Lost Frogs Update: Local Language Lesson in Cameroon

Close relative (Afrixalus sp.) of "lost frog" in Douala.

Close relative (Afrixalus sp.) of "lost frog" in Douala.

This is the latest report from field researchers participating in CI’s Search for the Lost Frogs campaign. Read our previous blog posts here.

Upon arriving in Douala from Yaoundé, our research team for Schneider’s banana frog (Afrixalus schneideri) paid a visit to Prince Douala Manga Bell. At about 84 years old, he is the king of the Canton Bell in Douala and the grandson of King Bell who died in 1914 during the German colonial period. He helped to clarify the name of the location where the search species was discovered in 1889 – known in scientific literature as Bonamandune.

According to him, the type locality for the species should read “Bonamandone” instead of “Bonamandune”. In the Douala language, “bona” means “family of”. Thus, Bonamandone means “family of Mandone”. In any case, the name Bonamandone is no longer prominent in the quarters of Douala, as it was renamed Bali during the German colonial period. Today it is one of the most popular quarters in the city of Douala.

Prince Bell, center, meets with research team.

Prince Bell, center, meets with research team.

Taking the chief palace as reference point, our first surveys were carried along two small streams north and east of the later site. We heard the calls of several Afrixalus individuals, and also observed several specimens. In further investigations north of the area, we found frog eggs on grasses at 47 centimeters above stagnant water along a small grass-covered stream. This micro habitat seems to be suitable for the reproduction of the species, as tadpoles were also observed at the site. Investigations are in progress and we will provide more details of our findings at the end of the survey.

Gonwouo LeGrand is a professor and herpetologist at the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon. He is leading the team searching for Schneider’s banana frog (Afrixalus schneideri).


  1. Dino says

    It is really very surprising that many Cameroonians don’t know their own language. And, one more thing, that there is still King’s rule.

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