This species occurs in the Ukinga and Rungwe Mountains of southern Tanzania, in the Misuku Mountains and at Nchenachena in northern Malawi, and at Maroka (in the highlands southwest of Zomba) in southern Malawi. It has also been found much further to the north in the Uluguru Mountains of eastern Tanzania. It presumably occurs more widely, in particular between the currently known sites. Records from Kenya need to be confirmed and are thus not included in this assessment. It is a montane species, probably occurring above 1,000 m Asl, and perhaps ranging to over 2,000 m Asl in places.
Habitat and Ecology
It appears to be a species of montane forest, forest edges, and open montane grassland. It apparently lives in marshy areas in open environments, or at the edge of montane forest, and presumably breeds by larval development in marshes and associated pools. Eggs are small and black and float on the surface of the water (Harper et al. 2010).
There is very little information on its population status. It has only seldom been recorded, presumably due to confusion with Phrynobatrachus parvulus and P. mababiensis. However, it was recorded in 2007 in the Musuku Mountains of northern Malawi (Mercurio 2011).
The main threats to this species are agricultural expansion, wood extraction and expanding human settlements, which are most likely adversely affecting it by causing the ongoing loss of forest and degradation of montane grassland within its range.
This species distribution overlaps with Mpanga/Kipengere Game Reserve and Kitulo National Park in southern Tanzania and occurs in Matipa and Wilindi Forest Reserves in the Misuku Mountains of northern Malawi.
The protection of this species' habitat needs to be continued and improved.
Its taxonomic status requires review (see taxonomic notes; J. Poynton pers. comm. June 2012) and more information is needed on this species' distribution, population status, natural history, further conservation actions required, and its threats.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution and remaining suitable habitat across its range. Considering its taxonomic status requires review, a reassessment of this frog’s conservation status will be required if its taxonomic status is revised in the future.
The taxonomic status of this species in relation to Phrynobatrachus mababiensis and P. parvulus is not clear (Poynton and Broadley 1985b).
In addition, molecular analysis recorded in Zimkus and Schick (2010) suggests that P. ungujae may be synonymous with P. ukingensis. However, only one specimen of P. ukingensis was included in the analysis. Synonymy seems highly unlikely on distributional grounds (Poyton pers. comm. June 2012). Future collections of P. ukingensis are required to resolve this issue.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG) 2017. Phrynobatrachus ukingensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T58146A77162114. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T58146A77162114.en .Downloaded on 24 January 2019