Cacosternum capense 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Pyxicephalidae

Scientific Name: Cacosternum capense
Species Authority: Hewitt, 1925
Common Name(s):
English Cape Dainty Frog, Cape Caco, Cape Froglet, Cape Metal Frog, Cross-marked Frog, Dainty Frog
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2016. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0 (31 March 2016). New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-02-08
Assessor(s): South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG), IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Angulo, A. & Cisneros-Heredia, D.F.
Contributor(s): Channing, A., Turner, A.A., de Villiers, A., Harvey, J., Tarrant, J., Measey, J., Tolley, K., Minter, L., du Preez, L., Burger, M., Cunningham, M. & Davies, S.
Listed as Near Threatened because while it occurs in about fifteen different locations and its distribution is not considered to be severely fragmented, its extent of occurrence is less than 20,000 km², its area of occupancy is probably less than 2,000 km² and the quality of its habitat in the southwestern Cape is declining.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Cape lowlands (below 280 m asl) west of the Cape Fold Mountains, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It occurs from the Cape Flats, through the wheat-growing region known as the Swartland, northwards for approximately 200 km to Graafwater, with two relictual populations occurring in the Olifants and Breede River valleys. Its extent of occurrence (19 500 km² with an area of occupancy of around 1%) appears to have contracted over the last few decades, in tandem with increased urbanization, and it is now extirpated from the urban areas and immediate surrounds of Cape Town. However, this process has slowed in recent years.
Countries occurrence:
South Africa (Western Cape)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:195Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:19500
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:15
Upper elevation limit (metres):280
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Subpopulations are widely scattered and densities (as assessed by chorus intensity) can be high but do not normally reach historical levels. Most of the populations that were close to regions of heavy urbanization have been lost.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It lives in undulating low-lying areas with poorly drained loamy to clay soils, although it is known from some shallow sand habitats. The dominant vegetation in which it historically occurred was Renosterveld heath land, which can leach and acidify the surface water. However, its contemporary presence in disturbed agricultural land indicates that acidic water is not a prerequisite for this species. It breeds in vleis and depressions in flat low-lying areas. The eggs are laid in numerous small clusters (20-50) attached to submerged vegetation in temporary water, with up to 400 eggs from a single female. It can tolerate some disturbance, and survives in many regularly ploughed wheat fields, possibly due to its burrowing to depths below the reach of conventional ploughs (they aestivate in burrows during the dry season).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species occurs in a habitat that is in high demand for urbanization and agriculture, and over 90% of its former habitat has been transformed by agriculture or urbanization. These same areas are under pressure from alien invasive plants which threaten to dry the breeding habitats. The long-term viability of populations living in disturbed agricultural fields, which contain high levels of agro-chemicals, is uncertain.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No research or conservation priorities are assigned to this species. Knowledge of the biology and ecology of the species, together with how these are affected by habitat changes and different land uses, and in particular agrochemicals, are needed to better evaluate its status. It is known to occur in three protected areas: J.N. Briers-Louw Provincial Nature Reserve (near Paarl), Elandsberg Private Nature Reserve (near Hermon) and the adjoining Voëlvlei Provincial Nature Reserve.

Citation: South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG), IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2010. Cacosternum capense. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T3441A9864837. . Downloaded on 16 August 2017.
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