This species is currently known from between 135–1,200 m Asl on the Kon Tum Plateau at Mang Canh Village and Te Xang, Kon Tum Province, central Viet Nam (Nishikawa et al. 2012), and Cat Tien National Park, Lam Dong Province, southern Viet Nam (Geissler et al. 2014). These are unlikely to represent the actual limits of the species' range as similar habitat and elevations to those in its known localities extend longitudinally from southern Quang Nam to Binh Thuan, as well as into eastern Cambodia. Further surveys in these areas may uncover its presence there, therefore its range has been projected beyond known sites to include these areas of suitable habitat. The species' estimated EOO is 101,164 km2, which represents two threat defined locations.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is fossorial and inhabits tropical evergreen forest. It has been observed near farmland, emerging at night after heavy rain, but much of the species' ecology remains unknown (Nishikawa et al. 2012). The species is presumably oviparous, as are other Ichthyophis for which the reproductive strategy is known, and its aquatic, stream-dwelling larvae have been recorded. Parts of the species' range are disturbed by agriculture (Nishikawa et al. 2012), however the effect of this on its population is not clear.
Very little is known about the size and trends of this species' population, except that in 2006 three individuals were collected from the Kon Tum locality for its description (Nishikawa et al. 2012), and an unspecified number of larvae were observed in Cat Tien National Park in a 2009 survey (Geissler et al. 2014).
Habitat loss and degradation, particularly as a result of the conversion of forest to agricultural land to grow cash crop plantations (e.g. rubber, coffee and tea), is an ongoing threat throughout the Central Highlands (Meyfroidt and Lambin 2008, Meyfroidt et al. 2013). Areas of cleared land are scattered throughout this species' known and inferred range, however the effects of forest loss on caecilian populations are largely unknown. The species has been observed near farmland (Nishikawa et al. 2012), which may demonstrate some tolerance to environmental disturbance. Gower and Wilkinson (2005) found that forest removal does not always detrimentally affect caecilian populations, particularly in cases where it is replaced with crops that maintain shade and moisture. Further research is warranted to determine whether this species is affected by forest loss.
This species is known from Cat Tien National Park, and its expected range occupies an extensive network of other protected areas.
Addressing the lack of data is the first step towards ensuring this species' long-term persistence; further research on its true distribution, threats, and the size and trends of its population would inform conservation decisions.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Listed as Least Concern as this species is relatively widespread, with an estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) of 101,164 km2, and two threat-defined locations at which ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat is causing declines in its population.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Ichthyophis nguyenorum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T43340087A113955436. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T43340087A113955436.en .Downloaded on 23 January 2019