This species occurs in the western Cameroonian highlands, excluding Mount Cameroon, Mount Kupe, Mount Nlonako, Mount Manengouba and the Rumpi Hills. It also occurs as a disjunct subpopulation on the Obudu Plateau in eastern Nigeria (Amiet 1980).
There are two subspecies: Leptodactylodon polyacanthus polyacanthus occurs in the northern parts of the species' range at 1,640–1,900 m Asl in the Bafut-Ngemba Forest Reserve and Acha Tugi on Mount Oshie in Cameroon, and the Obudu Plateau in Nigeria; and L. polyacanthus punctiventris occurs in the southern part of the range at 1,000–1,400 m Asl on the west southern and western slopes of the Bamileke Plateau at Foto, Fotabong, Fongo-Tongo, the Mbos Cliffs, Petit Diboum and Mount Bana. Tadpoles, that have tentatively been assigned to L. polyacanthus punctiventris, have recently been collected at 1,997 m Asl (Mapouyat et al. 2014). Its EOO is 9,523 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
This species lives in montane and submontane forest, and degraded forest although it always requires some canopy cover. During the breeding season males can be found on wet clay, in rock crevices, and small streams; the females hide under stones. Tadpoles have been collected from shallow, sandy streams (Mapouyat et al. 2014). Breeding takes place in streams and springs.
It is a common species. Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
Although it can tolerate degraded forest, this species is likely to be threatened by ongoing forest loss due to smallholder farming activities, expanding human settlements and subsistence wood extraction. If the tadpoles of this species are confirmed to be consumed, it may be a local threat to some subpopulations.
A retrospective study analysing amphibian population declines (between 2004–2012) and Bd emergence (in 2008) on Mount Manengouba and Mount Oku in Cameroon suggest that chytridiomycosis has driven community level declines of anuran biodiversity in this hotspot area (Hirschfeld et al. 2016). This species was not tested for Bd during Hirschfeld et al. (2016) study so it is not known whether chytridiomycosis is a threat, but other species in the genus had mixed results.
This species occurs in the Bafut-Ngemba Forest Reserve.
Improved habitat protection is required at sites where this species is known to occur. Bd mitigation strategies, as well as increased habitat protection, is required to sustain diverse amphibian communities in areas such as Mount Manengouba, which contains nearly half of Cameroon’s amphibian diversity (Hirschfeld et al. 2016).
Further research to confirm whether this species is consumed and whether chytridiomycosis is a threat is required.
Red List Status
Listed as Vulnerable because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 9,523 km2, it occurs in fewer than 10 threat-defined locations, and there is decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat in Cameroon and Nigeria.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Leptodactylodon polyacanthus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T54437A96309226. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T54437A96309226.en .Downloaded on 10 December 2018