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Ghost frogs
Heleophryne orientalis.jpg
Eastern ghost frog (Heleophryne orientalis)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Neobatrachia
Family: Heleophrynidae
Noble, 1931
Genus: ''Heleophryne''
Sclater, 1898

Hadromophryne natalensis
Heleophryne depressa
Heleophryne hewitti
Heleophryne orientalis
Heleophryne purcelli
Heleophryne regis
Heleophryne rosei

Heleophrynidae range.PNG
Distribution of Heleophrynidae (in black)

The Heleophrynidae is a family of frogs. They are commonly called ghost frogs. The family has two genera, Heleophryne and Hadromophryne. There are seven species. Ghost frogs live in swift-moving mountain streams in South Africa. The common name of "ghost frogs" may be because they live in Skeleton Gorge.


Ghost frogs are medium sized frogs, reaching a length of 6 centimetres (2.4 in). They have flat bodies. This lets them climb inside rocky crevices. They have very large toe discs in comparison to their size. This helps to hold onto rocks. The mouthparts of the tadpoles are a sucking disc. This lets them hold onto the surface they live on and remain still while they are feeding.


The ghost frogs are closely related to the Sooglossidae family, which inhabit the Seychelles. They may also be closely related to the Australian Myobatrachids.

Family Heleophrynidae

  • 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
    • Table Mountain Ghost Frog, Heleophryne rosei Hewitt, 1925vi:Heleophryne
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