The Hyperoliidae, or sedge frogs and bush frogs, are a large family of small to medium-sized, brightly colored frogs which contains more than 250 species in 19 genera. Seventeen genera are native to sub-Saharan Africa.[1] In addition, the monotypic genus Tachycnemis occurs on the Seychelles Islands, and the genus Heterixalus (currently 10 species) is endemic to Madagascar.

Heterixalus alboguttatus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Clade: Afrobatrachia
Family: Hyperoliidae
Laurent, 1943

17 genera (see text)

Hyperoliids range from 1.5 to 8 cm (0.59 to 3.15 in) in body length. Many species have smooth, brightly patterned skin that almost looks enameled.[2]

Most hyperoliids are arboreal, but some are terrestrial, including several Kassina species that move by walking or running rather than hopping. Diets vary widely, with examples including Paracassina, which specializes on snails,[3] and Afrixalus fornasini, the only terrestrial frog known to prey on eggs of other species of anurans.

Breeding in this family begins at the start of the rainy season, where hyperoliids congregate at breeding sites. Most hyperoliids lay their eggs in water, although foam nesting, tree-hole breeding, and laying of eggs in vegetation above water are all known behaviors.[2] Afrixalus builds leaf nests for its eggs, by folding and gluing the edges of the leaves. Tadpoles are pond type larvae with large dorsal fins on their tails.

No fossil hyperoliids are known.



As of mid-2022, there are 17 genera with 224 species, more than half of them in the very species-rich Hyperolius:[4] The genera are divided between three subfamilies, with three genera unplaced.


  1. ^ Schiotz, A. (1999). Treefrogs of Africa. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt. ISBN 3-930612-24-0.
  2. ^ a b Zweifel, Robert G. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 100–101. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.
  3. ^ Duellman, William E.; Trueb, Linda (1994). Biology of Amphibians. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-8018-4780-6.
  4. ^ Frost, Darrel R. "Hyperoliidae". Amphibian Species of the World, an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History, New York. Retrieved 29 June 2022.

Further reading


Burton, R.; Burton, M. (2002). "Reed frogs" (PDF). Marshall Cavendish International Wildlife Encyclopedia. Vol. 15 (3rd ed.). Marshall Cavendish. pp. 2146–2147. ISBN 978-0-7614-7266-7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-29.