The Volta-Togo highlands in the Guinean Forests of West Africa biodiversity hotspot harbor more amphibian species than previously thought, according to the results of a new CEPF-funded herpetological survey. However, the survey failed to find previously recorded species and recommends urgent action to protect remaining forest fragments and avoid extinctions.
The survey, by Mark-Oliver Rödel of the University of Würzburg in Germany and Alex Cudjoe Agyei of the Wildlife Division in Accra, Ghana, focused on three study sites in the humid, semi-deciduous and dense deciduous forests in the Volta region of eastern Ghana.
The survey team recorded 34 amphibian species, including two that may be newly discovered and others that may be first recordings for this area. DNA analyses are underway. Based on sampling and statistical and comparative extrapolation, the team estimates the area is home to about 46 amphibian species.
Nonetheless, two forest toads—Bufo togoensis and Werneria preussi—reported in older literature to exist in the region could not be found. Despite extensive searches along fast-flowing creeks and rivers in the three sites, the surveyors also failed to find Conraua derooi, Petropedetes natator and other frog species highly adapted to this type of habitat.
In a report on their survey, the team calls for urgent protection of the remaining forest tracts in the region and efforts to link or buffer small forest remnants to avoid extinctions of forest species.
In addition, they recommend an urgent examination of whether aquatic frog species are generally declining in eastern Ghana and investigations of amphibian diversity in other forests and water catchment areas in western and central Ghana.