This species comprises two subspecies, both endemic to western Cameroon: the nominate subspecies Leptodactylodon ornatus ornatus which occurs on Mount Manengouba, Mount Nlonako, Mount Kupe, the Bonandam Hills and the Ebonji Hills between 200–1,450 m Asl, and L. ornatus permaculatus which occurs on the southern and western slopes of the Bamileke Plateau at Fotabong, Foto, and the Mbos Cliffs, between 1,000–1,400 m Asl. Its EOO is 1,832 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
This is not a true montane species, but occurs at low and medium altitudes in hilly areas, usually near mountains in areas of high rainfall. It lives in wet lowland and submontane forest, and also in partially degraded forest. It frequents rocky areas that are found less frequently at lower altitudes. The males call from fissures in rocks, or from under stones and it breeds by larval development in fast-flowing streams.
Generally, this species is somewhat uncommon, although L. ornatus permaculatus is not uncommon within its small range. There are records of this species on Mount Manengouba in 2012 and on Mount Nlonako in 2011 (M. Hirschfeld pers. comm. July 2016). Due to ongoing decline of the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
Despite its tolerance to a degree of habitat modification, this species is likely to be threatened by forest clearance for smallholder farming, expanding human settlements and logging.
A retrospective study analysing amphibian population declines (between 2004–2012) and Bd emergence (in 2008) on Mount Manengouba and Mount Oku in Cameroon suggest that chytridiomycosis has driven community level declines of anuran biodiversity in these hotspot areas (Hirschfeld et al. 2016). This species was not tested for Bd during Hirschfeld et al. (2016) study so it is not known whether chytridiomycosis is a threat, but other species in the genus had mixed results.
This species is not known to occur in any protected areas.
Protection of the remaining forest habitat at the sites where it occurs, particularly Mount Manengouba, is urgently needed.
Further research to confirm whether this species is consumed and whether chytridiomycosis is a threat is required.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) 1,832 km2, it occurs in two threat-defined locations, and there is decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat in Cameroon.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Leptodactylodon ornatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T54434A96290794. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T54434A96290794.en .Downloaded on 17 January 2019