|Eastern ghost frog (Heleophryne orientalis)|
|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.
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.
- Genus Hadromophryne Van Dijk, 2008
- Natal ghost frog, Hadromophryne natalensis Hewitt, 1913
- Genus Heleophryne Sclater, 1898
- Cederberg ghost frog, Heleophryne depressa FitzSimons, 1946
- Hewitt's ghost frog, Heleophryne hewitti Boycott, 1988
- Eastern ghost frog, Heleophryne orientalis FitzSimons, 1946
- Purcell's ghost frog, Heleophryne purcelli Sclater, 1898
- Royal ghost frog, Heleophryne regis Hewitt, 1910
- Rose's ghost frog, Heleophryne rosei Hewitt, 1925
EDGE endangered species
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.
- 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.
- Reuters, Giant newt, tiny frog identified as most at risk
- guardian.co.uk, Drive to save weird and endangered amphibians
- guardian.co.uk/environment, Gallery: the world's strangest amphibians