This species is only known from its type locality in Serra de Chela, above Estacao Zootecnica, on the Humpata plateau in Lubango, Angola, at 2,045 m Asl (Conradie et al. 2012). Additional surveys are required to verify its occurrence in similar habitat further along Chela mountains and in Leba mountains (Conradie et al. 2012).
Habitat and Ecology
This species has been found in cascade stream habitat, within a small gorge in afromontane forest (Conradie et al. 2012). It is unknown how tolerant this species is to habitat disturbance and, due to the variable adaptability of species within the genus, assumptions cannot be made from from its congeners (J. Measey pers. comm. July 2016). Males were observed calling half-submerged and flat against a rock in slow flowing water (Conradie et al. 2012). The size of a mature male is around 2.5 cm, whereas a mature female is around 3 cm (Conradie et al. 2012). Tadpoles were found in slow-flowing gullies of the main stream, with a substrate of leaf litter and small pebbles, and did not appear adapted for torrent streams (Conradie et al. 2012). All tadpoles were in the early stages of development at the time of collection in January, near the end of the rainy season which commences in November (Conradie et al. 2012).
It is known from two adult specimens and some tadpoles (Conradie et al. 2012). Recent surveys have been made in similar habitat that the species was originally found in—gorges with afromontane forest—approximately 440–1,400 m away from the type locality but was not found (N. Baptista and W. Conradie pers. comm. August 2016). However these surveys were carried out in April, the end of the rainy season, which is not the most suitable time to look for this species (N. Baptista and W. Conradie pers. comm. August 2016). Searches should be conducted earlier on in the rainy season, which is when conditions are more optimal, in order to confirm if it occurs in these gorges. Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
Habitat degradation and conversion is a threat to this species, as the type locality is located near a city (Conradie et al. 2012, J. Measey pers. comm. July 2016). However, the level of threat to the species is unknown due to uncertainty around the extent of the species' range. This is further exacerbated by a lack of formally protected areas along the escarpment where this species is found (Conradie et al. 2012).
This species has not been recorded in any protected areas.
Additional surveys are needed along Serra de Chela and adjacent mountains to determine its full distribution.
Red List Status
Data Deficient (DD)
Listed as Data Deficient due to the lack of information on the extent of the species' range, its population status, and the potential effects of nearby urbanisation.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Hyperolius chelaensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T76317568A76317892. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T76317568A76317892.en .Downloaded on 11 December 2018