This endemic species is only known with certainty from Gua Tengkuk Air cave at the top (1,000 m asl) of Gunung Kajang, on Tioman island, Pahang state, west Peninsular Malaysia (Grismer et al. 2004). Larvae matching the morphology, but not coloration, of this species have been found at 400 m asl on the same mountain, suggesting either this species is not restricted to its highest elevations, or a related species occurs at lower elevations. At most, it seems likely that the species is restricted to Tioman island, and therefore has a very small range. Its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 10 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
The species occurs in a subterranean, obliquely oriented cavern, formed from the overhang of a pile of large boulders, in a hill dipterocarp forest. The cave contains a small pond (3x4 m) drained by a small subterranean stream (1–3 m wide, 2–4 cm deep) that runs for 3–4 m along the cave floor. Tadpoles of this species have been found in this pond. Adults have been found sitting on large rocks next to the stream, 10 m from the cave entrance and 10 m below ground level (Grismer et al. 2004).
There is no information on the current population status of this species, and its population trend is unknown.
There are no current major threats to this species as Tioman Island is well protected, and the species occurs at high elevations which are difficult to access (E. Quah pers. comm. April 2018).
The whole of Tioman island is designated as a wildlife reserve named Pulau Tioman Wildlife Reserve. No conservation actions are currently in place for this species.
Continued enforcement of the protected status of Tioman Island is necessary for the conservation of this species, which includes the safeguarding of caves and other high-elevation habitats on the island.
Studies on the taxonomy of the tadpoles occurring at lower elevations is required, as are studies on its population size, distribution, ecology, and threats. There is a need for close monitoring of the population of this species, given its apparently extremely restricted range.
Red List Status
Listed as Least Concern since, although its distribution is limited – its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 10 km2 – it appears not to be under significant threat as Tioman Island is a protected area and this species occurs in a remote area that is difficult to access.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Leptolalax kajangensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T61840A90985016. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T61840A90985016.en .Downloaded on 19 January 2019