Photo: ©2004 Robert C. Drewes (with kind permission).
This species was brought to our attention via an article in The Dodo entitled Meet the World’s Grumpiest Frog, which contains several closeup portraits of the little critter making a bunch of frowny faces. But it turns out that this frog is not particularly grumpy at all, neither in temperament nor, in our opinion, facial cues. Like many animals do when they’re frightened or under attack, the black rain frog will puff itself up in size in an attempt to ward off its enemies, rendering it actually quite adorable:
Photo: Beneke74 via iSpot.
The black rain frog is native to the Southern coasts of Africa, where it hangs out in temperate forests among shrubby vegetation. The species burrows into the forest floor and make tunnels as deep as 6 inches (150 mm) underground. The male stays there to guard developing offspring—hey, that’s a nice trick you have there, female B.fuscus! (These feminist frogs would obviously make terrible Baptists.) Unlike most frog species, black rain froglets grow to maturity without a water-dwelling phase. And the ladyfrogs have another trick: adhesive amplexus. What the hell is “adhesive amplexus,” you ask? Well, during mating season the female secretes from specialized glands on her back a sticky substance that keeps the male from slipping off of her during intercourse. Until she is damn good and ready, and decides she has had enough. Hahaha. Awesome.
Mostly nocturnal ground dwellers well-adapted to living in underground burrows, black rain frogs fill a unique niche in their environment and thus do not compete extensively with other species in the forest ecosystem. They are threatened by habitat loss, although fortunately, not urgently so.