This species is known only from the Mkalazi Valley at 1,200 m in the Udzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve, Udzungwa Mountains, in eastern Tanzania. Surveys of other parts of the Udzungwa Forest Reserve have not located this species. Its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) are both 2-3 km².
Habitat and Ecology
In 2003, all individuals were found in moist submontane rainforest, close to a stream. At night they were found on leaves 60-160 cm above the ground, and during the day they hid on the ground under fallen trees and coarse wood debris. Its breeding strategy is unknown, but it is assumed to be a live-bearer, like other members of its genus, with internal fertilization, giving birth to tiny toadlets.
The species was reasonably common within its tiny range in 2003, although much less numerous than the sympatric Nectophrynoides tornieri. However, six recent targeted searches for this species (between 2011 and 2014) have failed to locate or hear any individuals suggesting that its population has been in decline (M. Menegon, S. Loader and E. Tonelli pers. comm. July 2014).
The species' forest habitat is declining due to wood extraction (poles and firewood).
This species occurs in the Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve, which has been proposed as a Nature Reserve, but in view of present threats additional habitat protection is needed. This species is listed on CITES Appendix I. The presence of this species needs to be assessed and monitored.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Nectophrynoides poyntoni. In: IUCN 2014