This species was previously only known from three localities in southern Ethiopia: near Bore at 2,650 m asl, 70 km northwest of Kebre Mengist, to the east of the Rift Valley; and near Dorse at 2,600 m asl to the west of the Rift Valley (Largen 2001). Surveys in 2006-2011 have recorded this species in Shawe Swamp (1,900 m asl), close to the locality 70 km northwest of Kebre Mengist (Largen 2001), in the Bale Mountains National Park (A. Mengistu, B. Zimkus and S. Loader pers. comms. June 2012). While it is currently estimated to occur in three threat-defined locations, it is possible that it may occur more widely across the Ethiopian Highlands (A. Mengistu, B. Zimkus and S. Loader pers. comms. June 2012).
Habitat and Ecology
At Bore and Shawe, this species was found amongst herbaceous vegetation at the margins of pools in grassy glades surrounded by forest comprised of Schefflera and Hagenia species (Largen 2001, A. Mengistu and S. Loader pers. comms. June 2012). At Dorse, it was collected from a heavily grazed marshy area of extensively cultivated habitat supporting only remnants of former forest cover (Largen 2001). It breeds in pools and marshes. It is not known whether this may be an indication of tolerance to habitat disturbance or whether this species may have been barely persisting under these circumstances.
It was common near Bore in 1975 (Largen and Spawls 2010) and was still deemed common at this site in 2006 (B. Zimkus pers. comm. October 2012). It is locally common in Shawe Swamp based on surveys conducted in 2006 (A. Mengistu and S. Loader pers. comms. June 2012). Its population is considered to be severely fragmented.
Disparate information is available, but on this basis it is likely to be impacted by habitat degradation, especially as a result of small-holder agricultural expansion, human settlement and overgrazing by livestock at all three known sites (A. Mengistu and S. Loader pers. comms. June 2012).
Part of this species' range lies within the Bale Mountains National Park (Gower et al. 2013), although this protected area is not formally gazetted. There is a long-running conservation programme in the Bale Mountains National Park (Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority and Frankfurt Zoological Society; Frankfurt Zoological Society 2007), but there is a lack of amphibian-specific activities and there is increasing encroachment within the Park, so improved park management is needed (Frankfurt Zoological Society 2007, Gower et al. 2013). More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status and natural history, as well as on the taxonomic status of its subpopulations. Since chytrid fungus has been detected in Bale and in a closely related species (P. minutus; Gower et al. 2012), screening for this fungus is needed to determine whether it may also be present in this species (A. Mengistu and S. Loader pers. comms. June 2012).
Red List Status
Data Deficient (DD)
Listed as Data Deficient given continuing doubts surrounding the taxonomic status of its subpopulations and there still being very little information on its extent of occurrence (EOO), status and ecological requirements.
There is taxonomic uncertainty surrounding the designation of certain subpopulations to this nominal taxon (S. Loader pers. comm. June 2012).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2013. Phrynobatrachus inexpectatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T58118A16951971. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T58118A16951971.en .Downloaded on 19 January 2019