This species is currently known only from three locations in the mountains of the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area, Western Cape Province, South Africa. The known extent of occurrence (EOO) is about 3.3 km
Habitat and Ecology
This species is known from thickly vegetated seeps dominated by restioid vegetation, on gentle mountain slopes within montane fynbos. It breeds by direct development laying between 6-12 eggs annually.
One of the three known populations is monitored twice a year. This is the second largest of the three populations and the largest number of calling males is estimated to be less than 50 individuals. Fire and post-fire impacts on number of mature individuals are expected to cause large fluctuations (up to approximately a five-fold change in numbers at the monitored site; A. Turner pers. comm. 2009) in subpopulation sizes (as in other members of this genus) and species as a whole is threatened due to the small number of locations. The fluctuations experienced by this species are below the typically used 10-fold increase or decrease (IUCN 2001); however, a five-fold reduction in population size has been observed and it is expected that fires have the potential to reduce populations by a factor of ten or more depending on the severity and timing of the fire.
The main threat to this species is damage to its habitat which is dependent on permanently available surface water. This habitat is primarily threatened by excessively short fire-return intervals and invasion by alien plants. Although the area has low densities of alien plant species and an acceptable fire-return interval currently, these are ever-present threats. The invasion of alien invasive woody vegetation increases the impact of fires which may lead to more dramatic population fluctuations. An additional threat to this species is the proximity of one population to human residences which may result in water contamination. Active management is required in order to prevent threats escalating.
Most of the known range of this species falls within a protected area: the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area. A monitoring programme has been set up to monitor the population near human habitation. Perceived threats and the effects of fire on this and other species of Arthroleptella requires research. More research is required on life history and dispersal of this species. Active management is required, especially with regard to alien invading plants.
South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG), IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2013. Arthroleptella subvoce. In: IUCN 2014