This species is endemic to the Ethiopian Highlands (Evans et al. 2011). It is known from two sites in the mountains east of the Rift Valley: between Dodola and Asela (the type locality) at 2,651 m asl, and in the Arsi Mountains at 2,467 m asl. Further searches have also found this species in areas northwest of the Rift Valley including two localities at 2,390 and 2,377 m asl north of Mount Choke but south of Lake Tana, and a third locality at 2,709 m asl north of Lake Tana but south of the Simien Mountains (Evans et al. 2011). Taking range as a proxy for extent of occurrence (EOO), this is estimated to be 3,681 km2. This frog is believed to be restricted to the known range.
Habitat and Ecology
It is an aquatic species. At the type locality it was found in pools, streams and marshes surrounded by grassy clearings derived from montane forest. At one other site it was found in a stream flowing through cultivated land. It is perhaps formerly a montane forest species, with only remnant small subpopulations surviving due to habitat loss, but this has not been confirmed and its degree of tolerance to habitat disturbance is still unknown (B. Evans pers. comm. March 2012). It lives and breeds in water, like other species of Xenopus (B. Evans pers. comm. March 2012).
Nineteen individuals were collected northwest of the Rift and six from the southeast, including the type locality (Evans et al. 2011). This species is considered to be rare within its range and its population is considered to be severely fragmented given that its habitat is patchy and fragmented, its dispersal capacity is believed to be low, and over half of the known population is found in small isolated habitat patches (B. Evans pers. comm. March 2012, A. Mengistu and S. Loader pers. comm. June 2012).
The most likely threats to this species are forest loss, environmental degradation and aquatic pollution (from pesticide runoff into water bodies) resulting from human activities such as small-holder and large-scale agriculture and residential development (A. Mengistu and S. Loader pers. comm. June 2012).
It is not known to occur in any protected areas nor be near one (B. Evans pers. comm. March 2012). Resource and habitat protection are urgently needed given that it is not in a formally protected area. More information is needed on this species' ecology and tolerance to threats. Chytrid has been recorded from this genus but has yet to be screened for in this species (Gower et al. 2012, A. Mengistu and S. Loader pers. comm. June 2012).
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 3,681 km2 , its population is considered to be severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in the Ethiopian Highlands.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2014. Xenopus largeni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T58175A14696239. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-1.RLTS.T58175A14696239.en .Downloaded on 20 February 2019