African Dwarf Clawed Frog or African Clawed Frog?

author: Martin Truckenbrodt

Distinguishing African Dwarf Clawed Frogs from African Clawed Frogs

The pet trade often confuses African Dwarf Clawed Frogs with African Clawed Frogs. Mistakes are usually innocent but it is important to know which species you have because ACFs (Xenopus laevis) can grow to 12cms long and will eat all of the fish that are up to a length to 5 or 6 cms in a normal communty tank.

Here are the main characteristics to look for:
  • The best way is to look for webbing on the frogs’ front legs. ADCF fingers are webbed and ACFs’ fingers are not. It is this characteristic from which the name of the genus Hymenochirus is derived.
  • There is no true albino form of ADCFs. There are just some very bright ADCFs available. All true albinos in the pet trade are Xenopus laevis.
  • ADCFs grow up to 4.5 cm long from snout to vent. Most of the ACF species grow to twice that length.
  • ADCFs have a rough skin. ACFs’ skin is smooth.
  • The eyes of ADCFs are on the sides of the head. ACFs’ eyes are positioned more on the top of the head. The eyes of Xenopus are much bigger than ADCFs.
  • You can keep ADCFs together with many normal fish species but for ACFs the fish and the tank must be quite large.
  • It is untrue that Hymenochirus does not have a lateral line system. ESCHER 1925 proved the opposite but many later authors did not know this.
Xenopus laevis Albino
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Hyemnochirus front webs
Hymenochirus Fingerschwimmhaut