The Ethiopian Short-headed Frog, Balebreviceps hillmani, is listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. This poorly-known amphibian is endemic to the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia, where it has been recorded from just a single site, at an elevation of around 3,200 metres. This species comes from a family of frogs that live underground, but its habitat in the Bale Mountains is so humid that researchers don’t think that the Ethiopian Short-headed Frog needs to burrow. Ethiopian Short-headed Frogs possess a remarkable defense mechanism, in which they puff up their bodies and secrete a sticky white, and presumably irritating or toxic liquid from their skin. Their bright yellow markings may indicate to predators that they are toxic.
The narrow belt of giant heather woodland inhabited by the Ethiopian Short-headed Frog is under threat by an increasing human population and their livestock. It is not known how damaging this disturbance is to the Ethiopian Short-headed Frog, but future impacts might be disastrous for the species given its very limited known distribution. There is also the possibility that logging of forests at lower elevations may be having indirect negative impacts on its habitat.
The Ethiopian Short-headed Frog receives some protection within the Bale Mountains National Park. High priorities for the conservation of this small amphibian include the effective protection of its habitat, and further surveys to better understand its ecology, status, and the extent of its distribution.
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How to become an Amazing Amphibians partner:
Outlined below are the roles and responsibilities for the 4 different levels of involvement for potential partners. If your organization would like to be a part of the Amazing Amphibians program in either of these capacities please email email@example.com.
Senior Partner – These partners will help with multiple aspects of the program, help facilitate the completion of several species profiles, publicize each Amazing Amphibian and will likely have a landing page for the program on their website. This level of partner will be leading in using their communication channels to gather additional information for the program such as images and data points for iNaturalist.
Strategic Partner – These partners will play an active role in creating species profiles, submitting at least three species profiles per year and actively use their social network to publicize each Amazing Amphibian. This level of partner will be active in using their communication channels to gather additional information for the program such as images and data points for iNaturalist.
Focal Partner – Partners tend to be active in a limited geographic area. This partner will submit at least one regional species profile per year and use their social network to publicize each Amazing Amphibian. This level of partner will be involved in using their communication channels to gather additional information at a regional level for the program such as images and data points for iNaturalist.
Affiliate – These partners are interested in promoting the program but might not be in a position to provide profiles. These partners will publicize each Amazing Amphibian through the social media outlets.