TGIFF – Thank Goodness Its Frog Friday! – Banded Rubber Frog
TGIFF!!! Thank Goodness It's FROG FRIDAY! Today we are looking at the Banded Rubber Frog Phrynomatis bifasciatus. The Banded Rubber Frog is a medium-sized frog that can grow up to 75 mm. It has a moderately robust body, more elongated and depressed than most frogs. The body is carried high on its slender limbs when moving, which is generally by walking, or occasionally running, but not hopping. The head is mobile and able to move somewhat laterally. Eyes are relatively small and have circular pupils. Digit tips are expanded into truncated discs. Their fingers lack webbing and their toes have vestigial webbing.
The common name derives from the rubber-like appearance and texture of the frog's smooth and shiny skin, which feels dry when handled. This frog has shiny black or dark brown skin with continuous or interrupted vivid red or orange bands extending from the snout over the eyelids to the back of the body. There is also a large red or orange spot on the posterior dorsum, in the caudal region. Limbs have red bars or spots. Ventrally this frog is light brown or gray with dense, distinct white spotting. Males have a black throat. This species is nocturnal but may occasionally be seen in the daytime following a period of precipitation. Although it has expanded discs on the fingertips, it is generally found at or near ground level. However, it is also an adept climber of trees and rocky walls. During the dry season it shelters underground in burrows in loose sand or earth, in termite mounds, or in cavities within dead trees. Banded Rubber Frogs dig backwards to make their burrows, even though they do not have specialized digging "spades" on their hind feet. This frog prefers to walk slowly rather than take long hops. Ants and possibly termites form a large part of the diet in this genus.
This frog occurs in a broad swath from southern Somalia southeastward to Angola, and extending southward into Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. It inhabits open country grassland or savanna, up to 1450 m above sea level, and is also found in agricultural areas. It can be found in loose sand under large rocks on dry hillsides, at long distances from the nearest water, in cavities of dead trees, and in holes in the ground or in a bank.
You can help us to map (and conserve) this beautiful frog's distribution by submitting your photos, along with the location, to FrogMAP at vmus.adu.org.za. This picture, by JH Wilkinson, is one of only two photographic records currently in FrogMAP, and is record 225. This distribution map is built up from a total of 701 records, most of them very old, and out of date, museum specimen records. FrogMAP presents us with the opportunity to build up the 21st century distribution through photographic records.
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