This species seems to be endemic to the huge karstic massif of Tsingy de Bemaraha in the arid western part of Madagascar (Crottini et al. 2011; Raselimanana 2013). It has been recorded between 65-427 m asl, has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 3,060 km2, and the massif is considered to represent two threat-defined locations because threats in the Beanka Classified Forest are more severe than in the rest of the massif.
Habitat and Ecology
Inhabiting the deciduous forest of the karstic Bemaraha Plateau, this scansorial frog also lives among the Tsingy de Bemaraha pinnacles and inside the caves present in the area. The terms “atsingy” or “tsingy” are the common names used to refer to the pointed and sharp calcareous lime stone formations and pinnacles originated through rainfall erosion. The species lives in habitats that retain some humidity, such as rock cavities and along the walls of the canyon-like formations. Apparently, the species (both adults and juveniles) is not confined to the proximity of water, and has been observed jumping among the tsingy pinnacles far from water bodies. Its breeding is unknown, but it is possibly by direct development, since the species appears not to be associated with waterbodies.
The species is relatively abundant in suitable habitat. Localized threats within the massif are suspected to be causing population declines.
Habitat loss is a threat to this species. Within the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, some areas of forest are damaged by conversion to agriculture and charcoal production, however the humid canyons where this species occur are generally well protected. Threats in the Beanka Classfied Forest are probably more severe because access to this part of the massif is facilitated by its proximity to the road; illegal activities here are the source of habitat loss and destruction (F. Glaw pers. comm. November 2015).
Species in this genus have tested positive for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), however currently there have been no negative effects observed within amphibian populations in Madagascar suggesting the Bd strain has a low virulence level (Bletz et al. 2015).
Known localities occur within the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park and the Beanka Classified Forest.
The Bemaraha Plateau is one of the most peculiar areas of western Madagascar in terms of amphibian richness and endemicity (Raselimanana 2008; Bora et al. 2010). There is a crucial need for conservation action in Madagascar’s dry forests due to the increasing deforestation rate and changing climatic scenarios.
Very little is known about the amphibian fauna of this part of Madagascar which stresses the importance of further systematic surveys in these isolated areas; other forest blocks in western Madagascar may host further undescribed species of Gephyromantis (Crottini et al. 2011). Further research is also essential to fully understand the natural history, distribution, origin, type and virulence of Bd lineages found in Madagascar (Bletz et al. 2015).
Red List Status
This species is assessed as Endangered because it has an extent of occurence of 3,060 km2, the Bemeraha Massif is considered to contain two threat-defined locations, and there is ongoing decline in the quality and extent of habitat.
This species has been referred to as Gephyromantis sp. aff . corvus “Bemaraha” by Glaw and Vences (2007), as Gephyromantis sp. 10 “Bemaraha” by Vieites et al. (2009), and Gephyromantis sp. aff . corvus by Bora et al. (2010) (Crottini et al. 2011).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2016. Gephyromantis atsingy. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T49562307A49562346. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T49562307A49562346.en