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Asian Toadfrogs: Megophryidae

Conservation Status

Of the 107 species in this family, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) considers three species to be Critically Endangered, which means that they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild; 14 to be Endangered and facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild; and 26 to be Vulnerable and facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. In addition, 13 are Near Threatened and at risk of becoming threatened with extinction in the future; and 28 others are Data Deficient, which means that the IUCN has too little information to make a judgment about the threat of extinction.

The three Critically Endangered species are the web-footed dwarf litter frog, the Liangbei toothed toad, and the spotted lazy toad. The web-footed dwarf litter frog has a very small population that lives only in one place: near a small, clear, rocky stream in a forest reserve of Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo. Although the stream is inside a reserve, loggers are removing the surrounding forests. Since this species probably spends much of its life in those vanishing forests, it may soon become extinct. The Liangbei toothed toad also lives in a tiny area and breeds in just one small, mountain stream in southern Sichuan province, China. Scientists believe the entire species has fewer than 100 members. The stream is not in a protected area, and the surrounding forests are disappearing to logging. If its forest habitat disappears from logging or from a fire, this frog could easily become extinct. The last of the three Critically Endangered species is the spotted lazy toad, which is known from just a few individuals that were collected in the 1970s from mountains in China. Although scientists have made numerous searches since then, they have not been able to find any more of these frogs and fear they may already be extinct.

Many of the other Endangered, Vulnerable, and Near Threatened species in this family are in danger because their habitat is disappearing, mainly due to people cutting down forests for lumber or to make way for farming or houses. In some cases, the number of frogs is dropping because fertilizers and pollutants are draining into the streams where the frogs have their young. The tadpoles typically cannot survive in anything but clean, clear water. Changes in the habitat are especially dangerous for those species that live in very small areas. In fact, scientists believe that nearly one of every four Asian toadfrog species lives or breeds in only one place, such as a tiny part of a mountain forest or stream. For them, a few days of tree-cutting or a change to one stretch of a stream can wipe out their entire home.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansAsian Toadfrogs: Megophryidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Asian Toadfrogs And People, Conservation Status, Bana Leaf Litter Frog (leptobrachium Banae): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET