This species has been recorded from 860–1,720 m Asl within Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve, Kon Tum Province and Song Thanh Nature Reserve, Quang Nam Province, Viet Nam (Rowley et al. 2012). It is unlikely that the species is truly restricted to these two reserves; habitat contiguous with that of its known localities occurs around adjacent parts of the Kon Tum Plateau, including Dong Am Pham National Biodiversity Conservation Area in Lao PDR. Further surveys there may result in an expansion of the species' known range (Rowley et al. 2012). This broader range is reflected in the range map, which results in an estimated EOO of 3,920 km2, which represents one threat-defined location.
Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits montane rainforest. Individuals have been observed in and around streams where riparian vegetation is absent as a result of storm damage, however long-term tolerance to habitat disturbance is uncertain. Males are closely associated with small, shallow rocky streams within montane evergreen forest. The species is difficult to detect in the wet season, but appears relatively easy to detect in the breeding season (March-April), when large numbers of males call along streams (Rowley et al. 2012). Eggs and larvae of this species are unknown, however it likely has a free-swimming larval stage like all other Leptolalax species for which larvae are known (J. Rowley pers. comm. February 2015).
The species' relative abundance is poorly known. It was described from six individuals and has been recorded as locally abundant during breeding season, however it is difficult to detect at other times (Rowley et al. 2012). The species' population is suspected to be in decline due to the effects of logging and mining activity.
This species depends on streams within montane evergreen forest for its survival. Habitat loss and degradation are therefore its most likely threats. Illegal logging and gold mining are ongoing within the species' range and are currently the major drivers of these threatening processes (T. Q. Nguyen pers. comm. February 2014). Evidence suggests that it may be tolerant of some low-level habitat disturbance, as the species was observed in high abundance and calling in habitat highly modified by recent storms (Rowley et al. 2012).
All known localities of this species occur within two adjacent protected areas and it is likely to occur in a third.
Further research into the species' distribution, life history, and threats is warranted to inform conservation decisions.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered as this species' extent of occurrence (EOO) is only 3,920 km2 and consists of only one threat-defined location within which continuing decline in the quality of its habitat has been observed and population decline is suspected.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Leptolalax firthi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T48101669A113957118. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T48101669A113957118.en .Downloaded on 19 January 2019