|Scientific Name:||Amietia vertebralis|
|Species Authority:||(Hewitt, 1927)|
Amietia umbraculata (Bush, 1952)
Rana umbraculata Bush, 1952
Rana vertebralis Hewitt, 1927
|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: http://research.amnh.org/herpetology/amphibia/index.html.|
|Taxonomic Notes:||This species has a confusing taxonomic history which has been reviewed several times (Tarrant et al. 2008, Channing 2015). Most recently known as Amietia umbraculata, Channing (2015) reverted the name to A. vertebralis based on examination of type specimens and Zoological Nomenclature rules.|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG)|
|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., Burger, M., Cunningham, M., Baptista, N., Hopkins, R., Davies, S., Conradie, W. & Chapeta, Y.|
|Facilitator/Compiler(s):||Rebelo, A., Garollo, E., Measey, J. & Neam, K.|
The species is Least Concern due to its relatively wide distribution across its range and apparent abundance at sites at which it occurs. However, the population as a whole is likely to have experienced declines as a result of the damming of major rivers in Lesotho as part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, as well as, recent road construction projects, resulting in local impacts on river habitat. It does appear to tolerate some habitat modification in the form of eutrophication.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
This species is a high-altitude montane anuran, usually occurring between 1,600–3,400 m asl, and is endemic to southern Africa and Lesotho. It occurs in the Afro Mountain Grassland and Alti Mountain Grassland areas and is found in most of the major rivers of Lesotho, as well as in the upper reaches of tributaries of the Thukela and Mzimkulu rivers in the Drakensberg of KwaZulu-Natal, the Elands River in the Free State, and the Bell River in the Eastern Cape.
Native:Lesotho; South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal)
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||It is locally abundant across its range throughout eastern and central Lesotho. Subpopulations in Silaka Nature Reserve, near Port St. Johns in the Eastern Cape, occur in abundance (Venter and Conradie 2015). It may have experienced local declines as a result of damming of major rivers for the Katse and Mohale dams. Concerns have previously been raised over recorded pathogen-related mortalities (Smith et al. 2007), although the effect on this species is as yet unknown.|
|Current Population Trend:||Unknown|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It is a water-dependent species in montane grassland. The adults are largely aquatic, preferring cold, clear mountain streams with rocky substrates (Lambiris 1991). They are able to remain completely submerged for long periods, and have been observed to spend up to 30 hours under water (Bush 1952), while tadpoles and juveniles spend more time closer to the surface and in shallower pools (Bates 2004). During the winter months both adults and tadpoles have been observed swimming under the ice that frequently forms a layer on the rivers in the highlands. |
Although they are found most commonly where conditions are classified as pristine, large numbers have observed in the Sani River near the Lesotho border post, the water of which is quite polluted from the laundry activities and debris from the nearby village. Breeding occurs during the warmer months (September–February), with males calling from under the water or with just the head protruding. Eggs are laid in large, sticky clutches in slow-flowing water and become attached to sunken vegetation (Bates 2004).
|Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:||Yes|
|Movement patterns:||Not a Migrant|
|Use and Trade:||It is used in local traditional medicine for treating burns and may be eaten on rare occasions (A. Rebelo pers. comm. August 2016).|
It is not significantly threatened because of the remoteness of its habitat. Local populations are probably affected by afforestation, dam building, and overgrazing by livestock, especially sheep, causing erosion and subsequent siltation of rivers. It is used in local traditional medicine for treating burns, but probably not at a level to constitute a threat to the species. Populations have been found to be infected by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which causes chytridiomycosis. This frog has the ecological characteristics of a species that is potentially at risk from chytridiomycosis, and so its populations should be regularly monitored (there has already been one recorded die-off, but this was not confirmed to be a result of chytridiomycosis).
