Pickersgill’s Reed Frog, Hyperolius pickersgilli, is found only in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa, where it occupies only a small area of coastal wetlands. It is a small species, measuring up to 30 mm (a little over 1 inch) in females. The diminutive reed frog changes color quite noticeably from juvenile to adult. Juveniles are pale brown to greenish, while adult females and some males become a much brighter green color, often with distinctive yellow and white stripes.
The Pickersgill’s Reed Frog is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Redlist of Threatened SpeciesTM due to its extremely small Area of Occupancy, estimated to be only about 9 km2. There are a number of threats to the species in this area, including urban development, the use of the insecticide DDT for mosquito control, and drainage for agricultural purposes.
There are three captive rescue populations in South Africa for this species, one at the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) in Durban, one at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, and the third one at Johannesburg Zoo. Offspring have been produced by the populations in Durban and Pretoria, and it is hoped that the populations can be strengthened with the collection of additional founder animals.