Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Alytidae

Scientific Name: Latonia nigriventer
Species Authority: (Mendelssohn & Steinitz, 1943)
Common Name(s):
English Hula Painted Frog
Discoglossus nigriventer Mendelssohn & Steinitz, 1943
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0 (7 July 2014). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-03-26
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group,
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A. & Stuart, S.N.
Contributor(s): Disi, A.M., Gasith, A., Sadek, R., Gafny, S., Kuzmin, S., Anderson, S., Papenfuss, T. & Werner, Y.L.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Angulo, A.
Listed as Critically Endangered given that its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be under 2 km2, it is known from one threat-defined location, and because it is believed that there is a continuing decline in the number of mature individuals due to heavy predation pressure by the waterbird population in the Hula Valley area.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Extinct (EX)
1996 Extinct (EX)
1994 Extinct? (Ex?)
1990 Extinct? (Ex?)
1988 Extinct? (Ex?)
1986 Endangered (E)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:In the 1940s this species was recorded from only two sites on the eastern shore of Lake Huleh, Israel. In 1955 the species was recorded again, in the northwest edge of the Hula swamps, just east of the extant 'En Agmon spring (Y. Werner pers. comm. March 2012). It seems possible that it could once also be found in adjacent parts of the Syrian Arab Republic. It was recently found in a very circumscribed area of the 200 ha (2 km², here taken as the maximum possible extent of occurrence) Hula Nature Reserve, (at 65 m asl), which is less than 5 km away from its former sites, and surveys are currently underway to determine if it may occur elsewhere in the Hula Valley (S. Gafny pers. comm. March 2012).

Countries occurrence:
Lower elevation limit (metres):65
Upper elevation limit (metres):65
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The last collection record dated from 1955, and the species had been subsequently declared as Extinct. Surveys of potentially suitable habitat have been undertaken since, including in the Aammiq marsh (the only remaining wetland fragment of the Bekaa valley) of nearby south-east Lebanon, but these failed to locate any animals there (Tron and Duguet 2004, Tron 2005).  However, the species was recently rediscovered in late 2011 (Rinat 2011). Until its rediscovery, only three adult specimens and two tadpoles were known to science (S. Gafny pers. comm. March 2012).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Recent observations suggest that this species may be more terrestrial than initially thought (S. Gafny pers. comm. March 2012). It is reported to occur in marginal freshwater habitats within the Lake Huleh wetlands of Israel. It is a larval-developing species.

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Huleh marshes were drained in the 1950s in an attempt to both eradicate malaria and to make the land suitable for agricultural use. Of the original 6,000 ha of marshland, only 300 ha (3 km²) remained after drainage. The remaining wetland was set aside as a nature reserve - the Hula Nature Reserve - in 1964. While the reserve is well-managed, it functions as a refuge for many water birds, possibly more than those that used to be in the original swamp, and predation pressure is thought to be very high and a real threat to a small amphibian population comprised of few individuals (S. Gafny pers. comm. March 2012). In addition, most of the area surrounding the reserve is cultivated (S. Gafny pers. comm. March 2012), should the species occur outside the reserve.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It was rediscovered in 2011 in the Hula Reserve (S. Gafny pers. comm. March 2012), its only known extant locality, and it remains protected by national legislation in Israel. More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status and natural history. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) plans to undertake a monitoring effort for this species (S. Gafny pers. comm. March 2012).

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability: Suitable  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ 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: Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.3. Other ecosystem modifications
♦ timing: Past, Unlikely to Return ♦ scope: Whole (>90%)   
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion

12. Other options -> 12.1. Other threat
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Whole (>90%)   
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Biton, R., Geffen, E., Vences, M., Cohen, O., Bailon, S., Rabinovich, R., Malka, Y., Oron, T., Boistel, R., Brumfeld, V., and Gafny, S. 2013. The rediscovered Hula painted frog is a living fossil . Nature Communications 2959((4:1959) ): 1–6.

Fromhage, L., Vences, M. and Veith, M. 2004. Testing alternative vicariance scenarios in Western Mediterranean discoglossid frogs. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution: 308-322.

Honegger, R.E. 1981. List of amphibians and reptiles either known or thought to have become extinct since 1600. Biological Conservation: 141-158.

Honegger, R.E. (compiler). 1979. IUCN Red Data Book. Volume 3: Amphibia. and Reptilia. IUCN, Morges, Switzerland.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

Mendelssohn, H. and Steinitz, H. 1943. A new frog from Palestine. Copeia: 231-233.

Rinat, Z. 2011. Long thought extinct, Hula painted frog found once again in Israeli nature reserve. Available at: (Accessed: 17 November 2011).

Steinitz, H. 1955. Occurrence of Discoglossus nigriventer in Israel. Bulletin of the Research Council of Israel 5B(2)((B)5): 192-193.

Tron, F. 2005. Second Discoglossus nigriventer rediscovery expedition in the central Bekaa Valley, Lebanon: 17-28 April 2005 Expedition Report. A Rocha.

Tron, F. and Duguet, R. 2004. Amphibian research mission Aammiq area, Central Bekaa valley, Lebanon 3-16 April 2004. A Rocha France.

Werner, Y.L. 1988. Herpetofaunal survey of Israel (1950-1985), with comments on Sinai and Jordan and on zoogeographical heterogeneity. In: Yom-Tov,Y. and Tchernov, E. (eds), The zoogeography of Israel., Dr. W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group,. 2012. Latonia nigriventer. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T6715A13339841. . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
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