Dwarf African Clawed Frogs, also known as Dwarf African Frogs (Hymenochirus boettgeri and H. curtipes) are very popular pets, yet few hobbyists attempt to breed them in captivity. Reproduction sometimes occurs spontaneously, but unless one is prepared, the eggs and tadpoles rarely survive. As both a lifelong frog enthusiast and career herpetologist, I find this to be a sad state of affairs. For these tiny aquatic frogs can be easily induced to breed and exhibit some of the amphibian world’s most amazing reproductive behaviors – including a circular egg-laying “dance” that may go on for 7 hours! The bizarre tadpoles are equipped with tubular mouths and swim in a head up position at the water’s surface, propelled by rapidly-beating tails. Looking somewhat like tiny skin-divers, rearing a tankful of these charming little amphibians is a most interesting and pleasurable undertaking.
Distinguishing the Species and the Sexes
Hymenochirus boettgeri and H. curtipes are the only species regularly available in the pet trade. Hymenochirus boettgeri has proportionally longer rear legs than H. curtipes, and its skin appears more granular. The tadpoles are easy to distinguish (please see below).
Females are larger than males, and they are positively rotund when carrying eggs. Males can be distinguished by their postaxillary glands, which appear as a tiny white bump behind each forearm. Read More »