This species occurs from northern Somalia to southern Kenya (as far south as Voi), and in southern Ethiopia. There are very few records, and the map assumes that the species occurs in large areas between known sites.
In Kenya, it is known from Aruba Dam (Tsavo East National Park, Voi). In 2006, it was recorded in Kasigau Lowland, which is close to Tsavo East National Park (approximately 20 km apart) (P.K. Malonza and V. Wasonga pers. comm. June 2012). It is found between 550-600 m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It is a fossorial species of arid savannah and semi-desert country, making it fairly resilient to dry conditions. It is likely to be found above ground only during seasonal rains as it breeds in temporary pools.
There is very little information on the population status of this species probably because it lives underground most of the time. Thus, unsurprisingly, it is a rare species in Kenya and was last collected during the wet season in 2006; however only metamorphs, and no adults, were found . It appears that its breeding activity is triggered by heavy rains (P.K. Malonza and V. Wasonga pers. comm. June 2012).
Although the species seems to be fairly resilient to dry conditions, the most likely threat is drought, which our current knowledge of the species indicates would prevent the species' breeding. Another plausible threat is environmental degradation resulting from human expansion and settlement, with the consequent increase in populations of domestic livestock (perhaps especially impacting breeding sites).
It has been recorded from Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, but does not occur in any protected areas in Somalia. Research is needed on the extent of the distribution, the ecology and population (P.K. Malonza and V. Wasonga pers. comm. June 2012).
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its relatively wide distribution, tolerance of extreme environmental conditions and its presumed large population.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2013. Hildebrandtia macrotympanum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T58295A17170459. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-2.RLTS.T58295A17170459.en .Downloaded on 21 January 2019