This species is endemic to Sardinia, Italy, where it is found only in the eastern part of the island between the Limbara Mountains in the north and the Sette Fratelli Mountains in the south. There are a few very old records from western Sardina (i.e. Linas Mount) (Lecis and Norris 2003), but these are very doubtful (it is believed the location was misreported). Further information is needed on the range of the species in the south-west of the island. It is found at elevations of between 50 and 1,800m asl, although it is most often found at elevations of 400-800m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It is a montane species of permanent and temporary stagnant and running waters, which prefers calm areas of small or large rivers. Its terrestrial habitats are generally restricted to riverine scrub or woodland, and the species may also be found in cave systems. Its breeding sites are permanent pools, water holes, small lakes and streams. The eggs are deposited between stones or are buried in sand; the larvae develop in the streams (Griffiths 1996; Rimpp 1998). The species is quite adaptable and can be found in artificial pools.
This is generally a rare species that can be locally common in suitable habitat (e.g. over 400 specimens may be found in a single pool). The largest population of the species is in the Gola di Gorroppu. In one well-studied population the sex ratio is largely male. The number of subpopulations is declining. Between 1999 and 2001 it was found in 14 sites, whereas around 1991 it was present in 30 sites (and even in 1991 it was absent from nine other sites where it had been previously observed). The northern population near Mount Limbara is close to extinction.
The major threats to the species are pollution of waterbodies, habitat fragmentation, predation by introduced trout, and prolonged drought (often caused by excessive water abstraction). During the 1950s, many populations were lost through the application of DDT to waterbodies. Recently, the Gola di Gorroppu population has become threatened through damage to its habitat caused by tourist activities. At least one population is known to be affected by chytridiomycosis and is declining.
This species is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention and on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive; it is also protected by regional legislation (Regional Law n. 23/1998 (art. 5, c. 3)). The Gola di Gorroppuu has been designated as a Site of Community Importance under the Habitats Directive. In addition, a number of populations live in established and planned protected areas, including Parco Regionale Sette Fratelli, Parco Nazionale Gennargentu-Golfo di Orosei, and Parco Regionale Monte Limbara. Programmes to remove trout from the species' habitat would assist in the recovery of populations.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered, because its Area of Occupancy is less than 500 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, and in the number of subpopulations.
Antonio Romano, Roberto Sindaco, Franco Andreone, Roberta Lecis, Paul Edgar, Benedikt Schmidt, Claudia Corti 2009. Euproctus platycephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T8371A12907837. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T8371A12907837.en .Downloaded on 23 February 2019