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Ecology and demography of the Critically Endangered Kandian torrent toad Adenomus kandianus: a long-lost endemic species of Sri Lanka

  • Suranjan Karunarathna (a1), Sujan Henkanaththegedara (a2), Dinesh Gabadage (a3), Madhava Botejue (a3), Majintha Madawala (a4) and Thilina D. Surasinghe (a5)...

The tropical island nation of Sri Lanka is a biodiversity hotspot with a high diversity and endemism of amphibians. The endemic, stream-dwelling Kandian torrent toad Adenomus kandianus is Critically Endangered and was considered to be extinct until its rediscovery in 2012. The species is now known from two localities in tropical montane forests. We conducted a 4-year study using transect surveys and opportunistic excursions to assess habitat associations, demographics and abundance of A. kandianus in and around Pidurutalagala Conservation Forest. We recorded a mean of 44.25 post-metamorphs per year, with a density of < 1 individual per 100 m2, with occurrence within a narrow extent (c. 0.005 km2) of the stream channel. Behaviour and microhabitat selection varied depending on sex and stage of maturity. The species preferred moderately sized montane streams with rocky substrates and woody debris, colder temperatures, and closed-canopy, intact riparian forests. We noted size-based reversed sexual dimorphism and a strong ontogenetic relationship between snout–vent length and body weight. Anthropogenic activities such as intensive crop farming deterred the species; proximity to croplands had a negative influence on abundance. We recommend re-delineation of the boundary of Pidurutalagala Conservation Forest to incorporate the toad's habitat into the core of the reserve and thus limit the impacts of human activities. Conservation and management actions such as ex-situ breeding, population monitoring, and restoration of degraded habitats could also contribute towards the persistence of this toad. Our findings provide useful insights into ecological research on and conservation of range-restricted aquatic amphibians.

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  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
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