Heleophryne rosei


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Heleophryne rosei
Species Authority: Hewitt, 1925
Common Name(s):
English Table Mountain Ghost Frog

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,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): Angulo, A. & Cox, N.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 Critically Endangered because its Extent of Occurrence and  Area of Occupancy is less than 9 km2, all individuals are in a single location, and there is a continuing decline in the quality of its habitat.
2004 Critically Endangered
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has a very restricted range (Extent of Occurrence: 9 km2) being endemic to the southern and eastern slopes of Table Mountain, in the Western Cape province, extreme south-western South Africa. Within this, the Area of Occupancy (around 4.5 km2) is believed to be suffering ongoing decline. It occurs between 240 and 1,060 m asl.
South Africa (Western Cape)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is a rare and elusive species that survives in low population densities. The number of tadpoles in the Skeleton Gorge decreased by around 50% from 1980 to 2000, but monitoring of tadpoles suggest that this subpopulation is stable.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It lives in forest and fynbos heathland, breeding in clear perennial streams in gorges, valleys and ravines on Table Mountain. Non-breeding adults have been found in damp, sheltered habitat well away from streams, including in caves. The tadpoles require longer than 12 months to complete metamorphosis, and so it is important that there is perennial water to allow the larvae to develop. The habitat on some of these streams is deteriorating due to abstraction and soil erosion.
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 the spread of alien vegetation, frequent fires, and water storage reservoirs on the mountain which can affect the consistency of stream-flow. Intensification of tourism is also a threat through soil erosion around some of the streams. Water abstraction from streams has resulted in habitat loss and may limit the vertical movement of tadpoles in summer.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The whole of this species' range is incorporated in the Table Mountain National Park, part of the Cape Floristic Region World Heritage Site, and Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens. High priorities for conservation research were set to determine the dispersal of this species and the highest priority to estimate population size. Perceived threats need to be evaluated and management plans need to be properly implemented and integrated between properties. Current monitoring of tadpoles could be expanded to make population estimates.

Citation: South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG), IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2010. Heleophryne rosei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 31 August 2015.
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