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Ghost Frogs: Heleophrynidae - Conservation Status

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansGhost Frogs: Heleophrynidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Natal Ghost Frog (heleophryne Natalensis): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, GHOST FROGS AND PEOPLE


According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), two of the six species are Critically Endangered, which means that they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. One is Hewitt's ghost frog, which lives in and around four streams about 1,310 to 1,805 feet (400 to 550 meters) above sea level in the Elandsberg mountains of South Africa's Eastern Cape Province. The frog breeds in the streams, but spends the rest of the year in the surrounding areas that have scattered trees and shrubs. Fires and human activity, like the logging of the few trees and the building of roads are destroying the frog's nonbreeding habitat and also allowing more dirt to drain into the streams where the frog has its young. In addition, new fish species that eat the frogs have been added to the streams, and in some places, the streams have dried up.

The other Critically Endangered species is Rose's ghost frog, which is also known as the Table Mountain ghost frog or thumbed ghost frog. This species makes its home in mountain forests, shrubby areas, and even inside caves on the sides of Table Mountain between 785 and 3,480 feet (240 to 1,060 meters) above sea level. The entire area where it lives is inside the Cape Peninsula National Park. New plants in the park, numerous park visitors, and a high number of fires are changing the frog's habitat and making it difficult for this species to survive. In addition, people have built holding areas for some of the mountain water, which is taking some away from the streams where the frogs' eggs and tadpoles develop. Since the tadpoles need more than a year before they turn into frogs and can leave the streams, they may die if too much water is sidetracked for the holding areas.

To learn more about the frogs of South Africa and how well they are surviving, scientists are now collecting information about them through the Southern African Frog Atlas Project (SAFAP).

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