Heleophryne hewitti


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Heleophryne hewitti
Species Authority: Boycott, 1988
Common Name(s):
English Hewitt’s Ghost Frog
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomy of this genus is in need of revision.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-02-08
Assessor(s): South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG), IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): von May, R. & Angulo, A.
Contributor(s): Channing, A., Turner, A., de Villiers, A., Harvey, J., Tarrant, J., Measey, J., Tolley, K., Minter, L., du Preez, L., Burger, M., Cunningham, M. & Davies, S.
Listed as Endangered because its Extent of Occurrence is considerably below 5,000 km2, all individuals are in two locations, and there is a continuing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat.
2004 Critically Endangered
1996 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species appears to be restricted to four perennial rivers (Geelhoutboom, Martin's, Klein and Diepkloof) with their headwaters in the Elandsberg mountains, and a fifth site in the Cockscomb mountains, all in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Its altitudinal range is 400-550 m asl.
South Africa (Eastern Cape Province)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


No numerical population information is currently available for this species, tadpoles are seen regularly and adults rarely, fitting their cryptic life history. The spatial distribution of this species is not considered to be severely fragmented as one site (Elandsberg) holds >50% of individuals and the 30 km distance between subpopulations is considered to be too great for dispersal within one generation.

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a species of fynbos heathland and grassy fynbos. Only very small remnants of fynbos survive within its range, so very little non-breeding habitat survives. It breeds in fast-flowing perennial rivers and streams with rocky beds in the upper reaches of the Elandsberg and Cockscomb mountains. Females lay up to 200 eggs. Adults and tadpoles are found beneath submerged and partly submerged rocks in these streams, and occasionally at the edge of small waterfalls and cascades. The tadpoles take two years to develop.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats are loss of suitable non-breeding and breeding habitat as a result of afforestation with exotic pine plantations, fires, erosion, siltation of streams, dams, and road building. Introduced predatory fish are probably also a threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Understanding and quantifying threats scored the highest priority for conservation research on this species. In addition, any information on demography of adults or tadpoles would be very valuable. Taxonomic revision of the whole genus is necessary. The species is not known to occur in any protected areas, and the maintenance of its remaining breeding and non-breeding habitat is essential. There is also a need for continued monitoring of known populations, survey work for other populations and invasive species control. Agreements need to be drawn up with private land owners for the management and long term protection of sites.

Citation: South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG), IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2010. Heleophryne hewitti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 29 August 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided