Ghost frog

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Ghost frogs
Heleophryne orientalis.jpg
Eastern ghost frog (Heleophryne orientalis)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Neobatrachia
Family: Heleophrynidae
Noble, 1931
Heleophrynidae range.PNG
Distribution of Heleophrynidae (in black)

The Heleophrynidae are a family of order Anura, commonly known as ghost frogs. The family consists of two genera, Heleophryne and Hadromophryne, with seven species. Ghost frogs live in swift-moving mountain streams in South Africa. The common name of "ghost frogs" may have been coined because of their occurrence in Skeleton Gorge.[1]


Ghost frogs have morphological adaptation suited to surviving on the rocks around these streams. They are medium-sized frogs, reaching a length of 6 cm (2.4 in), with flat bodies, enabling them to climb inside rocky crevices. They have very large toe discs in comparison to their size, which helps to cling onto rocks. The mouthparts of the tadpoles are modified into sucking discs, to allow them to cling to substrates, and remain still while they are feeding.[1]


The ghost frogs are closely related to the Sooglossidae family, which inhabit the Seychelles. They may also be closely related to the Australian Myobatrachidae.

Family Heleophrynidae

EDGE endangered species[edit]

On January 21, 2008, Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) identified nature's most "weird, wonderful and endangered species", stating that "the EDGE amphibians are amongst the most remarkable and unusual species on the planet and yet an alarming 85% of the top 100 are receiving little or no conservation attention." Their top ten species included the ghost frogs.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ a b Zweifel, Richard G. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G., eds. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 104–105. ISBN 0-12-178560-2. 
  2. ^ Reuters, Giant newt, tiny frog identified as most at risk
  3. ^, Drive to save weird and endangered amphibians
  4. ^, Gallery: the world's strangest amphibians
  • Cogger, H.G.; R.G. Zweifel; D. Kirschner (2004). Encyclopedia of Reptiles & Amphibians Second Edition. Fog City Press. ISBN 1-877019-69-0.