Heleophryne purcelli 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Heleophrynidae

Scientific Name: Heleophryne purcelli Sclater, 1898
Common Name(s):
English Purcell's Ghost Frog
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2013. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.6 (9 January 2013). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes: This species might include Heleophryne orientalis (L. Minter pers. comm.).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-06-19
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N.
Contributor(s): Channing, A., Harrison, J. & Minter, L.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Morris, E.J.
Listed as Least Concern since, although its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2, it occurs in an area of extensive, suitable habitat which appears not to be seriously threatened and it has a presumed large population.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Western Cape Province in South Africa, from the Cederberg in the north, south to the Hex River, Du Toit's Kloof, Hottentots Holland and Klein River Mountains, and eastwards along the Riviersonderend and Langeberg Mountains to the vicinity of Ashton and Montagu. It altitudinal range is 60-1,770 m asl. Its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2.
Countries occurrence:
South Africa
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):60
Upper elevation limit (metres):1770
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is a locally common species.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It lives in fynbos heathland and forest. It breeds in perennial streams in forested gorges of the southwestern Cape mountains. 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): It is not significantly threatened. Locally, there are some impacts from alien species introductions (but less in the Langeberg than some other places), a small amount of afforestation, and fires taking place too frequently.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It occurs in several protected areas.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Unknown
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.2. Agro-industry plantations
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.3. Trend Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

Bibliography [top]

Boycott, R.C. 1982. On the taxonomic status of Heleophryne regis Hewitt, 1909 (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Ann. Cape Prov. Mus. (Nat. Hist.): 89-108.

Boycott, R.C. 1988. Evidence of tactile communication during courtship in Heleophryne (Anura: Heleopphrynidae). Journal of Herpetological Association of Africa: 12-14.

Channing, A. 2001. Amphibians of Central and Southern Africa. Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.2). Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2013).

Minter, L.R., Burger, M., Harrison, J.A., Braack, H.H., Bishop, P.J. and Knoepfer, D. 2004. Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series No. 9, Washington, D.C.

Nakajima, T., Yasuhara, T., Erspamer, F. and Visser, J. 1979. Occurrence of Hyp3-bradykinin in methanol extracts of the skin of the South African leptodactylid frog Heleophryne purcelli. Experienta: 1133.

Passmore, N.I. and Carruthers, V.C. 1995. South African Frogs, 2nd Edition. Southern Book Publishers and Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg.

Visser, J.D. 1990. The biosystematics of the purcelli group of the frog genus Heleophryne (Amphibia: Leptodactylidae). M.Sc dissertation, University of Natal.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2013. Heleophryne purcelli. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T55275A3026942. . Downloaded on 22 June 2018.
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