Amphibians (frogs)

Cape Sand Frog, Delalande's Sand Frog, Striped Pixie / Gestreepte Sandpadda

Tomopterna delalandii

Size Adult females may attain a body length of 50 mm.

Description This species is a medium-sized frog with a robust build and is rather toad-like in appearance and gait. The head is broad and has large bulging eyes with horizontally elliptical pupils. The legs are relatively short and there are no adhesive discs on the fingers and toes. There is a prominent hard ridge on the heel of each hind foot (which the frog uses to dig itself into the ground). The fingers lack webbing but the toes are moderately webbed (with three segments of the fourth being free of webbing). The glandular elevations below the tympanum are not fused to form a continuous ridge. The upper body surface, which has a relatively smooth skin texture, varies in colour from light grey to dark brown and usually has a mottled appearance together with a pale patch between the shoulders. There is also usually a pale vertebral stripe, often with a similar pale stripe on either side of the body. The skin on the underside is smooth and white but the male has a dark throat. The advertisement call consists of a series of short ringing notes, emitted at the rate of about six to eight per second.

Biology The Cape sand frog inhabits flat, low-lying areas and valleys, especially in sandy areas, and its habitat extends from the coastal lowlands inland into the Karoo, in both the winter and summer rainfall regions. It breeds in pans, vleis, dams and rivers.

Breeding takes place especially from late winter to early summer in the winter rainfall region, and during summer in the rest of its range. Breeding males are known to form large choruses and are very vocal. They call at night, generally from exposed positions in shallow water, and breeding choruses can be heard over a distance of several hundred metres. About two to three thousand eggs are laid singly or in small masses and have an unpleasant odour. These hatch within about three days and develop into sluggish, heavy-bodied benthic tadpoles which attain a length of about 44 mm and take about 25 to 35 days to change into frogs.

Distribution This species has a wide distribution in the Western Cape Province which extends into the Eastern Cape Province and Northern Cape Province.

Distribution in GCBC This frog has a wide distribution in the flatter, low-lying areas and valleys of the GCBC.

Conservation status Not threatened.

Threats No serious threats.

Current studies This species was assessed in the Southern African Frog Atlas Project (published in 2004).


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