When threatened, this Critically Endangered frog inflates its body with air and stands raised on outstretched limbs to appear larger.
The Bale Mountains treefrog is endemic to a small region in the highlands of Harenna, Ethiopia, and occupies an area less than 5 km². This species has a stout and rounded body and is deep brown or purple in colour, with a pair of striking golden stripes extending from its head down the body.
The sole species of the genus Balebreviceps, this unique frog diverged from the other members of its family, Brevicepitidae over 50 million years ago. In evolutionary terms, the Bale Mountains treefrog is as distantly related to all other amphibians as a mongoose is to a polar bear! The evolutionary isolation of this species mirrors its geographic isolation, with its closest relatives occurring from South Africa to Kenya.
The major threats to this species are habitat degradation from overgrazing by cattle, deforestation from firewood collection, and human encroachment. The Chytrid fungus has been detected in this species, though its effects are unclear. The entire range of this species occurs within the Bale Mountains National Park, though there is increasing encroachment and a lack of amphibian-specific conservation activities in the Park.
- Order: Anura
- Family: Brevicipitidae
- Population: Unknown
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 5cm (?)
The Bale Mountains treefrog is endemic to Harenna, Ethiopia, an area of the Bale Mountains to the east of the Rift Valley. It occurs in the highlands at 2,815 – 3,200 m above sea level, and is thought to occupy a very small range of only 5 km².