Rapid assessment of montane anuran communities in the Albertine Rift: Hyperolius castaneus Ahl, 1931 as an umbrella species for conservation

Published in: African Zoology
Volume 46, issue 2, 2011 , pages: 320–333
DOI: 10.1080/15627020.2011.11407505
Author(s): Ulrich SinschInstitute of Integrated Sciences, Department of Biology, Germany, Eli GreenbaumDepartment of Biological Sciences, U.S.A., Chifundera KusambaLaboratoire d’Herpétologie, Département de Biologie, Democratic Republic of Congo, Edgar LehrInstitute of Integrated Sciences, Department of Biology, Germany


The species richness of seven montane anuran communities of the Albertine Rift was assessed with visual and acoustic transects. A total of 28 anuran species were detected. The highland anuran communities at (2000–2800 m) were dominated by up to nine Albertine Rift endemic species considered threatened by IUCN Red List criteria, whereas the community at lower elevation included mainly wide-ranging, least-concern species. Cluster analyses of the presence/absence data on the overall array of species indicated that Ahl’s reed frog (Hyperolius castaneus) is a suitable umbrella species for the highland Albertine Rift endemics. Hyperolius castaneus was always among the first species collected at each site, either by visual detection or by acoustic detection based on the characteristic advertisement and aggression calls which were emitted during the day and at night. The ease of its detection in the field makes this species an ideal candidate for rapid assessments of priority sites for conservation measures.

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