Family Pyxicephalidae

Arthroleptella villiersi Hewitt, 1935

De Villiers’ Moss Frog, De Villiers’ Chirping Frog, De Villiers se Mospaddatjie (A)

By A. Channing

Currently accepted name: Arthroleptella villiersi
Red listing status: Least Concern

Photo by la Grange PW, 2012. URL: FrogMAP: 457


A. villiersi is endemic to the Western Cape Province where it is found on the slopes of the Hottentots Holland, Kogelberg, and Kleinrivier mountains and eastward to the Bredasdorp Mountains. It occurs from sea level at Rooi Els and Betty’s Bay, to altitudes of 1800 m. This species is sympatric with A. drewesii and A. landdrosia in places, but can be distinguished by differences in its advertisement call (see relevant species accounts) (Channing et al. 1994b). The atlas data are reliable.


A. villiersi is found in montane fynbos where the annual rainfall is >750 mm. It inhabits seepages and has been found amongst thick vegetation alongside small streams, even in plantations of exotic trees (A. Turner and A.L. de Villiers pers. comm.).

Life history

This species breeds in dense vegetation on wet slopes. Males call from concealed positions under moss or other vegetation, in damp areas (Channing 2001). Calling has been recorded during most months of the year except the driest summer months, while eggs have been found between July and November. A clutch comprises about 11 eggs, laid in a jelly mass 30 mm in diameter, often at the base of a wet, moss covered rock. Other nests have been found lightly concealed beneath overhanging grass on wet slopes and at the sides of road cuttings (Channing 2001). Metamorphosis takes place after 10–14 days.


A. villiersi is relatively widespread and often numerous. A large proportion of its habitat falls within protected areas, both statutory and private. The species does not need special conservation action.

Current distribution map

Undated records;  pre-1996;  1996 to 2002;  2003 to present


  • Web:
    FrogMAP. 2023. Arthroleptella villiersi Hewitt, 1935. Animal Demography Unit. Accessed from; on 2023-12-01 07:12:00.
  • Book:
    Minter L.R., Burger M., Harrison J.A., Braack H.H., Bishop P.J. & Kloepfer D. (eds). 2004. Atlas and Red Data book of the frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series no. 9. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Published by the Smithsonian Institution and the Avian Demography Unit (now Animal Demography Unit).