Pyxicephalus adspersus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Pyxicephalidae

Scientific Name: Pyxicephalus adspersus
Species Authority: Tschudi, 1838
Common Name(s):
English African Bullfrog
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2013. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.6 (9 January 2013). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-07-08
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N.
Contributor(s): Channing, A., Harrison, J., Poynton, J., Howell, K. & Minter, L.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Morris, E.J.
Listed as Least Concern because, although it is losing breeding habitat in places due to urbanization, and it is also eaten in parts of its range, it has a wide distribution, is tolerant of a broad range of habitats and has a presumed large population.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs widely in South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, extending north to southern Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya. It distribution needs re-examination in light of recent separation of Pyxicephalus edulus from P. adspersus. Many specimens have not been clearly assigned between these two species. It is presumed to occur in southern Democratic Republic of Congo, but there have not been any confirmed records from this country.
Countries occurrence:
Angola (Angola); Botswana; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Regionally extinct:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is common in many of the southern parts of its range, it has apparently declined in South Africa, especially in Gauteng Province, but it is still locally common in some places. Boycott (2001) declared the species to be extinct in Swaziland. It seems to be very uncommon in the northern parts of its range, with very few confirmed records from Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya (though this might in part be due to identification problems).
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a species of drier savannahs. It is fossorial for most of the year, remaining buried in cocoons. They emerge at the start of the rains, and breed in shallow, temporary waters in pools, pans and ditches. They are active by day during the breeding season. They can tolerate habitat alteration, but not urbanization.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is sometimes found in the international pet trade and is harvested for local consumption.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat through most of its range is harvesting of frogs for local consumption, which is believed to be responsible for some population declines. In South Africa, breeding habitat has been lost due to urbanization. This species is sometimes found in the international pet trade but at levels that do not currently constitute a major threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It occurs in many protected areas.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability: Suitable  
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
suitability: Marginal  
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.6. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability: Suitable  
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.9. Artificial/Aquatic - Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches
suitability: Suitable  
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Unknown
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Balinsky, B.I. and Balinsky, J.B. 1954. On the breeding habits of the South African bullfrog, Pyxicephalus adspersus. S. Afr. J. Sci.: 55-58.

Boycott, R.C. 2001. The terrapins and tortoises of Swaziland. Durban Museum Novitates: 25-37.

Broadley, D.G. 1971. The reptiles and amphibians of Zambia. Puku: 1-143.

Channing, A. 2001. Amphibians of Central and Southern Africa. Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London.

Channing, A. and Griffin, M. 1993. An annotated checklist of the frogs of Namibia. Madoqua: 101-116.

Channing, A. and Howell, K.M. 2006. Amphibians of East Africa. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main.

Channing, A., Passmore, N.I. and du Preez, L. 1994. Status, vocalizations and breeding of two species of African bullfrogs. Journal of Zoology: 141-148.

Cook, C. 1996. Aspects of the breeding biology and ecology of the Giant Bullfrog, Pyxicephalus adspersus. Unpublished MSc thesis, University of Pretoria.

Grobler, J.H. 1972. Observations on the amphibian Pyxicephalus adspersus Tschudi in Rhodesia. Arnoldia Rhod. Misc. Publ.: 1-4.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.2). Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2013).

Kok, D., du Preez, L.H. and Channing, A. 1989. Channel construction by the African bullfrog: another anuran parental are strategy. Journal of Herpetology: 435-437.

Lambiris, A.J.L. 1989. The frogs of Zimbabwe. Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat. Torino, Monografia: 1-247.

Loveridge, J.P. 1979. Cocoon formation in two species of southern African frogs. S. Afr. J. Sci.: 18-20.

Minter, L.R., Burger, M., Harrison, J.A., Braack, H.H., Bishop, P.J. and Knoepfer, D. 2004. Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series No. 9, Washington, D.C.

Parry, C.R. 1982. A revision of southern African Pyxicephalus Tschudi (Anura: Ranidae). Annals of the Natal Museum: 281-292.

Parry, C.R. and Cavill, R. 1978. A note on cocoon formation and structure in Pyxicephalus adspersus Tschudi (Anura: Ranidae). Trans. Rhod. Sci. Assoc.: 55-58.

Passmore, N.I. and Carruthers, V.C. 1995. South African Frogs, 2nd Edition. Southern Book Publishers and Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg.

Paukstis, G.L. and Reinbold, S.L. 1984. Observations of snake-feeding by captive African bullfrogs (Pyxicephalus adspersus). British Herpetological Society Bulletin: 52-53.

Pickersgill, M. 2007. Frog Search. Results of Expeditions to Southern and Eastern Africa. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main.

Poynton, J.C. 1964. The amphibia of southern Africa: a faunal study. Annals of the Natal Museum 17: 1-334.

Poynton, J.C. and Broadley, D.G. 1985. Amphibia Zambesiaca. 2. Ranidae. Annals of the Natal Museum: 115-181.

Poynton, J.C. and Haacke, W.D. 1993. On a collection of amphibians from Angola, including a new species of Bufo Laurenti. Annals of the Transvaal Museum: 9-16.

Ruas, C. 1996. Contribuicao para o conhecimento da fauna de batraquios de Angola. Garcia de Orta. Ser. Zool. (Lisboa): 19-41.

Van Wyk, J.C.P., Kok, D.J. and du Preez, L.H. 1991. Growth and behaviour of Pyxicephalus adspersus tadpoles. Abstracts Herpetol. Assoc. Afr. Symp.: 17-18.

Wager, V.A. 1986. Frogs of South Africa, 2nd edition. Delta Books, Craighall.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2013. Pyxicephalus adspersus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T58535A3070700. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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