Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa. The country has very distinct ecosystems that range from montane moist forests to deserts and wetlands to montane grasslands. These diverse habitats are home to a large number of plants and animals. This wildlife diversity include 277 mammal species, 861 bird species, 78 reptile species, and 54 amphibian species. This article takes a look at some of the native amphibian species found in Ethiopia.
Native Amphibians of Ethiopia
Badditu Forest Tree Frog
The Badditu forest tree frog, also known as the Ethiopian burrowing tree frog, is endemic to the Ethiopian Plateau. It inhabits a rather large range of approximately 6,226 square miles in the East African Rift Valley, at altitudes between 6,230 and 12,795 feet. Within this area, the Badditu forest tree frog prefers montane grassland ecosystems, although it has also been found around human developments. Its population is considered abundant and not fragmented within its range. Part of its habitat is protected by the Bale Mountains National Park.
The Aleku Caecilian is endemic to southwestern Ethiopia where it can be found in 4 regions. These areas include Gambella, Oromia, the Southern Nations Region, and the People’s Region. It prefers tropical deciduous forests and muddy areas on stream banks and around ponds. This amphibian species inhabits an area of 12,100 square feet at elevations of between approximately 4,900 and 7,200 feet. Its population size is unknown but due to its large range, this species is not considered endangered or threatened. Part of its habitat is within the UNESCO-MAB Kafa Biosphere Reserve.
The Ethiopian snout-burrower is a frog that can only be found in the highlands regions of southwestern and western Ethiopia. It is endemic and limited to a range between approximately 4,900 and 8,850 feet above sea level. Within this elevation, the Ethiopian snout-burrower frog prefers montane grassland ecosystems although, it has also been found in tropical deciduous forests and even arid savannas. Within these ecosystems, it is usually within marshy areas and near streams. True to its name, this frog species prefers spending its time underground. Interestingly, the female lays eggs underground as well and when the larvae hatch, they move to nearby bodies of water. Its population size is not identified, although it is considered large and not declining. This is not classified as a threatened species.
These are just a few of the native amphibian species in Ethiopia. For a list of other native amphibians, take a look at the chart below.
Although none of the amphibians discussed above are considered to be endangered, they are all threatened by the same effects of environmental degradation. As an indicator species, amphibians are more susceptible to damages and population loss due to environmental changes than other animal species. Unfortunately, environmental degradation is widespread throughout Ethiopia, resulting from human settlements, spreading urbanization, and agricultural development. The timber industry in the country also contributes to habitat destruction by deforesting large tracts of land. Additionally, these activities risk changing the levels of temperature and moisture in the soil and also lead to soil and water contaminants (by herbicide and pesticide runoff) that ultimately do harm to these species. As humans continue to develop natural habitats, the world’s biodiversity will continue to decrease unless significant efforts to regulate and conserve are taken.