This species is likely to be endemic to the Nyika Plateau in northern Malawi and north-eastern Zambia. It is a high-altitude species known from 2,500 m asl, although its precise altitudinal range is not known. Its approximate extent of occurrence is 1,431 km².
Habitat and Ecology
It is associated mainly with montane forest, and with wet, boggy habitat in adjacent grassland, but is never far from trees. It breeds in small, shallow pools.
The records for this species are sparse and dated; it was last recorded by D. P. Critchlow on the Nyika Plateau in 1995-1996 (Poynton 1997). Therefore, current population information is not available. However, because suitable habitat is patchy across the plateau which limits its dispersal, it is suspected to be severely fragmented.
Most, if not all, of the range of this species is in a protected area, and so it is probably not seriously threatened at present. However, habitat loss is a potential threat to the species.
It occurs in the Nyika National Park where the habitat is relatively well protected. More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status, natural history, required conservation actions and threats.
Red List Status
Near Threatened (NT)
This species is listed as Near Threatened because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 1,431 km² and its population is suspected to be severely fragmented within the Nyika Plateau. It is not considered to be experiencing continuing declines at present, however habitat loss is a potential threat. It is assessed as Near Threatened based on being close to qualifying for a threatened category under criterion B1.
This species was removed from the synonymy of Mertensophryne lonnbergi by Poynton (1997), where it had been placed by Grandison (1972).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Mertensophryne nyikae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T54717A16949450. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T54717A16949450.en .Downloaded on 13 December 2018