Heleophryne hewitti 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Heleophrynidae

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.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.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Critically Endangered (CR)
1996 Endangered (EN)
1994 Endangered (E)

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.
Countries occurrence:
South Africa (Eastern Cape Province)
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 0.95
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 26
Number of Locations: 2
Lower elevation limit (metres): 400
Upper elevation limit (metres): 550
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.

Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

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
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes

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 2010: e.T9772A13015052. . Downloaded on 28 November 2015.
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