Cacosternum capense 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Pyxicephalidae

Scientific Name: Cacosternum capense 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: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-08-03
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG)
Reviewer(s): Luedtke, J.
Contributor(s): Channing, A., Rebelo, A., de Villiers, A., Turner, A.A., Becker, F., Harvey, J., Measey, G.J., Tarrant, J., Tolley, K., Minter, L., du Preez, L., Burger, M., Cunningham, M.J., Baptista, N., Hopkins, R., Davies, S., Conradie, W. & Chapeta, Y.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Rebelo, A., Garollo, E., Measey, G.J., Neam, K.
Listed as Near Threatened because, although it occurs in about 15 different locations and it is not considered to be severely fragmented, its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 14,505 km2 and the quality of its habitat in the southwestern Cape is declining making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable under the B criterion.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Cape lowlands (below 280 m Asl), north of the city of Cape Town and 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 EOO (14,505 km2) 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 surroundings of Cape Town. However, this process has slowed in recent years.
Countries occurrence:
South Africa (Western Cape)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:6421.23Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:14505.07
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 fragmented; and it generally does not occur at high densities at breeding sites. Most of the populations that were close to regions of heavy urbanization have been lost. Two historical sites, Stellenbosch original old golf course and Rosebank corner of Rondebosch Common, are now extinct, and the subpopulation from inland of Macassar to Faure area is possibly extinct. More surveys need to be conducted in the Macassar area to determine whether the species is still extant.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:No
All individuals in one subpopulation: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 sandy habitats. The dominant vegetation in which it historically occurred was Renosterveld heathland, 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 shallow natural pools of water (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 underground during the dry season).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no records of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species occurs in a habitat that is in high demand for urbanisation 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: Conservation Actions
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. No conservation priorities are assigned to this species.

Research Needed
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. This species is due for another systematic distribution survey.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG). 2017. Cacosternum capense. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T3441A77163164. . Downloaded on 22 May 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided