© 2010 Division of Herpetology, University of Kansas (1 of 1)
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: South Africa
IUCN (Red List) status: Critically Endangered (CR).
This species occurs only in the coastal lowlands (from 15 m up to 80 m asl) in the south-western part of Western Cape province, South Africa, where it formerly ranged from Cape Town east to the Agulhas Plain (with an extent of occurrence of 1,399 km˛
Habitat and Ecology
This species lives in sandy, coastal fynbos heathland, and it is not generally found in anthropogenic habitats. It is associated with seepage pools and seasonal vleis, and depends on black, acidic waters for breeding. Providing that the water remains of this quality, it can tolerate very limited habitat disturbance. When their wetland habitat dries up, they bury themselves and aestivate through the dry season. Eggs are attached to submerged vegetation, and larval development is slow.
It occurs at high densities at breeding sites, which are few and far between. The spatial distribution of this species is considered to be severely fragmented as over 50% of individuals are in isolated patches, and the distances between subpopulations are considered to be too great for dispersal within one generation.
It has a very restricted range in an area that is subject to the impacts of urbanization, agricultural expansion, the spread of alien vegetation (leading to drying out of breeding pools), and drainage of breeding habitats. Three of the four locations in which it occurs are under constant pressure from development.
High priority should be given to resolution of the taxonomic status of disjunct populations. A further priority for research conservation action is to obtain accurate monitoring through calls of males for this species. As its name implies, it is a very small frog and this research will be challenging. Agulhas National Park is the only statutory protected area in which it occurs, although it is also present in various other local authority and private nature reserves. However, additional habitat protection is needed in view of the speciesâ€™ fragmented distribution.
A question hangs over the taxonomic significance of disjunct populations of this species.
South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG), IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2011. Microbatrachella capensis. In: IUCN 2012