Amietia hymenopus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Pyxicephalidae

Scientific Name: Amietia hymenopus (Boulenger, 1920)
Common Name(s):
English Phofung River Frog, Berg Stream Frog, Drakensberg River Frog, Natal Drakensberg Frog
Rana hymenopus Boulenger, 1920
Strongylopus hymenopus (Boulenger, 1920)
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: Until 2008 the Maluti River Frog was referred to Amietia vertebralis and the Phofung River Frog to Strongylopus hymenopus; a recent revision of type specimens has clarified the confusion between the two species, showing that Amietia vertebralis is widespread in Lesotho, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa, while Amietia hymenopus occurs within a more restricted range range in north-eastern Lesotho and the Drakensberg highlands (Channing 2015).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
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, J., Tolley, K., Minter, L., du Preez, L., Cunningham, M., Baptista, N., Hopkins, R., Conradie, W. & Chapeta, Y.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Rebelo, A., Garollo, E., Measey, J. & Neam, K.
Listed as Near Threatened because the small EOO (4,673 km2) and AOO (88 km2) would qualify this species as Endangered were any threats to its habitat confirmed.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the high slopes of the Drakensberg Mountains and Lesotho Highlands, in South Africa and Lesotho. It occurs between 1,800-3,000 m asl, with an extent of occurrence of 4,673 km2 and an area of occupancy of 88 km2. There are four threat-defined locations.
Countries occurrence:
Lesotho; South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:88Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:4672.66
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:4Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Lower elevation limit (metres):1800
Upper elevation limit (metres):3000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is relatively easy to find in its upland locations, and is locally abundant where it occurs. Large die-offs of both adults, juveniles and tadpoles have been observed over the past decade, especially around Mont-aux-Sources (J. Tarrant pers. comm. August 2016). There are several undocumented chytrid related die-off events recorded for this species at several sites (L. du Preez and C. Weldon pers. comm. December 2009), and chytrid infection rate is up to 38.6% in tadpoles (Smith et al. 2007), although these subpopulations at these same sites still appear healthy (L. du Preez and C. Weldon pers. comm. December 2009).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It lives in high-altitude riverine grassland. It breeds in seepage areas on the rocky banks of slow-flowing streams, or near the edges of pools. It lays its eggs in water. Tadpoles have been observed swimming under ice. Adults have been observed sitting basking on rocks. Breeding takes place throughout the year.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
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): Large numbers of adults and juveniles die every year from chytrid infections (Meyer 2009). In addition, large tadpole die-offs from drying of streams and severe freezing in winter. Additional threats may include trampling and grazing. Greatest observed threat from climate change with extreme drying and chytrid acting on a limited number of locations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation actions
Its range includes uKhahlamba-Drakensburg Park.

Research needed
Studies on its population size, distribution and trends, life history and ecology, and threats are needed. In particular, the stability of the adult population should be assessed and chytridiomycosis impacts monitored.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG). 2016. Amietia hymenopus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T58768A77166198. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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