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Spiny Puddle Frog

Phrynobatrachus chukuchuku


The Critically Endangered spiny puddle frog is a miniature species of puddle frog, with adults barely reaching 2 cm long! The species name is derived from the Cameroonian phrase ‘chuku chuku’, meaning ‘spiny’, referring to the minute spinules visible on males.

Puddle frogs of the genus Phrynobatrachus diverged from all other living amphibians around 90 million years ago. This means they are as closely related to other frogs as we are to rabbits, hares, rats and squirrels!

The spiny puddle frog is found only in the grasslands near Mount Oku and, as their habitat of high elevation grasslands does not occur in other highland areas of the Cameroon Volcanic line, it is believed to be endemic to this one area.

Unfortunately, there is ongoing habitat destruction near the summit of Mount Oku, due to overgrazing by cattle, goats and horses owned by local people. Both human-induced and natural fires are also a threat to the habitat of this species. Establishment of a national park in this area has been recommended, as the habitat was identified as one of the most important areas for conservation in Cameroon.

  • Order: Anura
  • Family: Phrynobatrachidae
  • Population: Rare
  • Trend: unknown
  • Size: <20mm

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 6.1 (?)
ED Score: 26.75 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


This species is known only from near the summit of Mount Oku, 2,800 metres above sea level, Northwestern Region, Cameroon.

Habitat and Ecology

This species occurs in highland grasslands near the summit of Mount Oku. It is likely that they breed in streams and have larval development, whereby tadpoles emerge from the eggs.

Find out more

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Livestock Fire

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
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