This species occurs in the southern Udzungwa Mountains and Southern Highlands of Tanzania, from Dabaga south-west to Nyamwanga, where is found above 1,800 m asl. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) 18,866 km².
Habitat and Ecology
It is a species of swampy montane grassland and is probably intolerant of habitat modification. It is it presumed to breed by larval development in wet areas in the bottom of gentle valleys on high plateaus.
Surveys between 2000-2010 in the northern Udzungwa grasslands did not find this species (M. Menegon pers comm June 2012). However, earlier information suggested that it was locally abundant. Its population is thought to be severely fragmented with 50% or more of its individuals in isolated and fragmented habitat patches, with limited dispersal ability (M. Menegon and K. Howell pers. comm. June 2012). Due to ongoing habitat loss throughout its range, its population is thought to be decreasing.
The montane grasslands of southern Tanzania are being destroyed and fragmented as a result of afforestation with pines, overgrazing, and agricultural expansion.
It has not been recorded in any protected areas, and there is a need for improved protection of sites where the species is known to occur. It might be present in the Udzungwa National Park, but it is not clear whether it ranges that far north. Further research is required to better understand its population size, distribution and trends.
Red List Status
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Mertensophryne uzunguensis. In: IUCN 2014