Kihansi Gorge Amphibian Species Checklist
This is a checklist of Amphibian Species in the Kihansi Gorge in the Udzungwa Tanzania. It is an important information on Biodiversity status of the Udzungwa Mountains as a Mega Biodiverse Hotspot of the Eastern Arc Mountains. It contains endemic and species with the risk of extinction (endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild). The studies on amphibian species commenced with the discovery of the Kihansi Spray Toad (KST) (Nectophrynoides asperginis) in December 1996 and its description in 1998 (Poynton et al., 1998). To date several species of amphibians in the Order Anura in Five different Families have been identified to exist in the Kihansi Gorge. Unfortunately Nectophrynoides asperginis went extinct in the wild mainly due to habitat alteration by the Kihansi River water abstraction where water is used for Hydro power project. Further studies are underway to establish the exact cause of the population crash of KST in the Kihansi Gorge as one of the effort to bring back the KST population in the wild. These include the studies on Chytrid fungus, sediments flush from the reservoir,agricultural pesticide residue and water quality changes. Thanks to the Captive breeding programs that the species is under control for reintroduction back to its original habitat. This description therefore intends to report the amphibians occurring in the Kihansi Gorge i.e. amphibians occurring in the Spray Wetlands, at the edges of the spray wetlands as well as those appearing in other areas of the gorge. These are important for testing different scientific scenarios related to KSTs disappearance in the Kihansi Gorge since 2003.
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