Get ready to freak out about frogs. With this new frog field guide, you’ll have a ribbit-ing good time discovering the world of these amazing amphibians. By Arnold Ras 

Think frogs are small and insignificant creatures? A new field guide, Frogs of Southern Africa – A Complete Guide by Louis du Preez and Vincent Carruthers, will soon prove you wrong. Our region boasts more than 160 species of frogs and toads, from tiny ones no bigger than your nail to the hefty giant bullfrog. Frogs play a vital role in the ecosystem, feeding on insects and providing food to birds and snakes. And what would dusk in the wilds be without their chirping and croaking?

First published in 2009, the new edition of Frogs of Southern Africa offers thorough updates and taxonomy changes based on the latest DNA studies and research. Time to frog out: the book even features seven newly discovered species.

The guide’s 519 pages feature stunning colour photography of southern Africa’s 169 species, as well as their conservation status, tadpole stages, habitat and habits. But that’s not all. By means of scanning QR codes with your cellphone, you can instantly listen to the amphibians’ calls. And at the back of the book, you can even learn more about species’ calls with spectrograms – visual images of sounds highlighting the frequency, duration, pulse, and amplitude of a frog’s call.

Professor Louis du Preez, from the North-West University, and environmentalist Vincent Carruthers know their stuff. Both are noted frog experts and in this book share their wealth of knowledge about these creatures – from biology and behaviour to identification and fascinating facts.

Inside the guide

The world of frogs is fascinating, complex and layered with details. Worldwide, some 6,000 species of amphibians are known, and more and more are discovered each year.

Here’s what you’ll find in Frogs of Southern Africa – A Complete Guide:

  • An overview of how amphibians evolved
  • A step-by-step process for identifying frogs
  • A systematic list of Southern African frogs
  • Descriptions of each species’ appearance and behaviour
  • Summary of identifying features
  • Information on habitats, threats and conservation
  • Frogs and humans: interactions and aversions
  • Field keys to frogs and tadpoles

The guide divides species into groups such as tree frogs, rain frogs, reed frogs, platannas and many more, making the task at hand somewhat easier. But don’t expect to pick up the book and immediately start identifying. First familiarise yourself with the guide and the ID strategies before venturing out into the wild.

Our verdict?

Frogs of Southern Africa – A Complete Guide is not only incredibly comprehensive, but a feast for the eyes. The design is easy to navigate, the pictures striking and unambiguous, and the text accessible even to young nature lovers. It’s essential reading for appreciating the astounding diversity of our frog species. Let the frogging commence!

Frogs of Southern Africa – A Complete Guide. Louis du Preez and Vincent Carruthers. Struik Nature. 2017. R450.

Pictures courtesy of Struik Nature