Nectophrynoides asperginis (Kihansi spray toad)

Nectophrynoides asperginis the Kihansi spray toad was originally discovered and described in 1998. The Kihansi spray toad is now extinct in the wild.

The Kihansi spray toad lived in the spray wetland of the Kihansi Falls in the Kihansi Gorge in the Udzungwa Mountains of eastern Tanzania

The serious decline and extinction of this species appears related to the construction of a hydroelectric dam in 2000 upstream on the Kihansi River, which cut off 90% of the original water flow to the gorge, thereby hugely reducing the volume of spray, particularly in the dry season.

Species detail

The last population boom was in June 2003 when an estimated 20,000 Kihansi spray toads were reported seen.

Population crash

The toads became extinct in the wild after the population crashed dramatically in 2003 because

  • the sprinkler system failed during the dry season
  • the fungal disease chytridiomycosis was found in Kihansi toads
  • the dam floodgates were opened releasing sediments containing high concentrations of agricultural pesticide (Krajic 2006)

After this there was a rapid decline in numbers

  • August 2003 only 40 toads were found  
  • January 2004 only five. 
  • May 2005 a biologist claimed to have seen one individual.

A captive breeding programme is ongoing in Toledo and New York Bronx Zoos to try and save the Kihansi spray toad.

  • Taxonomy

    Discover more about the morphology of Nectophrynoides asperginis, get a detailed diagnostic description of its features and find out how the head shape helps identify Nectophrynoides species.

  • Kihansi Gorge
    Distribution and habitat

    Discover more about the confined area of Tanzania in which Nectophrynoides asperginis lived and the type of habitat it was typically found in.

  • Nectophrynoides asperginis

    Find out about the size of the male and female Kihansi spray toads and the parental care exhibited by the females.

  • Nectophrynoides asperginis

    Find out about the behaviour of the Kihansi spray toad, including information about diseases that have affected the species, its lack of migration and what it is believed to have fed on.

  •  biosecure laboratory
    Conservation and threats

    Find out the official conservation status of Nectophrynoides asperginis and the factors that contributed to its demise.

  • Nectophrynoides asperginis

    Get reference material for Nectophrynoides asperginis.


Nectophrynoides asperginis

Nectophrynoides asperginis (the Kihansi spray toad) is currently extinct in the wild.

Nectophrynoides asperginis

The Kihansi spray toad lived on the wetland spray zone vegetation surrounding the Kihansi Falls.

© Tim Herman
Nectophrynoides asperginis

Nectophrynoides asperginis has been defined as a small sized toad, at the borderline between the small/miniature size categories.