This species is known from only a single locality in the Morningside Estate in southwestern Sri Lanka, and was collected at an elevation of 1,060 m asl (Manamendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda 2001). It is probably restricted to this area, which is comprised of a single large forest remnant embedded in a vast deforested matrix. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 3 km2, which is also taken as a proxy for area of occupancy (AOO).
Habitat and Ecology
It is arboreal, known only from montane tropical moist forest. Adults are generally found up to two metres above the ground, on twigs and leaves in bushes close to stagnant pools. Breeding occurs in these pools.
It is generally a rare species. There are no data to indicate population declines.
The main threat to the species is habitat loss and degradation due to canopy removal and the clearance of undergrowth, expanding timber plantations, subsistence collection of wood, encroaching tea and cardamom plantations, and human settlement (Surasinghe and Jayaratne 2006). It might also be impacted by the adverse effects of agro-chemical pollution. Invasive species within the Morningside reserve may also constitute a threat to this species (M. Meegaskumbura pers. comm. 2014).
It is present in Morningside Forest Reserve; however, while Morningside itself belongs to the Forest Department, it has not yet been assured a permanent conservation status (Janzen and Bopage 2011, R. Pethiyagoda pers. comm. 2014). While the government has purchased much of the land around Morningside, there is still pressure from land use within the reserve; a tea/cardamom plantation operates at the centre of the reserve and there is illegal clearing of understory to establish small parcels for cardamom cultivation (R. Pethiyagoda pers. comm. 2014). There is need for improved protection of the area, and incorporation of Morningside into the contiguous Sinharaja World Heritage Site would help prevent future loss of remaining forest habitat (R. Pethiyagoda pers. comm. 2014). Research is needed to better understand its life history, population status, and current threats. In particular, surveys are needed to determine where other remnant populations occur and how these could be better protected.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) are estimated to be 3 km2, all individuals are in a single threat-defined location, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in the Sinharaja area of Sri Lanka.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2014. Taruga fastigo. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T58947A60796817. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T58947A60796817.en .Downloaded on 15 December 2018