oa African Zoology - Strategies of water conservation in southern African frogs

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



In arid or semi-arid areas of southern Africa, frogs are typically active nocturnally and seasonally. They may adopt a variety of strategies to conserve water during the day or during the unfavourable part of the year. Aquatic frogs (e.g. Xenopus, most species of Rana, Ptychadena and Phrynobatrachus) do not normally have a water conservation problem except when the water in or near which they are living dries up. Burrowing frogs (e.g. Bulo, Pyxicephalus, Tomopterna and Breviceps) are able to select microhabitats in the soil which reduce evaporative water loss. Evidence is given in the case of Hyperolius nasutus for low evaporative water losses at the end of the dry season, when the frogs sit exposed to the sun and dry air, in flowers. During the rains when H. nasutus is in breeding aggregation the evaporative water losses are high. Chiromantis xerampelina is uricotelic and resistant to desiccation.

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