This species is known only from the northern part of the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania where it has been recorded at 600-2,200 m asl. Because of endemism patterns in the Eastern Arc this species is expected to only occur in the Ulugurus (S. Loader pers. comm., December 2015). Based on the currently known range, the extent of occurrence (EOO) has been estimated as 125 km2 and it is thought to occur in a single threat-defined location.
Habitat and Ecology
The type series was collected in forest, secondary forest, banana cultivation and bamboo. From this information, it seems that it can tolerate a degree of habitat disturbance, but probably not the complete opening of its habitat that has taken place in some parts of the Ulugurus. It appears to be ovoviviparous, with internal fertilization, the females retaining the larvae internally in the oviduct until the birth of the toadlets.
There have been no records of this species since the original collections of the species in 1926 and 1927. Despite numerous surveys in areas where this species would be expected to occur, it has not been collected. However, this may be due to the fact that it is easily confused with congeners, so this species may have been collected (such as during surveys conducted by S. Loader and M. Menegon in 2013), but not recognized. Due to ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat, it is reasonable to suspect that its population is decreasing.
The habitat of this species is probably being lost to agricultural encroachment, wood extraction, and expanding human settlements, especially at lower altitudes.
It occurs in the Uluguru North Forest Reserve, which is now included in Uluguru Nature Reserve. It is listed on CITES Appendix I.
Improved management of this reserve, and the protection of other remaining forest habitat in the Ulugurus, is necessary.
Targeted searches are required to ascertain the continued presence of this species.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is unlikely to be greater than the estimated 125 km2, there is ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat which represents a single threat-defined location. It has not been collected for around 80 years, but there is no evidence to suggest that it is no longer there (M. Menegon pers. comm., June 2012). Targeted searches are therefore required to relocate this species.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2016. Nectophrynoides cryptus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T54838A16949555. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T54838A16949555.en .Downloaded on 16 January 2019