This species is endemic to the Itombwe and Kabobo Plateaus (west of Lake Tanganyika) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Greenbaum et al. 2013). It has not been found below 2,100 m asl, and Laurent (1964) noted that H. constellatus does not occur below 2,590 m asl on the Itombwe Plateau. It is separated from the range of Hyperolius castaneus by circa 25 km, by a valley that passes between Kahuzi-Biega National Park and the Itombwe Plateau (Greenbaum et al. 2013). The estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 8,949 km², and the species is thought to occur in two threat-defined locations.
Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits swamps in montane grassland and forest, where it presumably reproduces by larval development.
It is relatively abundant in suitable habitat, but its population is suspected to be in decline due to ongoing habitat loss.
The species is threatened by ongoing, unmonitored deforestation caused by agricultural activities (for crops and overgrazing by livestock), wood extraction, expanding human settlements, mineral concessions and illegal mining, and road construction (Greenbaum and Kusamba 2012). Itombwe has been described as having suffered greater deforestation than the Kabobo Plateau; however, the Plateau is completely unprotected (Greenbaum and Kusamba 2012).
The Itombwe and Kabobo Plateaus have both been known for their relatively large remaining tracts of montane forest, but neither area is under effective conservation protection and are experiencing significant threats (Greenbaum and Kusamba 2012 in Greenbaum et al. 2013). Future studies are likely to uncover additional examples of cryptic herpetofaunal diversity in Itombwe and Kabobo, and biodiversity inventories and conservation efforts must be redoubled before ongoing deforestation, mining activities and road construction permanently damages these sites (Greenbaum et al. 2013).
Red List Status
This species is listed as Vulnerable due to its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) of 8,949 km², being known from only two threat-defined locations, and ongoing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat.
H. castaneus and H. constellatus were recognized as recently diverged and distinct species by Greenbaum et al. (2013). The subspecies H. c. submarginatus from the Kabobo Plateau was transferred to the synonymy of H. constellatus, but the status of the unsampled subspecies H. c. rhodogaster, described from mid-elevations of the western Itombwe Plateau, remains problematic (Greenbaum et al. 2013).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Hyperolius constellatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T63742698A63743072. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T63742698A63743072.en .Downloaded on 11 December 2018