Vandijkophrynus amatolicus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Bufonidae

Scientific Name: Vandijkophrynus amatolicus
Species Authority: (Hewitt, 1925)
Common Name(s):
English Amatola Toad
Bufo amatolicus Hewitt, 1925

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered () A2a 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): von May, R. & Angulo, A.
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.
Listed as Critically Endangered due to a past population decline inferred to be close to 100%, as despite targeted searches, this species has not been seen at all from 1998 to 2009.
Date last seen: before 1998
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Endangered (EN)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Rare (R)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known only from the Winterberg and Amatola Mountains, between Katberg and Keiskammahoek, in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, at 1,400-1,800 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
South Africa (Eastern Cape Province)
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:18
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:1802
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Number of Locations:4
Lower elevation limit (metres):1400
Upper elevation limit (metres):1800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:About ten visits to suitable sites over 11 years (1998-2009) have not turned up any frogs of this species and it is possible that this species is already extinct. Prior to the disappearance, it was known to congregate in large numbers to breed. The spatial distribution of this species is considered to be severely fragmented based on historical data as no one site holds >50% of individuals and the distances between subpopulations are considered to be too great for dispersal within one generation.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It lays strings of eggs in shallow temporary pools and seepages in high-altitude moist grasslands, and is absent from forests and plantations. Tadpoles are free living and metamorphose before leaving the aquatic environment.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats are loss of grassland through afforestation affecting the majority of the distribution, overgrazing, and fires; over the last 20 years about 20% of its habitat has been lost to plantations. Overgrazing and frequent fires may be responsible for disappearance from remaining appropriate sites in the last 11 years.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The key research action required is to relocate this species and determine its phenology. There is a possibility that after 11 years without being seen, this species may be already extinct. Other priorities are to identify management units and assess perceived threats. If populations can be located, the population size should be determined and the site protected. If the specific requirements of this species can be determined, this may lead to restoration of appropriate habitat.

Classifications [top]

4. Grassland -> 4.7. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability: Suitable  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:No
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.2. Agro-industry plantations
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%)   
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.3. Trend Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

Bibliography [top]

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. 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.

Tandy, M. and Keith, R. 1972. African Bufo. In: Blair, W.F. (ed.), Evolution in the genus Bufo, pp. 119-170. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

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. Vandijkophrynus amatolicus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T3176A9651632. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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