Arthroleptis troglodytes 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Arthroleptidae

Scientific Name: Arthroleptis troglodytes
Species Authority: Poynton, 1963
Common Name(s):
English Cave Squeaker
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).
Taxonomic Notes: There are serious taxonomic problems with the genus Arthroleptis through much of Africa. In many cases, the available names can be referred only to museum specimens, not to animals in the field. This is because the identification of these species frequently depends more on their vocalizations than their morphology.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-03-28
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N.
Contributor(s): Channing, A., Tambara, E., Harvey, J., Poynton, J. & Cunningham, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Luedtke, J.
Listed as Critically Endangered, despite the lack of recent records, because the species seems to be endemic to a very specific high altitude micro-habitat within the Chimanimani Mountains, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 18 km² and where there are known ongoing threats to its habitat. It is Possibly Extinct and was last seen in 1962. Should new records of the species become available, its category of threat should be reviewed bearing in mind that it is restricted by suitable habitat and that, even if Arthroleptis troglodytes were to occur throughout Chimanimani National Park, its EOO would likely remain within the thresholds for the threatened categories.
Date last seen: 1962
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known only from a single location - its type locality - in the western Chimanimani Mountains in eastern Zimbabwe, where it occurs above 1,500 m asl (Poynton 1963). However, the Chimanimani Mountains extend into Mozambique so the species is likely to occur across the border. Its current estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 18 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Number of Locations:1
Lower elevation limit (metres):1500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is probably a rare species. The species was not found during a survey in 2010, but this may have been due to the time of year, i.e. not during the rains (Harvey pers. comm. 2012). Therefore, there have been no records since this species was discovered in 1962 (when 16 specimens were collected) and there is no information on its population trend.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Most of the specimens were collected in sinkholes or caves and a few were found in open montane grassland. It presumably breeds by direct development.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There is very little direct information available for this poorly known species and threats to the species are not well understood. During a survey in 2010, the vicinity of the type locality was found to be intact (Harvey pers. comm. 2012). However, there are both diamond and gold mining activities locally. The diamond mine at Chimanimani is currently outside the national park, but artisanal mining is known to have caused significant riparian damage on the Zimbabwe side (supposedly worse in the southern part of the park) and is also known to take place in fluvial areas on the Mozambique side  (M. Cunningham pers. comm. 2012). Furthermore, rumours were circulating during a visit in 2010 that the government was considering deproclaiming part of the national park for a commercial gold mine (M. Cunningham pers. comm. 2012). Thus, considering the available data, it is not implausible that mining activities pose a threat to the species. Finally, as with other species occurring in isolated montane habitats, it could be at risk from the effects of climate change.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The area from which it has been recorded is protected, primarily in the Chimanimani National Park, but the level and effectiveness of protection is unknown. Surveys are urgently needed to relocate this species. Furthermore, research is needed on this species' taxonomic status, distribution, population status and natural history. Surveys should also aim to determine population trends.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2014. Arthroleptis troglodytes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T54389A17161086. . Downloaded on 28 October 2016.
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