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Bale Mountains Treefrog

Balebreviceps hillmani


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 (?)

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 6.39 (?)
ED Score: 36.18 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


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.

Find out more

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Urban development Livestock Gathering Logging Disease

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
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