Family Pyxicephalidae

Arthroleptella drewesii Channing, Hendricks and Dawood 1994

Drewes’ Moss Frog, Drewes’ Chirping Frog, Drewes se Mospaddatjie (A) Photo 51

By A. Channing

Currently accepted name: Arthroleptella drewesii
Red listing status: Data Deficient

Photo by Hardaker T. & , 2013. URL: FrogMAP: 1113


Status: Data Deficient (DD)


This species barely exceeds 20 mm in length. The outer metatarsal tubercle takes the form of a small ridge in A. drewesii, but is well developed in the sympatric A. villiersi. The advertisement call in A. drewesii has a duration of at least 0.6 s and consists of at least six pulses, with noticeable changes in intensity as the call progresses, whereas in A. villiersi the call is much shorter (0.07–0.11 s), comprising only 4–5 pulses (Channing et al. 1994b; Channing 2001; A. Turner pers. obs.).


This species is endemic to the Kleinrivier Mountains, near Hermanus. The known distribution is limited to the quarter-degree grid cell 3419AD, but is probably more extensive. It occurs in sympatry with A. villiersi, although the two species have not been observed calling from the same seepages. The atlas data are reliable, but probably incomplete.


A. drewesii inhabits dense vegetation along stream edges and seepages, in montane fynbos. It occurs in a winter rainfall area that receives annual rainfall of 500–750 mm.

Life history

Males call from moss-covered slopes, concealed beneath vegetation or stones. Large choruses develop during the rainy season, and calling continues throughout the day and night, from June through September. Nothing further is known about the life history and ecology of this species.



A. drewesii is known from the Fernkloof, Maanschynkop, and Vogelgat nature reserves, and adjacent wet areas at altitudes >200 m (Channing 2001; Harrison et al. 2001). The species was previously classified Near Threatened (Harrison et al. 2001), but this has been revised to Data Deficient for this publication, in view of the lack of information on the total extent of the species’ range.


Present and potential threats include habitat degradation caused by invasive alien vegetation, afforestation, the construction of roads and dams, the alteration of drainage patterns and too frequent fires (Harrison et al. 2001).

Recommended conservation actions

The continued existence of reserves appear to be essential for the long-term survival of A. drewesii, and appropriate conservation management practices are required. Habitat and limiting factor management, as well as regular population monitoring are recommended (Harrison et al. 2001). Surveys are needed to establish the full extent of this species’ range as well as the size of its sub-populations.

Current distribution map

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


  • Web:
    FrogMAP. 2023. Arthroleptella drewesii Channing, Hendricks and Dawood 1994. Animal Demography Unit. Accessed from; on 2023-12-10 04:12:04.
  • 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).