This species is known from only one threat-defined location in Morningside Forest Reserve in the Rakwana Hills, in the Sinharaja area of south-western Sri Lanka, at 1,060 m asl (Manamendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda 2005). It is probably restricted to this area, which is comprised of a single large forest remnant embedded in a deforested matrix. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 8 km
Habitat and Ecology
It is a forest habitat specialist, found near streams and marshy areas in closed-canopy cloud forest, including forests disturbed by cardamom plantations. At night, males perch up to about two meters above ground, on leaves, from which they vocalize (Manamendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda 2005). It breeds by direct development and is not dependent on water.
It is common in suitable habitat. A recent survey produced observations of eight individuals over a two-hour period (M. Meegaskumbura pers. comm. 2014). There are no data to indicate population declines.
The habitat of this species is threatened by the expansion of tea and cardamom plantations, the collection of wood, illegal mining, fires, expanding human settlements, and agro-chemical pollution (Surasinghe and Jayaratne 2006).
It is found only in the Morningside Forest Reserve. This area receives some level of government protection, but is not an official conservation area (Janzen and Bopage 2011, R. Pethiyagoda pers. comm. 2014). While the government has purchased much of the land around Morningside, there is still pressure from land use within the reserve; a tea/cardamom plantation operates at the centre of the reserve and there is illegal clearing of understory to establish small parcels for cardamom cultivation (R. Pethiyagoda pers. comm. 2014). There is need for improved protection of the area, and incorporation of Morningside into the contiguous Sinharaja World Heritage Site would help prevent future loss of remaining forest habitat (R. Pethiyagoda pers. comm. 2014). Research is needed to better understand its life history, population status and current threats.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2014. Pseudophilautus procax. In: IUCN 2014