Striped Stream Frog (Strongylopus fasciatus)

View the above photo record (by Jean Hirons) in FrogMAP here.

Find the Striped Stream Frog in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Pyxicephalidae

STRIPED STREAM FROG – Strongylopus fasciatus

(Smith, 1849)

Identification

Habitat

S. fasciatus inhabits a variety of vegetation types in the Forest, Fynbos, Thicket, Grassland and Savanna biomes. It occurs in well-watered areas with annual rainfall >500 mm, and it is rarely found far from permanent water (Greig et al. 1979). It ranges mainly through the summer-rainfall region, but extends into the winter-rainfall region in the southwest.

In montane grassland, these frogs seem to prefer grassy areas and reed beds along streams and rivers and around natural vleis. They are also found in well-vegetated man-made dams and ponds and along irrigation canals. They can tolerate disturbance and have been found in urban parks and gardens, and at dams surrounded by alien vegetation, in commercial forestry plantations.

Behaviour

Breeding takes place mainly in winter, and seems to be associated with a drop in temperature. The first calls are usually heard in mid- to late February, but there are records of calling as early as January (pers. obs.). In Swaziland, peak calling occurs in March, April and May, and calling activity ceases in November (pers obs.). Outside the winter months, sporadic calling may be triggered by a cold front moving through the subcontinent. In the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, strong choruses have been heard in midsummer (M. Burger pers. comm.).

At some breeding sites only a few calling males may be present, while at others, large choruses may form with calling males separated by only a few centimetres. Males call from the water’s edge or from elevated positions in reeds and grass.

The eggs are laid singly in shallow water on the edges of grassy pools, streams and man-made dams. They soon gather debris and become difficult to see. Although clutch size is not recorded for S. fasciatus, a clutch of 64 eggs was recorded for S. fuelleborni in Malawi (Stewart 1967), and another of 44 eggs for the closely related S. bonaespei of the Western Cape Province (Cunningham and Henderson 2000). This suggests that S. fasciatus does not lay large clutches of eggs. Tadpoles reach metamorphosis in 4–5 months (Wager 1986).

Status and Conservation

S. fasciatus is widespread and common and is not threatened. It often occurs in remote mountainous areas, but also survives in suburbia and other human-altered habitats, and appears to benefit from agricultural activities (Greig et al. 1979).

Distribution

S. fasciatus is found in the wetter, relatively temperate parts of the atlas region. Its range extends from Bonnievale (3320CC) in the Western Cape Province, eastward through the Eastern Cape Province to coastal KwaZulu-Natal, and inland to Lesotho and the Drakensberg escarpment of Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces and Swaziland. It has a sporadic distribution in the high-altitude grasslands of the eastern Free State, Gauteng, North West and Limpopo provinces (Greig et al. 1979; Jacobsen 1989). The species frequently occurs at sea level, but many inland populations, for example in Swaziland, appear to be restricted to altitudes above 1100 m (pers. obs.).

North of the atlas region, S. fasciatus is found in highland areas of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique (Channing 2001).

This species is easily identified by its call. The atlas data are reliable and reasonably complete. The absence of recent records from summer-rainfall regions, such as Limpopo Province, may be due to inadequate surveying during the species’ winter breeding period.

Further Resources

Virtual Museum (FrogMAP > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name)

More common names: Gestreepde langtoonpadda (Afrikaans)

Recommended citation format for this species text:

Boycott RC, Tippett RM.  Striped Stream Frog Strongylopus fasciatus. BDI, Cape Town.
Available online at http://thebdi.org/2021/11/24/striped-stream-frog-strongylopus-fasciatus/

Recommended citation format: 

This species text has been updated and expanded from the text in the
2004 frog atlas. The reference to the text and the book are as follows:

Boycott RC 2004 Strongylopus fasciatus Striped Stream Frog. In Minter LR
et al 2004.

Minter LR, Burger M, Harrison JA, Braack HH, Bishop PJ, Kloepfer D (eds)
2004. Atlas and Red Data Book of  the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and
Swaziland. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, and Avian Demography
Unit, Cape Town.

Ryan Tippett
Ryan Tippett
Ryan is an enthusiastic contributor to Citizen Science and has added many important and interesting records of fauna and flora. He has been a member of the Virtual Museum since 2014 and has currently submitted over 12,000 records. He is on the expert identification panel for the OdonataMAP project. Ryan is a well-qualified and experienced Field Guide, and Guide Training Instructor. He has spent the last 18 years in the guiding and tourism industries. Ryan loves imparting his passion and knowledge onto others, and it is this that drew him into guide training in particular. Something that he finds incredibly rewarding is seeing how people he's had the privilege of teaching have developed and gone on to greater things. His interests are diverse and include Dragonflies, Birding, Arachnids, Amphibians, wild flowers and succulents, free diving and experiencing big game on foot. With this range of interests, there is always likely be something special just around the corner!

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