Short Communication

Assessing water conditions for Heleophryne rosei tadpoles and the conservation relevance

Zishan Ebrahim, Atherton de Villiers, John Measey
Koedoe | Vol 62, No 1 | a1581 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v62i1.1581 | © 2020 Zishan Ebrahim, Atherton de Villiers, John Measey | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 2019 | Published: 11 August 2020

About the author(s)

Zishan Ebrahim, Cape Research Centre, South African National Parks, Tokai, Cape Town, South Africa; and, Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Atherton de Villiers, Scientific Services, CapeNature, Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch, South Africa
John Measey, Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


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Abstract

The Table Mountain Ghost Frog (Heleophryne rosei) is endemic to the Table Mountain massif and is Critically Endangered. Other than clear, clean perennial stream flow, the optimal aquatic conditions required by their larvae are unknown. Dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, electro-conductivity, aspect and permanence of flow are the independent variables measured seasonally at two sampling altitudes at 12 rivers of the massif. Using a logistic regression model we found that a permanence of water flow and lower water temperature were significant predictors of tadpole presence. Streams with mean summer temperature above 17.2 °C, at 300 m – 400 m above sea level, do not have tadpoles. Summer and autumn abstraction should be avoided, while a summer water temperature above an average of 17.2 °C is a threshold of potential concern for management authorities responsible for biodiversity conservation, threat mitigation efforts, and bulk-water supply and abstraction.

Conservation implications: The Environmental Water Reserve has not been determined for streams of Table Mountain. The requirements of the Critically Endangered Table Mountain Ghost Frog (Heleophryne rosei) can be adopted as the minimum conditions to support this species and associated communities. Perennial flow, an average January water temperature of 17.2 °C or lower.


Keywords

amphibian; environmental water reserve; management; protected areas; temperature; water flow

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