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Mnt. Mulanje EDGE species

By on April 17, 2010 in Amphibians, EDGE Fellows, Uncategorized

Mount Mulanje is one of the highest mountains in central and southern Africa. This mountain is situated in southern Malawi and rises to a height of 3000m. The area is unique and contains many endemic trees, plants, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

The mountain covers an area of 650 km2 which is badly affected by habitat destruction due to tee plantations, illegal harvesting of trees and agriculture. Uncontrolled fire by locals threatens the mountain’s biodiversity. Many similar mountains in Malawi and adjacent Mozambique are totally destroyed. The Mount Mulanje Conservation Trust (MMCT) is actively trying to protect the mountain.

I had the privilege to visit this unique mountain to explore the amphibian and reptile diversity in November 2009. Our main focus was to do a proper survey of the amphibians on the mountain, recording their distribution, breeding calls and the tadpoles. Most of Mnt. Mulanje amphibian larval stages are unrecorded and need some taxonomic revision.

We managed to record two of the three EDGE amphibian species occurring on Mnt. Mulanje, endemic France’s squeaker (Arthroleptis francei EDGE no. 336) and Johnston’s river frog (Amietia johnstoni EDGE no. 356). DNA samples were collected, chytrid swabs were taken, call recordings were taken and tadpoles were collected where possible.

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