|Scientific Name:||Afrixalus spinifrons|
|Species Authority:||(Cope, 1862)|
Hyperolius spinifrons Cope, 1862
|Taxonomic Source(s):||Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: http://research.amnh.org/herpetology/amphibia/index.html. (Accessed: 27 January 2014).|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Afrixalus spinifrons is an endemic species complex comprising Afrixalus knysnae and two subspecies, Afrixalus spinifrons spinifrons confined to the central KwaZulu-Natal coast and A. s. intermedius from the KwaZulu-Natal midlands (sensu Pickersgill 1996). Subpopulations from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal previously assigned to Afrixalus knysnae were re-assigned to A. spinifrons (Pickersgill 1996). Tarrant (2012) showed that, according to molecular and morphological descriptions, Eastern Cape populations should be referred to A. s. intermedius instead of A. s. spinifrons as previously thought. Tarrant (2012) also suggested that the uMkomaas River is a possible boundary to A. s. spinifrons. The two subspecies are distinguishable on the basis of morphology, genetics and calls.|
|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.|
Listed as Least Concern due to its overall wide distribution and presumed large population. However, certain sites where this species occurs, particularly coastal KwaZulu-Natal, are experiencing ongoing habitat transformation which may seriously impact on long-term population viability. Its area of occupancy (AOO) may therefore be prone to continuing decline and the species should therefore be carefully monitored. Furthermore, should the two subspecies be spilt in the future, this would have implications for conservation status. Since the taxa contained within this complex have different geographical ranges, and possibly differing ecological requirements, protection plans should be precisely defined in order to increase their impact on target populations.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
|Range Description:||This species, which is endemic to South Africa, occurs as two subspecies: Afrixalus spinifrons spinifrons and A. s. intermedius. The nominate subspecies occurs at low to intermediate altitudes (below 700 m asl) in KwaZulu-Natal; the latter occurs at altitudes up to 1,500 m asl in western KwaZulu-Natal, between the midlands and foothills of the Drakensberg, and in the Eastern Cape Province. According to Pickersgill (2007), A. s. spinifrons and A. s. intermedius appear to intergrade on the escarpment at about 700 m asl. Tarrant (2012) showed that, according to molecular, acoustic and morphological analyses, the Eastern Cape subpopulations of this species should be referred to A. s. intermedius, instead of A. s. spinifrons as previously thought.|
Native:South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal)
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||This species is difficult to detect, but it is known to be doing well at some sites where it appears to be abundant. The southern Eastern Cape subpopulation is scarce and very difficult to detect (Venter and Conradie 2015, J. Tarrant pers. comm. August 2016) and this might be due to the fact that these subpopulations are on the edge of the species’ distribution. Subpopulations in Silaka Nature Reserve, near Port St. Johns in the Eastern Cape, occur in abundance (Venter and Conradie 2015), as do populations of Afrixalus spinifrons intermedius in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands (J. Tarrant pers. comm. August 2016). Coastal populations of A. s. spinifrons are less abundant (J. Tarrant pers. comm. August 2016).|
|Current Population Trend:||Unknown|
|Habitat and Ecology:||This species inhabits Coastal Bushveld-Grassland and Moist Upland Grassland in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape Provinces. It has been found also in degraded forest (Trimble and van Aarde 2014). Afrixalus spinifrons spinifrons breeds in standing water (including dams and ponds), sedge beds and grassy wetlands. Afrixalus spinifrons intermedius occurs in marshes, dams, floodplains and riverbanks and females and juveniles of the subspecies can be found sunbathing in arum lilies during the day (Pickersgill 1996, 2007). Species in this genus are commonly referred to as Leaf-folding Frogs owing to their unique method of oviposition, whereby between 20 and 50 eggs are deposited along a leaf margin, which is sealed by the male to create a leaf nest. Tadpoles emerge after about five days, drop into the water below and complete metamorphosis after approximately six weeks (Pickersgill et al. 2004). Breeding occurs between August and February for A. s. spinifrons and September and January for A. s. intermedius (Pickersgill et al. 2004). Males call from emergent vegetation, usually close to the water’s surface, in choruses of between 4 and 20 individuals between sunset and 03:00 (Backwell and Passmore 1991).|
|Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:||Yes|
|Movement patterns:||Not a Migrant|
|Congregatory:||Congregatory (and dispersive)|
|Use and Trade:||
There are no records of this species being utilized.
Many of the historical sites of this once common species have disappeared under development (Pickersgill et al. 2004, Pickersgill 2007). Certain subpopulations, especially in coastal KwaZulu-Natal, are affected by loss of wetlands. This habitat loss is a result of urban and recreational development and direct drainage of wetlands for afforestation, especially Eucalyptus plantations and agricultural activities, including sugarcane (J. Tarrant pers. comm. August 2016). Other threats include pesticides and overgrazing or trampling by livestock. Coastal populations may be at higher risk than those inland due to heavier development pressure along the KZN coastline. Afrixalus spinifrons intermedius has been highlighted as having particular conservation significance for KwaZulu-Natal since it is endemic to the province (Armstrong 2001).
Alexander, G.J. 1990. Reptiles and amphibians of Durban. Durban Museum Novitates 15: 1-41.
Armstrong, A.J. 2001. Conservation status of herpetofauna endemic to KwaZulu-Natal. Journal of Herpetology 50(2): 79-96.
Backwell, P.R.Y. and Passmore, N.I. 1991. Advertisement calls and female phonotaxis in Natal dwarf Afrixalus (Anura: Hyperoliidae). Journal of African Zoology 105: 275-280.
Channing, A. 2001. Amphibians of Central and Southern Africa. Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London.
du Preez, L. and Carruthers, V. 2009. A Complete Guide to the Frogs of Southern Africa. Struik Nature, Cape Town.
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.
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.
Pickersgill, M. 1984. Three new Afrixalus (Anura: Hyperoliidae) from south-eastern Africa. Durban Museum Novitates 13: 203-220.
Pickersgill, M. 1996. A new subspecies of Afrixalus from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and comments on its superspecies affinities. Durban Museum Novitates 21: 49-59.
Pickersgill, M. 2000. The ethology and systematics of eastern and southern African savanna Afrixalus (Anura: Hyperoliidae). Unpublished MSc thesis, University of Leeds.
Pickersgill, M. 2007. Frog Search. Results of Expeditions to Southern and Eastern Africa. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main.
Pickersgill, M., Burger, M. and Bishop, P.J. 2004. Afrixalus spinifrons species account. In: Minter, L.R., Burger, M., Harrison, J.A., Braack, H.H., Bishop, P.J. and Kloepfer, D. (eds), Atlas and Red Data Book of the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, pp. 131–133. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Poynton, J.C. 1964. The amphibia of southern Africa: a faunal study. Annals of the Natal Museum 17: 1-334.
Schiøtz, A. 1999. Treefrogs of Africa. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main.
Tarrant, J. 2012. Conservation assessment of the threatened amphibians on KwaZulu-Natal, and a national assessment of the chytrid infection in South African threatened species. PhD Thesis, School for Biological Sciences, North-West University.
Trimble, M.J. and van Aarde, R.J. 2014. Amphibian and reptile communities and functional groups over a land-use gradient in a coastal tropical forest landscape of high richness and endemicity. Animal Conservation 17(5): 441–453.
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.
|Citation:||IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG). 2016. Afrixalus spinifrons. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T56078A77160331.Downloaded on 27 February 2017.|
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