This species is endemic to the Sinharaja area of southwestern Sri Lanka, where it is known only form the type locality at the Morningside Forest Reserve (Manamendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda 2005). Morningside is located near Rakwana, on the eastern side of the Sinharaja World Heritage Site. The species was recorded at an elevation of 1,060 m asl. It is probably restricted to this area, which is comprised of a single large forest remnant embedded in a vast deforested matrix. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 2 km2, which is also taken as a proxy for area of occupancy (AOO).
Habitat and Ecology
It is essentially a ground-dwelling, leaf-litter species, found in closed-canopy montane forest, and forest fragments within cardamom plantations. It is not found in areas with little or no canopy cover (Meegaskumbura et al. 2012). It breeds by direct development and is not dependent on water.
It is considered to be a rare species. A recent survey produced observations of four individuals over a two-hour period (M. Meegaskumbura pers. comm. 2014). There are no data to indicate population declines.
It is threatened by habitat loss due to agricultural encroachment (especially for tea and cardamom cultivation), fires, illegal gemstone mining and logging, and human settlement (Surasinghe and Jayaratne 2006). It is also at risk from agrochemical pollution.
The species is found in the Morningside Forest Reserve; however, while Morningside itself belongs to the Forest Department, it has not yet been assured a permanent conservation status (Janzen and Bopage 2011, R. Pethiyagoda pers. comm. 2014). There is still pressure from land use within the reserve; a tea-cardamom plantation operates at the centre of the reserve and there is illegal clearing of understory to establish small parcels for cardamom cultivation (R. Pethiyagoda pers. comm. 2014). There is need for improved protection of the area, and incorporation of Morningside into the contiguous Sinharaja World Heritage Site would help prevent future loss of remaining forest habitat (R. Pethiyagoda pers. comm. 2014). Research is also needed to better understand its life history, population status and current threats.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) and its area of occupancy (AOO) are estimated to be 2 km2, all individuals are in a single threat-defined location, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in southwestern Sri Lanka.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2014. Pseudophilautus simba. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T58905A60796615. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T58905A60796615.en .Downloaded on 13 November 2018