Cape River Frog (Amietia fuscigula)

View the above photo record (by Alan Manson) in FrogMAP here.

Find the Cape River Frog in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Pyxicephalidae

CAPE RIVER FROG – Amieta fuscigula

(Duméril and Bibron, 1841)


A. fuscigula inhabits grassland, fynbos and karoo scrub in flat and mountainous regions. The species tolerates some habitat disturbance and is frequently associated with human habitation. Readily colonises farm dams, ditches and ponds.

Breeding takes place in shallow water along the edges of pools, dams, streams and slow-flowing rivers. These frogs breed in both standing water in both flat and steeply sloped areas. The same habitat is used throughout the year.


The adults spend the day floating among vegetation or basking on rocks above the water. Larger individuals may be found on banks or in vegetation above the water, leaping to the safety of the nearest pool when disturbed. This species has long hind legs and a fair amount of webbing between the toes, and is well adapted to jumping and swimming.

Amietia fuscigula – Oyster Bay, Eastern Cape
Photo by Gregg Darling

Males typically call from floating vegetation or from shallow water at the edge. Clutches of 400–500 eggs are laid in shallow, standing water. Tadpoles may grow to 165 mm in length.

These frogs consume large numbers of flying and crawling insects. In turn, they constitute an important prey item for otters, large birds and snakes.

Status and Conservation

This common species is found in most rivers, ponds, farm dams and other wetlands within its range. It is found in many protected areas. A. fuscigula is not generally threatened. The species is listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Amietia fuscigula – Groot Wintershoek Mountains, Western Cape
Photo by Andrew & Heather Hodgson


A. fuscigula is largely restricted to the Western Cape, where it is common and widespread. Extends marginally into the southern parts of the Eastern Cape.

The distribution data are comprehensive, but care needs to be taken in areas where this species may be confused with A. delalandii, A. poyntoni or A. vandijki. These species share a number of colour patterns, and smaller individuals of A. fuscigula may be confused with larger individuals of other Amietia species.

There is currently no map available for this species.

Further Resources

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

More common names: Kaapse rivierpadda (Afrikaans)

Recommended citation format for this species text:

Tippett RM.  Cape River Frog Amietia fuscigula. BDI, Cape Town.
Available online at

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!