelled at the nests before, especially those built over dry land accurately predicting imminent rising waters for the tadpoles to fall into, in time. But I have not seen the actual frogs until seeing your photos – the frog is such a cutey!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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