The grey foam nesting frog is found across the south of Africa.
Their name comes from their breeding habit. A female will deposit a substance in to the water which the males whip in to a foam with their back legs before the eggs are then deposited in the foam.
When exposed to the sun the skin of the grey foam nesting frog will turn white. This is an adaptation to prevent water loss.
Currently no major threats are faced by the grey foam nesting frog. They currently have a wide range and their population is considered stable.
Learn more about these amazing amphibians by reading on below.
Despite its name the grey foam nesting frog may be a range of colors including pale green, brown or grey. This is patterned with a range of light brown spots and lines across the legs and back. They have a slightly bumpy pattern to their skin.
When exposed to sunlight their skin will turn white. Their coloration helps to provide camouflage with the environment.
Their eye is large and features a horizontal black pupil.
Grey foam nesting frogs are well adapted for life in the trees. They have adhesive discs on the end of each toe to help them climb trees. These frogs can enter the water aided by webbing between the fingers and toes.
An average grey foam nesting frog will measure 5-9cm (2-3.5in) long. Females tend to be slightly larger than males.
Grey foam nesting frogs are carnivores which primarily feed on large insects.
Africa is the native home of the grey foam nesting frog. Here they can be found in the following countries – Angola; Botswana; Eswatini; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa; Tanzania; Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Their current presence in The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia is currently uncertain with the potential for them to occur in the extreme south of these two countries.
These animals are highly adaptable for a range of habitats. They can be found in savanna, shrubland, forest and grassland. Grey foam nesting frogs require temporary pools in which they can mate.
Grey foam nesting frogs may live alongside humans in agricultural land and suburban areas.
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Males begin calling at the start of the breeding season from a branch which overhangs a pool. Multiple males may gather at the same nesting site.
A male will clasp on to her and then mate. Once this is complete she produces a secretion which is then whipped in to a foam using his legs. She then deposits up to 1,200 eggs in to this nest. One or multiple males will then fertilize these eggs.
The outside of the nest will harden after fertilization to protect the eggs while the inside remains moist.
Eggs hatch between 4 and 6 days after being laid. The tadpoles then burrow out of the nest and fall in to the water below.
They spend a time living in the water as a tadpole before metamorphosing in to an adult frog which lives on the land.
Grey foam nesting frogs show a wide tolerance for sitting in the sun. Their skin is adapted to ensure minimal loss of water. It turns white when exposed to sunlight and prevents loss of water and heating up.
A watery mucus is also produced in the skin and emitted through glands to protect the skin.
Their droppings are also dry to help them reduce water loss.
Predators and Threats
Grey foam nesting frogs are a highly adaptable species and as such are not impacted by any major threats.
Small amounts of collection take place for the international wildlife trade.
Their wide range and adaptability means their population is considered stable.
This species is also known as the grey foam-nest tree frog or southern foam-nest tree frog.
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Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Kapenta, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Simon J. Tonge, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK
Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2005. Animals of Africa & Europe. London: Southwater.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2013. Chiromantis xerampelina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T58801A3074560. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-2.RLTS.T58801A3074560.en. Downloaded on 18 July 2021.
Fascinating Africa. 2021. Foam-nest tree frog – Fascinating Africa. [online] Available at: <https://fascinatingafrica.com/species/foam-nest-tree-frog/> [Accessed 18 July 2021].
AmphibiaWeb 2008 Chiromantis xerampelina: Gray Tree Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/4377> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 18, 2021.
Jungledragon.com. 2021. Grey foam-nest tree frog (Chiromantis xerampelina) – JungleDragon. [online] Available at: <https://www.jungledragon.com/specie/12887/grey_foam-nest_tree_frog.html> [Accessed 19 July 2021].