Amietophrynus pantherinus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

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

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,iv)+2ab(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. & Menegon, M.
Contributor(s): Channing, A., Turner, 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 Endangered in view of its Extent of Occurrence being 1,750 km2 and with an Area of Occupancy of 440 km2, with a severely fragmented distribution, and a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat and Area of Occupancy.
2004 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known only from a very small area (Extent of Occurrence 1,750 km2) of the Western Cape Province in South Africa, ranging from the Cape Peninsula eastward to the westernmost part of Agulhas National Park. Its Area of Occupancy (440 km2) is continually being reduced by ongoing development and habitat change within the City of Cape Town and Overstrand. 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. 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. Subpopulations in Kleinmond, Betty's Bay and Pringle Bay are now thought to be extinct.
South Africa (Western Cape)
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. The spatial distribution of this species is considered to be severely fragmented as more than half of the occupied habitat area is in small and isolated patches and >50% of subpopulations are considered non-viable.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It breeds 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, and has a preference for deep water, with floating plants. Females have been reported to lay nearly 25,000 eggs. It forages in fynbos heathland, farmland, suburban gardens, and urban open areas, although always in close proximity to freshwater habitats. There is an ongoing decline in the quantity and quality of suitable habitat for both foraging and breeding.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

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 urbanization and agricultural expansion in its entire range. Road kills, urban design, alien vegetation and introduced fish are all thought to be important factors. A recent introduction and rapid expansion of Amietophrynus gutturalis into the City of Cape Town poses threats of competition and possible hybridisation.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Research is needed to determine population trends and the importance of perceived threats. A Biodiversity Management Plan (under NEMBA) is required to underpin Memoranda of Understanding between multiple stakeholders. Monitoring is required at known breeding sites to determine their efficacy, especially in the eastern range. 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). It occurs on the western fringe of Agulhas National Park, Table Mountain National Park as well as in various City of Cape Town reserves. However, much of its remaining habitat  is made up of urban gardens, is unprotected, and requires significant public education to make any conservation measure a success.

Bibliography [top]

Channing, A. 2001. Amphibians of Central and Southern Africa. Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London.

Cherry, M. I. 1992. Body size, age and reproduction in the leopard toad, Bufo pardalis. Journal of Zoology, London 228: 41-50.

Cherry, M.I. 1992. Sexual selection in the leopard toad, Bufo pardalis. Behavior: 164-176.

Cunningham, M. and Cherry, M.I. 2000. Mitochondrial DNA divergence in southern African Bufonids: are species equivalent entities? African Journal of Herpetology: 9-22.

du Preez, L. and Carruthers, V. 2009. A complete guide to the frogs of southern Africa. Struik Nature, Cape Town.

Eick, B.N., Harley, E.H. and Cherry, M.I. 2001. Molecular analyses supports specific status of Bufo pardalis and Bufo pantherinus. Journal of Herpetology: 113-114.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3). Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2010).

Measey, G. J. & Tolley, K. A. 2010. Investigating the cause of the disjunct distribution of Amietophrynus pantherinus, the Endangered South African western leopard toad. Conservation Genetics (in press).

Minter, L.R., Burger, M., Harrison, J.A., Braack, H.H., Bishop, P.J. and Knoepfer, D. 2004. Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series No. 9, Washington, D.C.

Passmore, N.I. and Carruthers, V.C. 1995. South African Frogs, 2nd Edition. Southern Book Publishers and Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg.

Poynton, J.C. and Lambiris, A.J.L. 1988. On Bufo pantherinus A. Smith, 1828 (Anura: Bufonidae), the leopard toad of the southwestern Cape, South Africa, with the designation of a neotype. African Journal of Herpetology: 3-12.

Rose, W. 1929. Veld & Vlei. Speciality Press, Cape Town.

Tandy, M. and Keith, R. 1972. African Bufo. In: Blair, W.F. (ed.), Evolution in the genus Bufo, pp. 119-170. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

Citation: South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG), IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2010. Amietophrynus pantherinus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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