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African Treefrogs: Hyperoliidae - Conservation Status

species water frog extinction

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists one species as Critically Endangered and facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild; nineteen species as Endangered and facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild; twenty-nine that are Vulnerable and facing a high risk of extinction in the wild; sixteen that are Near Threatened and at risk of becoming threatened with extinction in the future; and fifty-three that are Data Deficient, which means that scientists do not have enough information to make a judgment about the threat of extinction.

The one Critically Endangered species is known by its scientific name of Alexteroon jynx. It has only been found in two small areas on hillsides in southwestern Cameroon. This frog lives among thick plants along forest streams that are shaded by overhead trees. It lays a few eggs together in a group on leaves above the water. These eggs hatch into tadpoles, which slide off the leaf and into the stream. Ecologists are concerned not only because it lives in such a small area but also because the forests are not protected and are disappearing as people cut down the trees. Unless the area is protected soon, they fear that the frogs will become extinct.

The Knysna banana frog, Pickersgill's reed frog, and the long-toed treefrog are examples of the Endangered species in this family. All three live in South Africa. The Knysna banana frog is a rare species that lives along the southern coast of South Africa in shrubs, forests, and sometimes farmland; it mates among plants that grow in small pools of water and dams. Pickersgill's reed frog lives in shrubby areas and grasslands farther up the coast of South Africa and uses small pools of water that may dry up later in the year. The home of the long-toed treefrog is in inland grasslands, often on mountainsides between 3,280 to 6,000 feet (1,000 to 1,830 meters) above sea level. It mates in marshes and other grassy pools that may dry up later on.

Human activity, such as the construction of buildings, cutting of trees, and draining of water from wetlands for farms, is causing problems for all three species. In the case of the Pickersgill's reed frog, people are also using the insect-killing chemical known as DDT to control mosquitoes. These mosquitoes can bite people and spread a sometimes-fatal disease called malaria (muh-LAIR-ee-uh). DDT, however, can also kill frogs. Besides this threat, the frogs are in danger because people have brought in eucalyptus (yoo-cuh-LIP-tus), a new plant that can soak up much of the water in a wetland. Water-loving introduced plants, as well as fires, are causing a problem for the long-toed treefrogs. Although each of these species is endangered, some of them make their homes at least partially inside a protected area, such as a national park or nature reserve.

African Treefrogs: Hyperoliidae - Bubbling Kassina (kassina Senegalensis): Species Accounts [next] [back] African Treefrogs: Hyperoliidae - Behavior And Reproduction

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