Anuran distribution, diversity and conservation in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland

  • D.R. Drinkrow
  • M.I. Cherry


The distributions of 96 anuran species in South Africa were mapped using published locality records, and the collections of the South African and Port Elizabeth museums. Centres of richness, endemism and Red Data Book (RDB) richness were identified, and compared with currently protected areas, using a geographical information system (GIS). Maputaland and the Kwazulu/Natal coast were identified as centres of species richness. Endemic ‘hotspots’ occur in the vicinity of Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Ihe fynbos region of the Western Cape, The Western Cape was also identified as a centre of RDB species richness. A large portion (95,8%) of South African anuran species are found in protected areas. The effective long-term viability of populations of many of these species within these areas, must be assessed. Currently four South African frog species are not found within protected areas. The Karoo biomes were identified as being under-represented, both in the species database and in the proportion of conserved areas. While a large proportion of the fynbos biome is contained in reserve areas, the low-lying fynbos habitats have almost disappeared as a result of urbanization and agriculture. Remnants of the sandy coastal fynbos and renosterveld veld types require urgent conservation. Several areas in the Western and Eastern Cape were identified as requiring additional research and conservation measures. A GIS proves a useful tool in the analysis of species distributions and the prioritization of areas and species for conservation. The importance of accurate collection data, for incorporation into species databases, and the regular publication of reserve species lists is emphasized.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-073X
print ISSN: 1562-7020