Sclerophrys pantherina 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Bufonidae

Scientific Name: Sclerophrys pantherina (Smith, 1828)
Common Name(s):
English Western Leopard Toad, Panther Toad, Southern Panther Toad
Amietophrynus pantherinus (Smith, 1828)
Bufo pantherinus Smith, 1828
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:
Taxonomic Notes: Reports of this species occurring between Agulhas and Wilderness, the westernmost record of Sclerophrys pardalis (Minter et al. 2004) remain unconfirmed.

This species was under the generic name Amietophrynus but is now treated under Sclerophrys (Frost 2016).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,iv)+2ab(ii,iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-08-02
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., Turner, A.A., de Villiers, A., Harvey, J., Tarrant, J., Measey, J., Becker, F., Tolley, K., Minter, L., du Preez, L., Burger, M., Cunningham, M., Baptista, N., Davies, S., Hopkins, R., Conradie, W. & Chapeta, Y.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Rebelo, A., Measey, J. & Neam, K.
Listed as Endangered because of its extent of occurrence of 3,824 km2, its area of occupancy is 405 km2, its population considered to be severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat and area of occupancy due to increased urbanisation and agricultural expansion throughout its range.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known only from the Western Cape Province in South Africa, ranging from the Cape Peninsula eastward to the westernmost part of Agulhas National Park. The southern-most known sites are Fish Hoek valley and Kommetjie (A. Rebelo pers. comm. August 2016). It is only known to breed at low elevations, within 25 km of the sea, but adults have been found ranging in the mountains up to 500 m asl. It is known from more than 10 threat-defined locations, its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 3,824 km2, and its area of occupancy (405 km2) is continually being reduced by ongoing development and habitat loss within the City of Cape Town and Overstrand. Subpopulations from the City of Cape Town have been shown to be genetically distinct from those in the eastern area of this species' distribution and their disjunction is not believed to have been caused by anthropogenic effects. There are no recent records of this species from the central parts of its distribution, including Kleinmond, Betty's Bay and Pringle Bay, where it is now thought to be extinct (Measey and Tolley 2011).
Countries occurrence:
South Africa (Western Cape)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:405.32Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:3823.77
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Upper elevation limit (metres):500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is locally common and easily seen during breeding in August. Within the last 20 years it has undergone drastic declines from urban areas where it was once abundant, although no quantitative data are available. Collection of quantitative data is ongoing with which it is hoped to provide population data in the future. There is a historic record (1980) from the edge of Cape Point Natural Reserve at Klaarsjagersberg, however the species is possibly extinct at this location. There have been no records in the last 20-30 years, however this could be due to the lack of surveys effort focused in the area (A. Rebelo pers. comm. August 2016). 

The population is considered to be severely fragmented because no one site holds >50% of individuals and the distances between subpopulations are considered to be too great for dispersal within one generation. More than half of the occupied habitat is in small and isolated patches and >50% of subpopulations are considered non-viable without continued conservation.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Within the Cape Metropolitan area, the sites this species inhabits are almost entirely urbanised, while east of the Cape Flats the habitat is far less disturbed (Measey and Tolley 2011). It forages in fynbos heathland, farmland, suburban gardens, and urban open areas, although always in close proximity to freshwater habitats. Mass breeding events take place annually, during July–September, in large wetlands, vleis, dams, and sluggish water in lowland fynbos heathland, as well as, in altered habitats with permanent waterbodies, and occasionally temporary waterbodies that retain water well into summer. They are known to breed in the same water bodies each year and once breeding is completed, they return to their foraging areas, many of which are private gardens within a 2 km radius of breeding sites (Measey et al. 2014). Females have been reported to lay nearly 25,000 eggs. There is an ongoing decline in the quantity and quality of suitable habitat for both foraging and breeding.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):2.5
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant
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): Although it is tolerant of habitat alteration, it is being negatively impacted by increased urbanisation and agricultural expansion in its entire range. Road kills, urban design, alien vegetation and introduced fish are all thought to be important factors. Even in areas with active conservation from citizen scientists, large numbers of toads (average of 20.47% of 2,384 toads over six breeding seasons) are still being killed on peri-urban roads (Kruger 2014). Within the Cape Metropolitan area, the sites this species inhabits are surrounded by canalised rivers and channels, major roads and residential dwellings, while the habitat is far less disturbed east of the Cape Flats, although even this area has undergone considerable urbanisation and agricultural expansion in the last 20 years (Measey and Tolley 2011). A recent introduction and rapid expansion of Sclerophrys gutturalis into the City of Cape Town poses threats of competition for breeding habitat (Measey et al. 2014). This species is known to test positive for the amphibian chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, albeit low infection intensity and prevalence (Tarrant et al. 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
It occurs on the western fringe of Agulhas National Park, Table Mountain National Park, as well as in various City of Cape Town reserves. It is legally protected by the Nature Conservation Ordinance No. 19 of 1974, and from certain environmental threats by the National Environmental Management Act No. 22 of 2009 (NEMA). In 2008, the CAPE Invasive Alien Animal Working Group (CAPE-IAA) launched a campaign to eradicate Sclerophrys gutturalis from the Western Cape (Measey et al. 2014), however the ongoing work is challenging, as almost all of the breeding sites are garden ponds on private property in a low density, high income residential area (Measey and Davies 2011). The Western Leopard Toad Conservation Committee (WLT-CC) is a multi-stakeholder group (including volunteer groups, SANParks, City of Cape Town, CapeNature and SANBI) which overseas the conservation of this species (Turner et al. 2011).

Conservation Needed
A Biodiversity Management Plan (under NEMBA) is required to underpin Memoranda of Understanding between multiple stakeholders. A concerted effort is needed in Agulhas National Park, where there is great potential to significantly improve the status of this species through conservation planning and control of threats posed by alien species (including fish, Guttural toads and plants). Much of its remaining habitat, however, is made up of urban gardens and is unprotected, which requires significant public education to make any conservation measure a success.

Research Needed
Research is needed to determine population trends and the importance of perceived threats. Population monitoring is required at known breeding sites to determine their efficacy, especially in the eastern range.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG). 2016. Sclerophrys pantherina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T54723A77159333. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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