Congo Dwarf Clawed Frog, Hymenochirus boettgeri

The Congo dwarf clawed frog is one of four species belonging to the African dwarf frog genus. It is native to central Africa and lives primarily in shallow freshwater creeks, flooded areas during the rainy season, and ponds. The Congo dwarf clawed frog can only live out of water for a short period of time, or it will dry up and die. It lives underwater and will only surface to take in oxygen. This species is often used as pets.

This species is very small, growing to an average of 2.5 inches in length. The body color varies from an olive green to brown with black dots. All four feet are webbed and clawed. The average lifespan is five years but some have lived up to 20. This species has lateral lines the length of the body for detecting movement in the water. This is how the Congo dwarf clawed frog locates their food and detects predators.

The Congo dwarf clawed frog is in the family of Pipidae, and all frogs of this family have no tongue or teeth. This species is a bottom feeder and will suck food into the mouth, also using their webbed feet to shove in more. The claws are used for tearing apart food into smaller pieces. The Congo dwarf clawed frog is a scavenger and will eat anything it can fit into the mouth.

The female is usually larger then the male. The male will grab the female around the abdomen during mating. Mating usually occurs at night after the male’s courting call which is a humming sound. The female lays the eggs on the surface and will be immediately fertilized by the male. This procedure can take several hours to complete. After the female lays the eggs she will signal the male to release her by becoming motionless for several minutes. After the male has released the female, she will return to her normal behavior.

This species is listed as least concern on the IUCN list.

Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Amphibia
Order:     Anura
Family:     Pipidae

Image Caption: Karlik szponiasty (Hymenochirus boettgeri). Credit: Mwatro/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)