Boulengerula niedeni 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Gymnophiona Herpelidae

Scientific Name: Boulengerula niedeni
Species Authority: Müller, Measey, Loader & Malonza, 2005
Common Name(s):
English Sagalla Caecilian
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2013. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.6 (9 January 2013). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-06-01
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.
Contributor(s): Gower, D.J., Meredith , H., Muller, H., Measey, J., Malonza, P. & Loader, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Angulo, A.
Listed as Endangered since it has an estimated maximum extent of occurrence (EOO) of 20 km2, is restricted to two threat-defined locations, and its habitat in the Sagalla Hill is undergoing a continuing decline in quality.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known between 1,000-1,504 m asl (Malonza et al. 2010) on Sagala Hill, in the Taita Hills, southeastern Kenya. This mountain block is isolated from other similar habitat by the arid Tsavo plains, and so the range of this species, taken as a proxy for extent of occurrence (EOO), is believed to be restricted to the less than 20 km² within this block that are above 1,000 m asl (Malonza et al. 2010). Its range is perceived as comprising two threat-defined locations, one above and one below the eucalyptus plantation (P. Malonza and J. Measey pers. comm. May 2012).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Number of Locations:2
Lower elevation limit (metres):1000
Upper elevation limit (metres):1504
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is locally common in suitable habitats within its small range, but less abundant than Boulengerula taitana at nearby sites (P. Malonza and J. Measey pers. comm. May 2012). Its population is not considered to be severely fragmented.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occurs in the two known indigenous forest fragments in the area (Malonza et al. 2010) and in shambas (small-holder farms), usually in soil underneath banana plants or under decomposing organic debris. The species thus seems tolerant of small-scale farming activities. However, the density of animals is much higher near streams than in shambas away from streams, so the area of optimal habitat is very small. The species appears to be completely absent from eucalyptus plantations (which cover much of the Sagala Hill area), and is also missing from the small remaining area of natural forest on the ridge of Sagala Hill (perhaps because it is above the elevation level of this species, or because of the absence of suitable streamside habitat). As with other congeners, it is presumed to breed by direct development and therefore not be dependent on water bodies for reproduction (P. Malonza and J. Measey pers. comm. May 2012).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Very little natural forest remains on Sagalla Hill, but it is not clear whether or not these caecilians might sometimes benefit from low intensity agriculture. The top of Sagalla Hill is covered by eucalyptus and pine plantations, which is contributing to ground water depletion and substantial changes to the soil, and the species has not been found under these conditions (H. Meredith and P. Malonza pers. comm. May 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Sagalla Forest is a government-managed community forest (P. Malonza pers. comm. May 2012). Currently the Kenyan Forest Service in conjunction with Taita Taveta Wildlife Forum are replacing eucalyptus in private farms with indigenous trees in the area (H. Meredith and P. Malonza pers. comm. May 2012); however, this is expected to take many years before benefits can be seen. More information is needed on this species' natural history and tolerance to threats.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects

1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.2). Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2013).

Malonza, P.K., Lötters, S. and Measey, G.J. 2010. The montane forest associated amphibian species of the Taita Hills, Kenya. Journal of East African Natural History 99(1): 47-63.

Müller, H., Measey, G.J., Loader, S.P. and Malonza, P.K. 2005. A new species of Boulengerula Tornier (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae) from an isolated mountain block of the Taita Hills, Kenya. Zootaxa: 37-50.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2013. Boulengerula niedeni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T61920A13322136. . Downloaded on 25 August 2016.
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