Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Hemisotidae

Scientific Name: Hemisus guttatus
Species Authority: (Rapp, 1842)
Common Name(s):
English Spotted Burrowing Frog, Spotted Shovelnose Frog, Spotted Snout-burrower
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: Vulnerable B2ab(ii,iii,iv) 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. & Cox, N.A.
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 Vulnerable because its Area of Occupancy is estimated to be 510 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in its Area of Occupancy and the extent and quality of its habitat. The estimate of the Area of Occupancy provided is conservative in nature; if additional surveys suggest it is more circumscribed then a higher threat category should be considered.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Vulnerable (VU)

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 (Extent of Occurrence of 51,000 km2 and Area of Occupancy conservatively estimated to be 1%). The northernmost coastal record is from Hluhluwe. It ranges from sea level up to over 1,000 m on the summit of the Lebombo Mountains. It has not been recorded from Swaziland, but it presumably occurs in this country.
Countries occurrence:
South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga)
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 510
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 51000
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. 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: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: Yes
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits grassland and savannah. It breeds in seasonal pans, swampy areas, and in pools near rivers. It nests in burrows in wet soil by temporary water, and tadpoles move to water to develop.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats include: habitat loss due to afforestation, sugar cane cultivation, and urbanization and invasive alien plants lowering the water table.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The highest priority for conservation research of this species is to assess its ability to disperse. Understanding the impact of perceived threats and population size and trends is also required. This species occurs in the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, and other protected areas.

Citation: South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG), IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2010. Hemisus guttatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T55280A11270129. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
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