Hemisus guttatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Hemisotidae

Scientific Name: Hemisus guttatus (Rapp, 1842)
Common Name(s):
English Spotted Snout-burrower, Spotted Burrowing Frog, Spotted Shovel-nosed Frog
Engystoma guttatum Rapp, 1842
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).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-08-01
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., Becker, F., Harvey, J., Tarrant, J., Measey, G.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 this species is fairly widespread, its range includes few protected areas, there is continuing decline in area, extent and quality of its habitat, and its population is considered to be severely fragmented with more than 50% of subpopulations considered to be non-viable. The species should be carefully monitored as the loss of one or more subpopulations could cause the species to qualify for a threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species, which is known only from South Africa, occurs in southern Mpumalanga, and central and eastern KwaZulu-Natal, south to Durban on the coast. The northernmost coastal record is from Hluhluwe. Recently the species has been recorded from Witrivier Town, northern Mpumalanga (L. du Preez pers. comm. August 2016). Based on the currently known distribution of this species, it is likely that it occurs in Swaziland, although there are no records confirming that. It ranges from sea level up to over 1,000 m Asl on the summit of the Lebombo Mountains.
Countries occurrence:
South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:7933.4Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:82431.48
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Breeding congregations of this species appear to be relatively small and widely dispersed. Due to its secretive nature, it appears very difficult to find. This species is considered to be severely fragmented as no subpopulation has >50% of individuals and >50% of subpopulations are considered non-viable.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It inhabits grassland and savanna. It breeds in seasonal pans, swampy areas, and in pools near rivers. It nests in burrows in wet soil close to temporary water, and tadpoles move to water to develop.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no records of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The bulk of the known range is along the central KwaZulu-Natal coast, where it is highly fragmented and pressured. The main threats to this species include: habitat loss due to afforestation, sugar cane cultivation, urbanization and invasive alien plants lowering the water table.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
This species occurs in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, and possibly the White River Nature Reserve. The coastal subpopulations occur in some protected areas, such as Umlalazi Nature Reserve, but the areas are not substantial and are heavily pressured in surrounding catchment (J. Harvey pers. comm. August 2016). It might occur in Amatikulu Nature Reserve (small and isolated) and only just overlaps with iSimangaliso Wetland Park in the south. The inland subpopulations are poorly known, but likely do not occur in protected areas. Habitat protection in these areas is moderate, but not enough area is protected (J. Harvey pers. comm. August 2016).

Conservation Needed
Improved habitat protection is required at sites where this species is known to occur.

Research Needed
Studies on its population size, distribution and trends, ability to disperse, life history and ecology (including terrestrial habitat requirements), and threats are needed.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG). 2017. Hemisus guttatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T55280A77161389. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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