TGIFF – Thank Goodness it’s Frog Friday!!!! The species in the spotlight for today is the African Clawed Frog or Common Platanna (Xenopus laevis). The African Clawed Frog’s name is derived from the three short claws on each hind foot, which it uses to tear apart its food. The word Xenopus means “strange foot” and laevis means “smooth”. The African Clawed Frog has a flattened head and body and can grow up to 12 cm in length.

The frog is found throughout most of Africa, and in isolated, introduced populations in North America, South America, and Europe. All species of the Pipidae family are tongue-less, toothless and completely aquatic. They use their hands to shove food in their mouths and down their throats. African Clawed Frogs have powerful legs for swimming and lunging after food. They also use the claws on their feet to tear pieces of large food. They lack true ears but have lateral lines running down the length of the body and underside, which is how they can sense movements and vibrations in the water. They use their sensitive fingers, sense of smell, and lateral line system to find food.

Do you have photos of an African Clawed Frog? Be an ambassador for biodiversity and get your African Clawed Frog photos on FrogMAP at

Frog Fridays celebrate the amazing diversity of frogs and toads in the southern African region. Click here to learn more about the Animal Demography Unit.