Strawberry Rain Frog (Breviceps acutirostris)

View the above photo record (by J Heymans) in FrogMAP here.

Find the Strawberry Rain Frog in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Breviceptidae

STRAWBERRY RAIN FROG – Breviceps acutirostris

Poynton, 1963


B. acutirostris occurs only in areas of high precipitation in uplands and mountains, both in Mountain Fynbos and in Afromontane Forest. Where mountains reach the coast, the species can occur at sea level (e.g. Betty’s Bay 3418BD; Grootbos 3419CB). The soils in these habitats are coarse, acidic sands derived from Table Mountain Sandstone, frequently admixed with peaty deposits.


Calling occurs both at night and during the day, usually during and after rain showers in winter and spring (June–November), but dense mist may be sufficient to stimulate calling. In Grootvadersbosch forest, males have been observed calling from above the ground, on top of logs (C.N. Spottiswoode pers. comm.; H. Braack pers. comm). In fynbos, the species has been found calling above ground in dense vegetation (M. Burger pers. comm), and from short burrows situated below low, covering vegetation (pers. obs.). Adhesive amplexus is employed during mating.

Breviceps acutirostris – Landdroskop, Western Cape
Photo by Felicity Grundlingh

An amplexed pair, with a freshly laid egg mass comprising 24 eggs, was unearthed in Mountain Fynbos in the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, on 22 October 1986 (D. McDonald pers. comm.). The pair was found in a chamber at the lower end of a network of tunnels covering an area of about 1 m2. Some branches of the tunnels ended blindly while others formed loops off the main tunnel leading to the egg chamber. The nest site was located on a cool, moist slope in sandy loam soil, covered by prostrate Cliffortia ferruginea. The eggs measured 6.5–7.8 mm (mean = 7) in diameter (L.R. Minter unpubl. data).

Little is known about the biology of this species. Studies of the differences in call structure and habitat partitioning between B. acutirostris and B. fuscus, in areas of sympatry, would be of particular interest.

Status and Conservation

The montane habitat of B. acutirostris is generally little disturbed and occurs within a number of protected areas such as the Marloth Nature Reserve, Boosmansbos Wilderness Area and Grootvadersbosch State Forest. This species is not threatened.

Breviceps acutirostris – Grootvadersbosch, Western Cape
Photo by Trevor Hardaker


B. acutirostris is restricted to the southwestern ranges of the Cape fold mountains. The most westerly range in which it occurs is the Hottentotsholland Mountains (3318DD, 3418BB), the most easterly the Langeberg Mountains (3321CD); these ranges also represent the northern limits of the species. The map indicates a gap in distribution corresponding to the eastern Hottentotsholland and Riviersonderend mountains; this apparent absence requires confirmation. The species does not occur on the Cape Peninsula. The eastern extremities of its range overlap that of B. fuscus.

The atlas records are reliable, but sparse. Additional surveys may fill some of the gaps, especially in mountainous areas not adequately covered during the atlas project. The advertisement calls of B. acutirostris and B. fuscus are quite similar in structure (Passmore and Carruthers 1995; Channing 2001) although the call rate is distinctly faster in acutirostris (L.R. Minter pers. obs). In areas where both species may occur, aural records should have been supported by tape recordings of the calls, and by voucher specimens. This was seldom done, resulting in the possibility of some misidentifications.

Distribution of Breviceps acutirostris. Taken from the FrogMAP database, April 2022.

Further Resources

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

More common names: Cape Short-headed Frog (Alternative English Name); Aarbei-blaasoppadda (Afrikaans)

Recommended citation format for this species text:

Harrison JA, Tippett RM. Strawberry Rain Frog Breviceps acutirostris. BDI, Cape Town.
Available online at

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:

Harrison JA 2004 Breviceps acutirostris Strawberry Rain 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!