Arthroleptella lightfooti


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Arthroleptella lightfooti
Species Authority: (Boulenger, 1910)
Common Name(s):
English Lightfoot’s Moss Frog

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened 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. & Cisneros-Heredia, D.F.
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.
Although this species qualifies for Endangered under B1ab(ii,iii,v)c(iv)+2ab(ii,iii,v)c(iv), it has been listed as Near Threatened because it is relatively abundant within its small Extent of Occurrence (134 km2) and the current threats are not considered to be severe. However, the extent and quality of its habitat are probably declining a little suggesting that it may become threatened.
2004 Near Threatened

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Table Mountain and to the other mountains of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, where it occurs from sea level up to 1,000 m asl. It is very restricted with a small Extent of Occurrence (134 km2) and an Area of Occupancy estimated to be 10%.
South Africa (Western Cape)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


This species appears to be relatively abundant on the Cape Peninsula. Fire and post-fire impacts on number of mature individuals are expected to cause large fluctuations in subpopulation sizes (as in other members of this genus) but the species as a whole should be buffered against these fluctuations by the relatively large number of locations (currently estimated to be 10).

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a species of fynbos heathland and forest that does not survive in developed areas. Breeding is by direct development, with 5-12 eggs being laid in moss or similar vegetation in wet mossy areas near rivers, hillside or roadside seepages, and heavily vegetated streams.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Even though its habitat is largely protected, the major threats to this species are the spread of alien species (in particular pines) and too frequent or intense fires which cause extreme population fluctuations. Increased tourism in the area needs to be properly managed to minimise impact. There has probably been some loss of habitat in the past due to urban development and pine plantations on parts of the mountains.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation actions are currently prioritised for this species; however, monitoring programs are required to determine population trends. Most of this species' range is in Table Mountain National Park and Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens and thus potential impacts from tourism need to be properly managed. Results from research need to be placed into a management framework for active conservation measures, inclusive of invasive species control.

Bibliography [top]

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

Channing, A., Hendricks, D. and Dawood, A. 1994. Description of a new moss frog from the south-western Cape (Anura: Ranidae: Arthroleptella). South African Journal of Zoology: 240-243.

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

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.

Wager, V.A. 1986. Frogs of South Africa, 2nd edition. Delta Books, Craighall.

Citation: South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG), IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2010. Arthroleptella lightfooti. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 31 August 2015.
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