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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Species Fact Profile: Kihansi Spray Toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis)

Kihansi Spray Toad

Nectophrynoides asperginis (Poynton, Howell, Clarke, Lovett, 199)

Range: Kihansi River Gorge (Udzungwa Mountains, Eastern Tanzania)
Habitat: Waterfall Gorge Meadows
Diet: Small Insects
Social Grouping: Unknown
Reproduction: Sexually mature at nine months of age, breed through internal fertilization; female gives birth to live toadlets (no tadpole stage), clutch size usually 5-13 offspring, sometimes as many as 28
Lifespan: 3 Years (Captivity)
Conservation Status: IUCN Extinct in the Wild, CITES Appendix I

  • Both sexes look alike, with yellow-gold skin speckled with yellow or brown markings on translucent white underparts (some individuals have alternating bands of dark and light on the sides)
  • Adult length 1-2 centimeters and weight 0.3-0.66 grams (females are slightly larger than males)
  • Special flaps over the nostrils can be closed, an adaptation to their waterfall habitat
  • Captives have been observed feigning death or voiding their bladders when disturbed
  • The species was driven to extinction in the wild by the construction of the Lower Kihansi Hydropower Dam, which dried out the habitat; chytrid fungus was also introduced by construction workers; the species was declared Extinct in the Wild in 2009, ten years after it was first described
  • In 2012, 2500 toads, captive bred in US zoos (Toledo and Bronx), were reintroduced into the wild; their habitat was recreated using a series of specially designed misters to replicate the waterfalls
  • At the time of its discovery, the known species range was 2 hectares

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