AmphibiaWeb - Arthroleptella drewesii


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Arthroleptella drewesii Channing, Hendricks & Dawood, 1994
Drewes' Moss Frog
family: Pyxicephalidae
subfamily: Cacosterninae
genus: Arthroleptella

© 2004 Robert C. Drewes (1 of 2)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Near Threatened (NT)
National Status None
Regional Status None



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Morphological Description:Arthroleptella drewesii is a small ranid frog from South Africa with an average adult length of 15 millimeters from snout to vent. Compared to the three other species of the genus that reside in the mountains of the south-western Cape, it is morphologically indistinguishable down to the skeleton. Presently, the only way of distinguishing one species from another are by comparing DNA and male advertisement calls. The snout is bluntly rounded with small, round nostrils. The vocal pouch has well defined lateral folds. A broken glandular ridge exists from the upper lip at the jaw angle to the arm insertion. The eyelids are warty, and a row of black warts runs backward from the eyes to the sacral region. A variable amount of warts are found towards the vent. The legs are short, the toes have a trace of webbing at the base, and the fingertips are rounded and slightly expanded (Channing, A., D. Hendricks & A. Dawood (1994) ).

Color: The dorsal surfaces are a uniform dark brown with paler legs. Warts are black against the brown background. The arms and legs are darkly marked with brown blotches on a pale background. A black mask extends from the nostrils through the canthal area to the arm insertion. The vocal pouch is black. The ventral surfaces are darkly marked against a pale background, as are the soles of the hands and feet (Channing, A., D. Hendricks & A. Dawood (1994) ).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: South Africa


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Distribution: At the present time, the known range of Arthroleptella drewesii is not well established. Presently, the four species of the genus Arthroleptella that reside in the mountains of the south-western cape are believed to reside in different mountain ranges, but all of the mountains in the distribution of the genus have not been surveyed. Arthroleptella drewesii is currently only known from the Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus and adjacent wet areas on the Kleinrivier mountains above 200 meters elevation (Channing, A., D. Hendricks & A. Dawood (1994) ).

Habitat: As the only way of knowing what species of the genus is being collected is by observing the male’s advertisement call, the only habitat presently known for this species is where the males issue their calls. Males call from ledges on moist, moss covered slopes, often concealed under vegetation (Channing, A., D. Hendricks & A. Dawood (1994) ).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Breeding activity: Large numbers of males of this species have been observed issuing advertisement calls day and night during the rainy season from June through September (Channing, A., D. Hendricks & A. Dawood (1994)).

Male Advertisement Call: Besides DNA, advertisement calls are the only way to distinguish between the four species of the genus Arthroleptella that reside in the mountains of the south-western Cape. The call for A. drewesii species consists of 5-10 notes in 0.70 seconds, somewhat evenly spaced, with a longer space between the last two notes. Some notes may double, and the notes are loosely grouped. The dominant energy of the call is between 3.9 and 4.0 kHz with a mean duration of 0.69 seconds Eggs and Young: The eggs are laid under moss of leaf litter in clutches of approximately ten eggs. Interestingly, the young hatch directly into developed frogs, skipping a tadpole phase (Channing, A., D. Hendricks & A. Dawood (1994) ).


Channing, A., Hendricks, D., and Dawood, A. (1994). ''Description of a new moss frog from the south-western Cape (Anura: Ranidae: Arthroleptella).'' South African Journal of Zoology, 29(4), 240-243.

Originally submitted by: Kory Heiken (first posted 2005-11-05)
Edited by: Tate Tunstall (2023-01-02)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Arthroleptella drewesii: Drewes' Moss Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Mar 2, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 2 Mar 2024.

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