Hula Painted Frog
(Discoglossus nigriventer)

The Hula painted frog was believed extinct until its rediscovery in November 2011. It was previously known from just two collections; a collection in 1940 found two individuals and two tadpoles, and a second in 1955 found a single individual. It was believed to have disappeared following the draining of the Hula wetlands in the 1950s. However, in November 2011 a female frog was found in the Hula Nature Reserve in Israel. Since then several individuals have been found around a single pond.

Urgent Conservation Actions

Preservation of the Hula Nature Reserve, surveys to determine the status and health of the populations.


Hula nature reserve, Israel

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Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Anura
Family: Alytidae

Originally considered part of the Discoglossus lineage it has now been placed in a sister group known as Latonia. This change in phylogeny was developed through morphological and molecular comparisons with related species and fossils. This belief has been supported by spatial distribution of related genera - fossils and extant species of Discoglossus are found in Western mediteranean regions whilst Latonia fossils extend as far east as Turkey and the Balkan Peninsula. The Hula painted frog has since been described as a living fossil as it is the only extant species of the genus Latonia. 


The main distinguishing feature is its dark underside which features a number of white spots. Its back is primarily olive-grey with orange patches. It differs from the other painted frog species (Discoglossus pictus) as it has longer forelimbs and a smaller snout. The head is flattened and as wide as it is long, its toes are not webbed and has feet that are webbed at the base. Two glandular ridges are present, one from the outside edge of the eye through the tympanum (external eardrum) to the base of the forelimb, and the second from the same origin by the eye, but running straight backwards. The skin on the back is warty. Of the few known specimens, the largest was 40 mm total length.


Due to the limited number of encounters with the species its ecology is not well studied. All the individuals located in 2011 were within an area of 1.25 ha with the majority of them being discovered in terrestrial habitat. Several frogs were found beneath a layer of wet detritus amongst reeds and blackberry. No information is available on the population structure, dynamics or life history strategies for this species. 


The Hula painted frog has only been found in the vicinity of a single pond in Israel. It has been found terrestrially in detritus up to 20cm deep.

Population Estimate

 There is no accurate population estimate for the species as less than 20 specimens have ever been found.

Population Trend



Critically Endangered

Conservation Underway

The Hula painted frog exists solely within the Hula Nature reserve. It is also protected under Israeli national legislation.

Conservation Proposed

Further research needs to be carried out into the distribution, population and natural history of the species. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority have plans to monitor the Hula painted frog.


AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation [web application]. 2006. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: amphibiaweb. Accessed: 08 December 2006.

Biton et al.,2013. The rediscovered Hula painted frog is a living fossil. Nature Communications 4, Article number: 1959

Frost, Darrel R. 2006. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 4 (17 August 2006). Electronic Database accessible at: . American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA.

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2012. Discoglossus nigriventer. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 July 2013.

Mendelssohn, H. and Steinitz, H. 1943. A new frog from Palestine. Copeia. 1943:231-233.

if you can provide new information to update this species account or to correct any errors, please email us at info@edgeofexistence.org

Forum comments
  1. chilloutdude

    Why do you think these frogs are so difficult to study? How are they still so illusive in our day and age? Makes you wonder what sort of camouflage and other survival skills they have cultivated over the centuries. And I thought selling pool supplies was difficult! Sheesh!

    Stay hidden frogs, it's probably in your best interest!

    Posted 6 years ago #

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