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Assessment Results




© 2008 Miguel Vences and Frank Glaw (1 of 2 )

AmphibiaWeb species account




IUCN Red List assessment


Conservation Needs Assessment

Rhombophryne testudo ,   Nosy Be Burrowing Frog
Assessed for:  Madagascar   on: 02 Nov 2015   by: Mark D. Scherz  
Assessment Status: Completed  
Order:   Anura     Family:   Microhylidae

IUCN Global Red List:   Vulnerable (VU)   
IUCN National Red List:   (not assessed)   
Distribution:     Madagascar  
Evolutionary Distinctiveness score:   20.8733817443059 
Recommended Conservation Actions:   In Situ Conservation  , In Situ Research  , Ex Situ Research   
Additional Comments:    

Question #Short NameQuestion TextResponseComments
1 Extinction risk Current IUCN Red List category. [Data obtained from the IUCN Red List.] Vulnerable (VU)
2 Possibly extinct Is there a strong possibility that this species might be extinct in the wild? No Although rarely seen, this species is not uncommon.
3 Phylogenetic significance The taxon’s Evolutionary Distinctiveness (ED) score, as generated by the ZSL EDGE program. (These data are added by AArk staff, and are not editable by Assessors). ED value 20 - 50
4 Protected habitat Is a population of at least 50% of the individuals of the taxon included within a reliably protected area or areas? Unknown This species is apparently widespread on Nosy Be, but its population distribution is not known.
5 Habitat for reintroduction Does enough suitable habitat exist, either within or outside of currently protected areas that is suitable for reintroduction or translocation? Yes Translocation within Nosy Be would be possible. Translocation to other nearby islands may also be possible.
6 Previous reintroductions Have reintroduction or translocation attempts been made in the past for this species? No
7 Threat mitigation Are the threats facing the taxon, including any new and emerging threats not considered in the IUCN Red List, potentially reversible? Threats are reversible in time frame Nosy Be is currently under enormous anthropogenic pressure, although protected areas remain relatively stable. Threats from deforestation may be reversible. This species has however been found in anthropogenic habitats as well.
8 Over-collection from the wild Is the taxon suffering from unsustainable collection within its natural range, either for food, for the pet trade or for any other reason, which threatens the species’ continued persistence in the wild? No This species is not known to be collected for any reason.
9 Population recovery Is the known population of this species in the wild large enough to recover naturally, without ex situ intervention if threats are mitigated? Yes Although no efforts have been made to assess the population size of this species (made difficult by its subterranean lifestyle), its presence on two islands—Nosy Be and Nosy Komba—suggests it may have a sufficiently large population size to recover naturally.
10 Biological distinctiveness Does the taxon exhibit, for example, a distinctive reproductive mode, behaviour, aspect of morphology or physiology, within the Class Amphibia? No aspect of biology known to be exceptional This species is hyperspecialised on digging, with ossifications inside its skull and a bizarre morphology. It shares this morphology with two closely related species (R. matavy and R. coudreaui), and a few other distantly related species, but it is generally rare among amphibians.
11 Cultural/socio-economic importance Does the taxon have a special human cultural value (e.g. as a national or regional symbol, in a historic context, featuring in traditional stories) or economic value (e.g. food, traditional medicine, tourism) within its natural range or in a wider global context? No
12 Scientific importance Is the species vital to current or planned research other than species-specific ecology/biology/conservation? (e.g. human medicine, climate change, environmental pollutants and conservation science), within the Class Amphibia? No research dependent on this species
13 Ex situ research Does conserving this species (or closely related species) in situ depend upon research that can be most easily carried out ex situ? No More data is needed from in situ research in order to assess ex situ possibilities.
14 Husbandry analog Do the biological and ecological attributes of this species make it suitable for developing husbandry regimes for more threatened related species? i.e. could this species be used in captivity to help to develop husbandry and breeding protocols which could be used for a similar, but more endangered species at a later stage? Yes Practically nothing is known of the reproduction of this species. However, as it is not rare in its local habitat, it may be a good analogue for the closely related R. matavy, which is more threatened.
15 Captive breeding Has this species been successfully maintained and bred in captivity? Not held in captivity to date
16 Educational potential Is the species especially diurnal/active/colourful and therefore suited to be an educational ambassador for conservation of this group of species? No
17 Mandate Is there an existing conservation mandate recommending the ex situ conservation of this taxon? No
18 Range State approval Would a proposed ex situ initiative for this species be supported (and approved) by the range State (either within the range State or out-of-country ex situ)? Yes The Sahonagasy Action Plan is ratified by the Malagasy government and states support for ex situ initiatives for all amphibian species in Madagascar.
19 Founder specimens Are sufficient animals of the taxon available or potentially available (from wild or captive sources) to initiate the specified ex situ program? Yes
20 Taxonomic status Has a complete taxonomic analysis of the species in the wild been carried out, to fully understand the functional unit you wish to conserve (i.e. have species limits been determined)? Yes The taxonomic status of this species is well resolved.

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