Painted Frog Fact File

Discoglossus pictus

Credit: kogia, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons








Wild 10 years

Captive 10 years




Conservation Status


Least Concern

The painted frog is named for the pattern of dark blotches which cover the back of them. This has a pale, yellow border around it.

These animals are carnivores. They will use their disc-shaped tongue to capture invertebrates on which they feed.

They are residents in northern Africa and parts of Europe. They have been introduced to Spain and France where their population is now expanding.

Painted frogs are threatened through urbanization and the removal of groundwater.

Read on to learn more about these amazing amphibians.


What does the painted frog look like?

These animals are colored a grey-green color which is patterned with dark blotches across the back. The blotches are surrounded by a pale yellow border. In some individuals a pale brown stripe runs down the back.

The head is flat and wider than it is long.

Their eye features an eyelid which is shaped like an upside down drop of liquid.

An adult painted frog will measure an average of 8cm (3.25in) long.


What does the painted frog eat?

The painted frog is a carnivore. They will consume insects. To catch these are equipped with a disc-shaped tongue.

Painted Frog (Discoglossus pictus)

Credit: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Where can you find the painted frog?

Tis species is native to Algeria, Itlay, Malta and Tunisia. Individuals from the population in Algeria and Tunisia were introduced to France and Spain. These introduced individuals are continuing to expand their range.


What kind of environment does the painted frog live in?

These animals will make their home in forest, heathland, shrubland, open coastal areas, woods and wetland habitats. They have been seen in man-made habitats including vineyards, orchards and campsites.

They are not often found near water including marshes and brackish water. They make use of man-made watercourses including irrigation channels, water cisterns, pipes and canals.

Shelter is sought in cavities which they dig under stones.

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How does the painted frog produce its young?

Breeding takes place during winter and in to early spring.

At the start of the breeding season the males will make their call which sounds like 'rar-rar-rar.' Females will select multiple males with which they can mate.

About 50 eggs are deposited in each clutch which is spread on a lake or riverbed. They may remain at the surface or sink to the bottom. These hatch after just a week.

Young begin their life as a larvae known as a tadpole. These are restricted to living in water. After 1-3 months they have grown large enough to metamorphose and will turn in to an adult.

Over 5,000 eggs may be laid be a female in total throughout her life.

Sexual maturity is reached at one year old.


What does the painted frog do with its day?

These animals spend much of their time near water.

Males produce a loud 'rar-rar-rar' vocalizations which is used to attract a mate.

Painted Frog (Discoglossus pictus)

Credit: kogia, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the painted frog?

Populations of the painted frog are considered stable. The introduced populations are considered abundant and continue to expand.

This species is considered threatened in localized areas of their range due to urbanization and the extraction of groundwater.

These animals are protected by law in parts of their range. Despite this the tadpoles continue to be caught and kept across their range.

Quick facts

These animals may also be known as the Mediterranean painted frog.

This species was first described for western science in 1837.

3 subspecies of the painted frog are described across their range.

Painted Frog (Discoglossus pictus)

Credit: Burzawa clément PIM'S, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2012. The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of the world. London: Southwater.

Jaime Bosch, Franco Andreone, Miguel Tejedo, David Donaire-Barroso, Miguel Lizana, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Alfredo Salvador, Mario García-París, Ernesto Recuero Gil, Tahar Slimani, El Hassan El Mouden, Ulrich Joger, Philippe Geniez, Claudia Corti. 2009. Discoglossus pictusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T55270A11285021. Downloaded on 23 November 2021.

AmphibiaWeb 2021 Discoglossus pictus: Painted frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Nov 22, 2021.

Mifsud, S., 2021. Wild Plants of Malta and Gozo - Discoglossus pictus (Painted Frog). [online] Available at: <!faunafungi/maltawildlife.php?species=Discoglossus%20pictus> [Accessed 23 November 2021].

EEA. 2021. Painted frog - Discoglossus pictus Otth, 1837. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 23 November 2021].

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