This species is known from a single locality on the southeastern slopes of Mount Manengouba at 1,550-2,000 m asl in western Cameroon. Using a coarse representation of its range as a proxy (see map), its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 34 km². However, this area is likely overestimated as the species uses only the suitable habitat within its EOO and does not occur evenly across this habitat. For the purposes of this assessment, the only known locality is considered to be a single threat-defined location.
Habitat and Ecology
It is found in montane forest, around springs and streams, living in holes, humus, gravel, root masses and dense undergrowth. It survives in secondary forest, but cannot survive in disturbed, open forest (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. June 2012). Presumably it breeds in streams, and co-exists with Leptodactylodon mertensi around 1,700 m asl.
The species has been reported as abundant within its tiny range, and is most common at altitudes of 1,700-1,800 m asl. It was last seen in 2012, but abundance appears to have decreased since surveys in 2010. As with other amphibian species on Mount Manengouba, it has been seen and heard less frequently over the years, causing experts to believe it is disappearing. While the cause of this population decline is currently unknown, it may be related to ongoing declines in habitat and increasing human pressure on its remaining habitat; it is not thought to be undergoing a natural fluctuation (M. Hirschfeld pers. comm. June 2012).
The major threat to this species is increasing habitat loss as a result of agricultural encroachment, including plantations of tree crops; expanding human settlements; and removal of wood by local people for firewood and building materials. More specifically, trampling by livestock in the forest is a threat to this species and degrades its habitat. The use of herbicides and pesticides here is suspected to have long-term effects on the stream habitat, affecting this frog's larval stage, and this threat is expected to increase as human activity in the area increases (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. June 2012).
Deforestation on Mount Manengouba also occurs due to the unsustainable collection of bark from Prunus africanus—a high-elevation tree endemic to the Cameroon highlands—by tree ringing. The tree's bark is used in small amounts for medicinal purposes by local people. However, it is also sold to pharmaceutical companies in large amounts, in which case all the bark is removed from the individual trees resulting in their death. The consequence of the latter practice changes the microclimate required for the species' survival (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012). Furthermore, as with other high-elevation species, the species' habitat may be affected by climate change (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012), although this necessitates further research. While this species appears to be tolerant of a degree of habitat disturbance, it is nonetheless at severe risk because of its tiny range.
This species does not occur in any protected areas. The protected area network in western Cameroon urgently needs to be expanded to include the remaining montane forest habitats, particularly those on Mount Manengouba, which has been proposed as a protected area (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012). On Mount Manengouba, the harvesting of Prunus africanus should be sustainably managed, including education of the local people (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012). Across its range, more information is needed on the species' population status, natural history and the potential effects of climate change; monitoring is required to established the species' population trends.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
This species is listed as Critically Endangered (CR) because its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 34 km², it is known from a single location at which the quality and extent of its habitat is declining, and experts believe the population is likely to be decreasing.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Leptodactylodon erythrogaster. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T54432A16925100. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T54432A16925100.en .Downloaded on 16 December 2018