It could also be potentially threatened in areas of Lesotho affected by the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, where the filling of the Katse and Mohale Dams may have resulted in habitat loss, as well as, the isolation and even extinction of some populations (Bates 2002, Minter et al. 2004). An additional observed risk to both species is the threat of predation and competition posed by the introduction of trout and other alien fish for recreational fishing into the main rivers of Lesotho (Swartz 2005). In heavily stocked regions it is common that the frog species only occurs in smaller rivers and tributaries not accessible to trout, for example, where above waterfalls, which inhibit the movement of trout.
The species has a relatively restricted range and is endemic to the Lesotho and Drakensberg highlands. It occurs, and is therefore protected, in the following nature reserves in South Africa: Cathedral Peak, Drakensberg Gardens, Giant’s Castle Game Reserve and the Royal Natal National Park. In Lesotho it occurs in Ts’ehlanyane National Park, Sehlabathebe National Park and the Bokong Nature Reserve. It also occurs in uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park and rivers in the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Park between Sehlabathebe and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site (Bates 2002).
This species would benefit from monitoring of subpopulations with particular reference to the spread and effect of chytrid. Base line data on life-history, ecology, population trends and threats are all required before monitoring can begin.
Bates, M.F. 2002. Distribution of Amietia vertebralis (Hewitt, 1927) (Anura: Ranidae), with comments on its taxonomic and conservation status. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 18: 77-94.
Bates, M.F. 2004. Amietia vertebralis (Hewitt, 1927). In: L.R. Minter, M. Burger, J.A. Harrison, H.H. Braack, P.J. Bishop and D. Kloepfer (eds), Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, pp. 278–280. Smithsonian Institution—Man and Biosphere Biodiversity Program, Washington, D.C.
Bates, M.F. and Haacke, W.D. 2003. The frogs of Lesotho: diversity and distribution. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 19: 101-158.
Bush, S.F. 1952. On Rana umbraculata, a new frog from South Africa. Annals of the Natal Museum 12: 153–164.
Channing, A. 1979. Ecological and systematic relationships of Rana and Strongylopus in southern Natal. Annals of the Natal Museum 23: 797-831.
Channing, A. 2001. Amphibians of Central and Southern Africa. Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London.
Channing A. 2015. The Maluti Mystery revisited: Taxonomy of African River Frogs (Pyxicephalidae, Amietia) on the Drakensberg Mountains in southern Africa. Zootaxa 3925(2): 271-280.
IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 07 December 2016).
Lambiris, A.J.L. 1989. A review of the amphibians of Natal. Lammergeyer 39: 1-210.
Lambiris, A.J.L. 1991. The use of laryngeal and buccopharyngeal morphology in anuran taxonomy. Department of Biology, University of Natal.
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. 1964. The amphibia of southern Africa: a faunal study. Annals of the Natal Museum 17: 1-334.
Smith, K.G., Weldon, C., Conradie, W. and du Preez, L.H. 2007. Relationships among size, development, and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in African tadpoles. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 74(2): 159-164.
Swartz, E.R. 2005. Phylogeography, phylogenetics and evolution of the redfins (Teleostei, Cyprinidae, Pseudobarbus) in southern Africa. Department of Genetics, University of Pretoria.
Tarrant, J., Cunningham, M.J. and Du Preez, L.H. 2008. Maluti Mystery: A systematic review of Amietia vertebralis (Hewitt, 1927) and Strongylopus hymenopus (Boulenger, 1920) (Anura: Pyxicephalidae). Zootaxa 1962: 33-48.
van Dijk, D.E. 1996. Anuran fauna of the Lesotho Highlands in the Khatse Dam catchment area and Jorodane River region. Koedoe 39: 77-90.
Venter, A.J. and Conradie, W. 2015. A checklist of the reptiles and amphibians found in the protected areas along the South African Wild Coast, with notes on conservation implications. Koedoe 57(1): 1-25.
Wager, V.A. 1986. Frogs of South Africa, 2nd edition. Delta Books, Craighall.
|Citation:||IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG). 2016. Amietia vertebralis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T54359A77158948.Downloaded on 18 January 2017.|
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