Anhydrophryne ngongoniensis (Bishop & Passmore, 1993)
Mistbelt moss frog, Ngongoni moss frog, Mistbelt chirping frog
This species can be easily identified by its call and it is often difficult to locate the calling frog without destroying its habitat. Males produce a very soft, trilled, cricket-like call, repeated three or four times with an interval of about one second between calls. The call consists of 8-10 pulses with a duration of 55 ms and the frequency at the midpoint is 4.5 kHz (Bishop and Passmore 1993). Males call in bouts of up to seven calls often alternating with an adjacent male.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: South Africa
The breeding and non-breeding habitat is Short Mistbelt Grassland and Moist Upland Grassland (Minter et al. 2004). Preferred sites are above 1000 m elevation and consist of fairly steep slopes (30-40°) on either side of seepage channels, covered with a dense growth of indigenous grasses. These areas are well protected from fire, being bordered on all sides by exotic tree plantations. The frogs spend most of their time at the base of grass and sedge tussocks amongst the network of loose tunnels in the decaying vegetation.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Although there are no documented accounts of predators, these are likely to include snakes, other frog species and invertebrates, while prey includes ants, termites, insect larvae, and other small invertebrates characteristic of the grassland leaf litter.
Trends and Threats
In addition, all the grasslands types in which this species occur are poorly conserved and in the absence of fire, afromontane forest and grassy fynbos may invade these grasslands.
Relation to Humans
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Management recommendations include the establishment of a monitoring programme, wild population management, habitat management and limiting factor management. In view of its extremely restricted and fragmented distribution, priority should be given to the conservation and management of the remaining habitat before this species becomes extinct.
This species was transferred to the monotypic genus Anhydrophryne by Dawood and Stam (2006).
Bishop, P.J., and Passmore, N.I. (1993). ''A new species of Arthroleptella Hewitt (Ranidae:Phrynobatrachinae) from the mist belt of the Natal highlands, South Africa.'' Annals of the Transvall Museum, 36(3), 17-20.
Dawood, A. and Stam, E. M. (2006). ''The taxonomic status of the monotypic frog genus Anhydrophryne Hewitt from South Africa: a molecular perspective.'' South African Journal of Science, 102, 249-253.
Harrison, J. A., Burger, M., Minter, L. R., De Villiers, A. L., Baard, E. H. W., Scott, E., Bishop, P. J., and Ellis, S. (2001). Conservation Assessment and Management Plan for Southern African Frogs. Final Report. IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Apple Valley, MN.
Minter, L.R., Burger, M., Harrison, J.A., Braack, H.H., Bishop, P.J., and Kloepfer, D. (eds.) (2004). Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Volume 9 SI/MAB Series. Smithsonian, Washington D.C..
Originally submitted by: Phil Bishop (first posted 2004-10-05)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2010-08-16)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2010 Anhydrophryne ngongoniensis: Mistbelt moss frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/3716> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 11, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 11 Dec 2023.
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