This species is known only from a single stream between 2,795-2,815 m asl on Mount Fansipan, Hoang Lien National Park, Lao Cai Province, Viet Nam. Rowley et al. (2013) estimated that its range may include some of the few small, isolated areas above 2,700 m asl in adjacent parts of the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range. However, any such area is about 20 km or more away and separated by elevations under 1,000 asl, making the species' dispersal to these parts unlikely. Therefore, the species' extent of occurrence (EOO) is 8 km2, representing only one threat-defined location, and is thus very restricted geographically.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is known only from the highest peak in Indochina, occupying higher altitudes than any other species of Leptolalax. It is associated with upper montane forest with a temperature range of -3°C to 20°C, heavy rainfall, and occasional snow. Males have been observed calling from under leaf litter next to small streams and females have been found nearby (Rowley et al. 2013). Much remains unknown about this species' life history including its larvae and further research is warranted to investigate this. A free-swimming larval stage is expected for this species, as is the case in all other Leptolalax species for which larvae are known (J. Rowley pers. comm. February 2015). The quality of habitat used by this species is currently in decline due to the effects of tourism (Rowley et al. 2013).
Very little is known about the size and trends of this species' population except that the only individuals to have been recorded are the type-specimens (seven adult males and two adult females), and that it is difficult to detect even when calling (Rowley et al. 2013). The population is very likely to be in decline due to past and present habitat loss and disturbance.
The most immediate threat to this species' persistence is habitat degradation associated with tourism. Considerable pollution by garbage and runoff from toilets is recorded very close to the streams used by the species (Rowley et al. 2013) and the construction of a cable car from Sa Pa to the summit of Mount Fansipan is likely to affect it (T. Nguyen pers. comm. 2015). Historic burning and subsequent ecosystem conversion of the summit of Mount Fansipan and adjacent areas, which are thought to have been previously covered in forest (Nguyen and Harder 1996), are also likely to have disturbed this species. The species' restriction to high altitudes near the mountain peaks will probably present an issue as tropical montane forests are expected to be particularly prone to alteration by climate change (Rowley et al. 2013, Foster 2001).
This species is currently only known from Hoang Lien National Park (Rowley et al. 2013). However, as habitat degradation due to the effects of tourism is an ongoing threat, strategies for additional protection of habitat within its range may be warranted.
Further research into the species' ecology, distribution, abundance and population trends would improve conservation decisions.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered as this species has an estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) of only 8 km2 and only one known threat-defined location. It is also facing a continuing decline in the quality of its habitat, and the size of its EOO, resulting in a suspected decreasing population trend.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Leptolalax botsfordi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T73727195A73727483. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T73727195A73727483.en .Downloaded on 17 December 2018