This species is known from Nyasoso on the south-west side of Mount Kupe at 910 m asl, and from 800–1,200 m asl in the Bakossi Mountains (including the Mwendelengo Mountains), Cameroon. A specimen collected in the vicinity of Nkongsamba (Maholé, 10 km north-west of Tombel, Bakossi Forest Reserve, at 300–350 m asl), may also belong to this species, as may specimens from Mofako in the Rumpi Hills. However, it is not believed likely to occur much more widely, given its specific habitat preferences and lack of habitat in the general area. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 187 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
On Mount Kupe, this species was found in a transition zone between good quality secondary forest and undisturbed primary forest. It has been found during the day along a stream, under rocks in a partly dried-up river basin, and on stony ground between wet, very low vegetation in the spray zone of a small, artificial waterfall. It seems very dependent on the existence of riverlets (A. Schmitz pers. comm. November 2016). It is presumed to be a larval developer.
This species is often locally abundant. It was recorded during surveys in 2009 in Nyasoso at the foot of Mount Kupe (A. Schmitz pers. comm. November 2016). Surveys in Cameroon between 2013-2015 failed to record this species, but this may have been because that observations were not conducted in the right areas (D. Blackburn pers. comm. November 2016). Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
The habitat of this species is being steadily deforested for cultivation (particularly since human populations in the area are growing quickly) and several logging companies hope to start large-scale logging operations soon in the Bakossi/Mwendelengo Mountains. Even if deforestation does not eliminate the habitat of this species, it is likely to significantly alter temperature, humidity, and available food, and so have serious consequences for this species which, like its congeners, is dependent on high humidity. The microclimate in Nyasoso was reported to have significantly changed in 2009 and had become much more dry and warm, in comparison to conditions in 2000 (A. Schmitz pers. comm. November 2016). If these changes continue, it could be likely that riverlets (which this species appears to depend on the existence of) will dry out and the species could eventually disappear from this locality (A. Schmitz pers. comm. November 2016). The farmbush area around Nyasoso does not seem to have extended, which is likely due to the flanks of Mount Kupe rising steeply past the village borders and being to difficult to convert to agricultural land (A. Schmitz pers. comm. November 2016). Near Nyasoso, the household use of detergents in rivers is also a potential threat.
While there is currently no direct information, Bd may be a concern for this species as it has caused declines its some of its congeners in Cameroon (e.g. Werneria bambutensis and W. mertensiana).
An ecotourism project has been established at Mount Kupe for some time, and aims to reduce hunting and agricultural expansion. A Strict Nature Reserve (Réserve Écologique Intégrale) was previously reported to have been proposed for the area, but still has yet to be implemented (A. Schmitz pers comm. November 2016). A management plan has been in preparation with the aim of designating most of the Bakossi Mountains as Protection Forest (55,000 ha.).
Studies should be carried to assess whether Bd is a threat to this species.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 187 km2, it occurs in fewer than five threat-defined locations, and there is ongoing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Werneria submontana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T61762A96232550. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T61762A96232550.en .Downloaded on 19 December 2018