Strongylopus kilimanjaro Clarke and Poynton, 2005
Original Published Description:
Kilimanjaro Stream Frog (English)
Strongylopus kilimanjaro is known only from certain mid-slope locations on the flank of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania (Stuart, 2006). This anuran species, observed most recently in 2005, has been collected at an elevation of approximately 3230 metres above sea level (Clark & Poynton, 2005).
Habitat and Ecology
S. kilimanjaro is thought to be associated with cold mountain streams in alpine African moorland and is believed to breed by larval development in these cold water streams (Stuart, 2006).
The Kilimanjaro Stream Frog (Strongylopus kilimanjaro) is recorded only in a narrow alpine range on the middle slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro within the East African montane moorlands. The following text will review not only true associate anurans to S. kilimanjaro, but also endemics to the restricted geographic ecoregion of the East African montane moorlands. The Kenya River frog (Phrynobatrachus keniensis) is endemic to the Kenyan portion of the ecoregion, and is thus not a true associate within the same range. The Kinangop River Frog (Phrynobatrachus kinangopensis) is endemic to the Kenyan portion of the ecoregion and thus also is not a true associate; in particular it is found only in the Mount Kenya and Aberdare National Parks at elevations around 3000 metres.
The Marsabit Clawed Frog (Xenopus borealis) is a near endemic anuran associate, which is also found in the upper elevations of the adjacent East African montane forests ecoregion. Another near endemic amphibian is the Molo Frog (Amietia wittei), which is found only in the Kenyan central highlands and northern Tanzania in the East African montane moorlands and slightly lower in elevation in the East African montane forests; therefore this species is not a true associate. The near endemic Mountain Reed Frog (Hyperolius montanus) is found only in the Kenyan highlands of the ecoregion and also in the adjacent East African montane forests ecoregion, and therefore is not a true associate. The Tigoni Reed Frog (Hyperolius cystocandicans) is a Vulnerable near endemic, found only in Kenya in this ecoregion and the adjacent East African montane forests; thus this species is not a true associate.
Other associate amphibians present in the East African montane moorlands ecoregion include the Subharan Toad (Amietophrynus xeros), Cape River Frog (Amietia fuscigula), Senegal Running Frog (Kassina senegalensis), Common Reed Frog (Hyperolius viridiflavus), and Keith's Toad (Amietophrynus kerinyagae). (Hogan. 2013)
The chief threat appears to be reduction in flow and elevation in stream temperature due to glacial retreat on Mount KIlimanjaro. Pepin et al. (2010) have analysed the cause of glacial retreat over the last century on Mount Kilimanjaro, and suggest that the chief driver of glacial reduction is the systematic deforestation on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro. This forest destruction by native peoples has led to a reduction in upslope air moisture flow, which appears to be the primary driver of glacial reduction here.
Conservation Actions and Management
The entirety of the range of S. kilimanjaro lies within the protected area of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park; however, the chief threat to this anuran appears to be secondary effects from deforestation on the lower slopes outside of the National Park. Moreover, in very recent years, some of the forested zone on these lower slopes has also become incorporated into the National Park.