This species is known only from the Winterberg and Amatola Mountains, between Katberg and Keiskammahoek, in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, at 1,400-1,800 m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It lays strings of eggs in shallow temporary pools and seepages in high-altitude moist grasslands, and is absent from forests and plantations. Tadpoles are free living and metamorphose before leaving the aquatic environment.
About ten visits to suitable sites over 11 years (1998-2009) have not turned up any frogs of this species and it is possible that this species is already extinct. Prior to the disappearance, it was known to congregate in large numbers to breed. The spatial distribution of this species is considered to be severely fragmented based on historical data as no one site holds >50% of individuals and the distances between subpopulations are considered to be too great for dispersal within one generation.
The main threats are loss of grassland through afforestation affecting the majority of the distribution, overgrazing, and fires; over the last 20 years about 20% of its habitat has been lost to plantations. Overgrazing and frequent fires may be responsible for disappearance from remaining appropriate sites in the last 11 years.
The key research action required is to relocate this species and determine its phenology. There is a possibility that after 11 years without being seen, this species may be already extinct. Other priorities are to identify management units and assess perceived threats. If populations can be located, the population size should be determined and the site protected. If the specific requirements of this species can be determined, this may lead to restoration of appropriate habitat.
South African Frog Re-assessment Group (SA-FRoG) & IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2010. Vandijkophrynus amatolicus. In: IUCN 2014