The ghost frog is a rare amphibian endemic to southern Africa. Its discovery has been considered one of the most interesting in the animal world.
This amphibian is catalogued as one of the rarest animals that has ever inhabited the earth. The reasons are shown in this article.
Characteristics of the Ghost Frog
The ghost frog is an animal that has unique and impressive characteristics, which make it without a doubt one of the strangest animals in the world.
It is a species that belongs to the small family Heleophrynidae, where it differs from the Purcell’s Ghost Frog (Heleophryne Purcelli) and the native Ghost Frog (Hadromophryne natalensis).
This rare species of rare amphibians has a small size compared to other anurans, as its average length is 6 centimeters.
The great advantage of its small size is that it allows it to penetrate openings to hide from its predators.
When a specimen of this species is seen, it is evident the corpulent and flattened appearance that its body presents
In addition, one of the most striking features of this surprising and rare yearling is the pigmentation of its skin, which will depend on each species.
In the case of the Cape ghost frog, its body is usually covered by a green pigmentation with a purple or brown mop.
On the other hand, the Natal ghost frog has a yellow to blue tone with some green males.
As with other reptiles, the ghost frog has the ability to fixate on rocks or climb them without difficulty, because its fingers are equipped with adhesive pads.
These animals are also known for their excellent dexterity in water, thanks to the webbing of their small legs.
The ghost frog is an animal with nocturnal habits, so during the day it remains hidden and apparently inactive.
Now, why is it called a ghost frog?
The species is called a ghost frog because it is extremely difficult to encounter or observe.
Where do they live?
These species of rare anurans are native to the fauna of Southern Africa.
On this continent they are distributed along areas such as the south and east of Table Mountain in Cape Town, the Kingdom of Lesotho and Swaziland.
The ghost frog is an aquatic reptile, which is why it lives in areas with water tributaries.
Its ideal habitat is forested valleys and mountain forests with large waterways.
Feeding of the Ghost Frog
The diet of the ghost frog is diverse and we say this because it has carnivorous and insectivorous eating habits.
These animals are usually seen feeding on small animals, including spiders, ants and insects.
It should be taken into account that due to its size the ghost frog is forced to capture animals that are also small and easy to catch and digest.
What is the reproduction of the Ghost Frog like?
The ghost frog is ready for the reproductive stage when it reaches sexual maturity after the first two years of age.
For mating, these animals wait for the ideal time, which is between summer and spring, when the waters meet the appropriate conditions of low current flow.
This ensures that the young inside the eggs are permanently in water.
During the amplexus, i.e. mating, these animals develop some rather curious characteristics.
They exhibit a series of spiny configurations that ensure better coupling. In addition to this, the male displays some folds that ensure an increase in the consumption of oxygen in the water.
After mating is complete, the eggs begin to form and 12 months later they hatch and reveal tiny tadpoles.
Predators and Threats from this rare and exotic amphibian
It is not known for certain which animals turn out to be predators of this frog, yet it is considered a critically endangered species today.
As with other rare animals, man is its main threat, polluting the waters where it lives by dumping chemicals.
But not only that, but also its natural habitat is constantly deteriorating as a result of livestock exploitation and the introduction of exotic flora species that have altered its ecosystem.