This species is known from western Sabah (Malaysia) and West, Central, and East Kalimantan Provinces (Indonesia), Borneo, below 1,300 m asl. Some specimens from Crocker Range National Park previously assigned to this species are now assigned to Meristogenys stigmachilus and M. stenocephalus (Shimada et al. 2011). It is difficult to identify positively in the field, therefore the new records from Kalimantan may belong to other species and are only tentatively assigned to this species (Indonesia Red List Assessment Workshop May 2017).
Habitat and Ecology
It has been found only in hilly rainforests. Breeding occurs in clear, rocky streams, and larvae cling to the rocks in strong currents and feed on lithophytic algae.
Where the species is known to occur, it is found in large numbers (Indonesia Red List Assessment Workshop May 2017). However, due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
The principal threat to the species is rapid clear-cutting of lowland tropical rainforest in forest concession land and for oil palm plantations (Indonesia Red List Assessment Workshop May 2017). Siltation of streams as a result of deforestation eliminates the larval feeding microhabitat of this species.
It has been recorded from Kinabalu, Crocker Range and Kayan Mentarang National Parks.
Continued effective preservation of lowland forest is needed to conserve this species because oil palm plantations are encroaching into protected areas in Kalimantan (Indonesia Red List Assessment Workshop May 2017). Some oil palm companies and forestry companies designate High Conservation Value areas, which is required by some financial institutions providing loans. However, not all lenders require these areas to be set aside and the habitat within the HCVs could disappear if the lender or requirements change (Indonesia Red List Assessment Workshop May 2017).
Taxonomic research is needed to resolve the status of this species. Further research on this species' distribution, population size and trends is recommended.
Red List Status
Near Threatened (NT)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution and presumed large population.
This is a restricted concept of Meristogenys whiteheadi following the split of the broader concept into this, M. stenocephalus and M. stigmachilus (Shimada et al. 2011).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Meristogenys whiteheadi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T79096537A79096290. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T79096537A79096290.en .Downloaded on 20 February 2019