The species is known only from the type locality: the bank of a small tributary of Sungai Liwagu, in the Lipaso Protection Forest Reserve, Labuk and Sugut District, Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo. It has been recorded at 310 m asl, its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 29 km2, and all individuals occur in a single threat-defined location.
Habitat and Ecology
It was found along a clear, rocky hill stream in lowland forest. If this species behaves like its congeners, adults move widely through the forest and larvae develop in the gravel beds of riffles and rapids.
There is no information on the population status of this species, but it appears to be rare. There is likely suitable habitat in other riparian areas of the reserve where the species may occur, however the only access to the reserve is through the palm plantations and permission to conduct surveys in the reserve has not been granted (P. Yambun pers. comm. January 2018). Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat caused by oil palm plantations, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
The main threat to the species is habitat loss, as the lowland forest around the type locality of this species has been subject to clearing for oil palm plantations (P. Yambun pers. comm. January 2018). This clearing is also thought to threaten the species by causing siltation of the streams, which eliminates the larval feeding microhabitat of this species.
It occurs in the Lipaso Protection Forest Reserve, but this is probably not being managed adequately for the purpose of biodiversity conservation.
More effective protection and preservation of mid-elevation forests and riparian forest in the vicinity of Lipaso Forest Reserve is essential.
Further survey work is needed to determine the population status of this species and whether it occurs more widely.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered because its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 29 km2, all individuals are in a single location, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat due to palm oil plantations in Sabah, northern Borneo.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Leptobrachella palmata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T57546A123692004. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T57546A123692004.en .Downloaded on 21 January 2019