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Leptopelis xenodactylus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AMPHIBIA ANURA ARTHROLEPTIDAE

Scientific Name: Leptopelis xenodactylus
Species Authority: Poynton, 1963
Taxonomic Notes: The relationships between this and other species without toe discs requires a detailed taxonomic study using molecular and morphological methodologies.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-02-08
Assessor/s: South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG)
Reviewer/s: Hammerson, G.A. & Kusrini, M.D.
Contributor/s: Channing, A., Turner, A., Schiøtz, A., de Villiers, A., Harrison, J., Harvey, J., Tarrant, J., Measey, J., Tolley, K., Minter, L., du Preez, L., Burger, M., Cunningham, M. & Davies, S.
Justification:
Listed as Endangered, in view of its very small area of occupancy (AOO) of 50 km2, severely fragmented nature of the subpopulations, and a continuing decline in the quality of its habitat and area of occupancy.
History:
2004 Endangered
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to south-eastern South Africa in the southern KwaZulu-Natal Province highlands, and marginally in Eastern Cape Province. It is not found on the steep slopes of the escarpment, but usually occurs between 1,000 and 1,830 m asl. Known from 11 localities, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 10,567 km2 and an area of occupancy (AOO) estimated at 0.5% of the EOO (50 km2). This AOO estimate is based on known breeding sites (14 sites, five occurring in a close cluster and the other nine occurring in relative isolation from each other, with >40 km between them) adding up to 2.95 km2 and the expectation that more will be discovered (see Armstrong 2001), as it is suspected that not all breeding sites are known. There is a continuing decline in AOO as the temporary wetlands it inhabits are being drained for agriculture and construction.
Countries:
Native:
South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is cryptic and not commonly encountered. It is considered to be severely fragmented as over 50% of individuals are in isolated patches, and the distances between subpopulations are considered to be too great for dispersal within one generation.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It occurs in grassland, keeping to areas away from trees, and breeds in upland bogs, grassy wetlands and marshes, generally using semi-permanent water. Eggs are presumably laid in a nest on the ground near water.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It has a small range, and lives in a habitat which is continually declining in quality due to threats of afforestation, inappropriate fire regimes, cattle in vleis trampling and eutrophication, overgrazing, as well as the spread of alien plants that lower the water table (leading to drying out of breeding sites).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Priority for conservation work is given over to determination of dispersal and distribution together with categorising threats. The relationships between this and other species without toe discs needs study. This species would make a good candidate for monitoring. Areas in which it occurs require stakeholder agreements for sensitive management. It is found in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, which is at least well managed for biodiversity conservation.
Citation: South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG) 2011. Leptopelis xenodactylus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 April 2014.
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