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Amietia vertebralis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AMPHIBIA ANURA PYXICEPHALIDAE

Scientific Name: Amietia vertebralis
Species Authority: (Hewitt, 1927)
Common Name(s):
English Ice Frog, Large-mouthed Frog
Taxonomic Notes: This species has a confusing taxonomic history which has recently been reviewed (Tarrant et al. 2008). The last Red List assessment of populations now associated to this species was made under the name Strongylopus hymenopus and likely included other taxa (see Minter et al. 2004; Tarrant et al. 2008).

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. & 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.
Justification:
This species has been assessed as Near Threatened as the recent change in its taxonomic status means that it is not as widespread as previously thought (Tarrant et al. 2008), and threats do not appear to be as severe. However, it may be vulnerable to invasive predatory fish, overgrazing with subsequent siltation and, several die-offs associated with the chytrid fungus have already been observed. As this is a high-altitude species dependent on pristine habitat, it may also be vulnerable to small changes in climate.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is endemic to the cold and wet north-eastern Drakensberg, restricted mainly to the South African side (Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Free State), at altitudes between 1,800 and 3,200 m. It is commonly found in streams and rivers flowing eastward into South Africa rather than those flowing west into Lesotho. Although some subpopulations are noted to have declined, no reduction in Extent of Occurrence of 4,000 km2 has yet been noted.

Countries:
Native:
Lesotho; South Africa (Free State, KwaZulu-Natal)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Concerns have been raised over recorded pathogen-related mortalities (Smith et al. 2007), although the effect on populations is as yet unknown. It is locally abundant in its restricted range.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a water-dependent species in montane grassland. It is found only in pristine habitats, and it is not present in agricultural areas. It is not known to move over land. It breeds in cold clear streams with associated pools with rocky substrates.
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is not significantly threatened because of the remoteness of its habitat. Local populations may be affected by overgrazing by livestock (causing erosion and subsequent siltation) and dams on rivers. An additional observed risk 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). There are several undocumented chytrid related die-off events recorded for this species at several sites (du Preez & 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 (du Preez & Weldon pers. comm. December 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: 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. It occurs in the uKhahlamba-DrakensbergPark.

Bibliography [top]

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: 77-94.

Bates, M.F. and Haacke, W.D. 2003. The frogs of Lesotho: diversity and distribution. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 19: 101-158.

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.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 2 September 2010).

JEANNE TARRANT, MICHAEL J. CUNNINGHAM & LOUIS H. DU PREEZ. 2008. Maluti Mystery: A systematic review of Amietia vertebralis (Hewitt, 1927) and Strongylopus hymenopus (Boulenger, 1920) (Anura: Pyxicephalidae). Zootaxa 1962: 33-48.

Lambiris, A.J.L. 1989. A review of the amphibians of Natal. Lammergeyer 39: 1-210.

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.

van Dijk, D.E. 1996. Anuran fauna of the Lesotho Highlands in the Khatse Dam catchment area and Jorodane River region. Koedoe: 77-90.

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. Amietia vertebralis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 September 2014.
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