Assessing water conditions for Heleophryne rosei tadpoles and the conservation relevance
de Villiers, A.
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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.
- RESEARCH: Measey, J