This species is known from a single locality on the southeastern slopes of Mount Manengouba at 1,550-2,000 m asl in western Cameroon. Using a coarse representation of its range as a proxy (see map), its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 34 km²
Habitat and Ecology
It is found in montane forest, around springs and streams, living in holes, humus, gravel, root masses and dense undergrowth. It survives in secondary forest, but cannot survive in disturbed, open forest (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. June 2012). Presumably it breeds in streams, and co-exists with Leptodactylodon mertensi around 1,700 m asl.
The species has been reported as abundant within its tiny range, and is most common at altitudes of 1,700-1,800 m asl. It was last seen in 2012
The major threat to this species is increasing habitat loss as a result of agricultural encroachment, including plantations of tree crops; expanding human settlements; and removal of wood by local people for firewood and building materials. More specifically, trampling by livestock in the forest is a threat to this species and degrades its habitat. The use of herbicides and pesticides here is suspected to have long-term effects on the stream habitat, affecting this frog's larval stage, and this threat is expected to increase as human activity in the area increases (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. June 2012).
Deforestation on Mount Manengouba also occurs due to the unsustainable collection of bark from Prunus africanus—a high-elevation tree endemic to the Cameroon highlands—by tree ringing. The tree's bark is used in small amounts for medicinal purposes by local people. However, it is also sold to pharmaceutical companies in large amounts, in which case all the bark is removed from the individual trees resulting in their death. The consequence of the latter practice changes the microclimate required for the species' survival (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012). Furthermore, as with other high-elevation species, the species' habitat may be affected by climate change (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012), although this necessitates further research. While this species appears to be tolerant of a degree of habitat disturbance, it is nonetheless at severe risk because of its tiny range.
This species does not occur in any protected areas. The protected area network in western Cameroon urgently needs to be expanded to include the remaining montane forest habitats, particularly those on Mount Manengouba, which has been proposed as a protected area (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012). On Mount Manengouba, the harvesting of Prunus africanus should be sustainably managed, including education of the local people (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012). Across its range, more information is needed on the species' population status, natural history and the potential effects of climate change; monitoring is required to established the species' population trends.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Leptodactylodon erythrogaster. In: IUCN 2014