This species is currently known only from the Dakchung Plateau of Phou Ajol Mountain, Xe Knog Province, Dakchung District, Laos, at elevations between 1,450-1,500 m asl (Stuart et al. 2012). Similar habitat contiguous with the species' known locality extends into limited parts of north-western Quang Nam Province, Viet Nam and further surveys may uncover its presence there. Taxonomic reassessment of existing Leptobrachium specimens collected from adjacent parts of Laos and Vietnam has been recommended to better understand the true distribution and range of the species (B. Stuart pers. comm. Dec 2014). The species' estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 1,225 km2, which represents only one threat-defined location.
Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits wet montane evergreen forest and is associated with swift, rocky streams. The quality and extent of this species' habitat is likely to be in decline due to the effects of shifting agriculture, logging, and the removal of non-timber forest products (Showler and Davidson 1998). Much of the species' reproductive biology remains undocumented (Stuart et al. 2012), however it is presumed to have a free-living aquatic stage and breed in streams as do other Leptobrachium for which the reproductive strategy is recorded.
Little is known about the population of this species except that it was described from a type series of three individuals (Stuart et al. 2012). Habitat loss and disturbance are likely to be causing declines of this species in some parts of its range.
The most immediate threat to this species is slash and burn agriculture. This is ongoing and a major cause of deforestation in the northern part of the species' range (around the south border of Xe Sap National Protected Area), where large areas are cleared for the cultivation of cassava and rice, and abandoned after two to three years when soil nutrients are depleted. Logging and the removal of non-timber forest products may also affect this species: large portions of the region have been historically cleared by logging and in most accessible areas, eaglewood trees (Aquilaria sp) are lopped in search of mai dam, a valuable resin produced by the trees (Showler and Davidson 1998).
The species is not recorded from any protected areas, but further surveys may establish that its range extends into Xe Sap National Protected Area, Laos, and Song Thanh Nature Reserve, Viet Nam (B.Stuart pers. comm. August 2015).
Very little is known about this species and addressing the lack of data is the first step towards ensuring its long-term persistence. Further research on its abundance, threats, and the size of its range would inform conservation decisions.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because the species is geographically restricted: its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is only 1,225 km2 and it is thought to occur in one threat-defined location. The species' habitat is also experiencing declines in extent and quality, and population declines are estimated as a result.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Leptobrachium xanthops. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T47151835A50980050. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T47151835A50980050.en