Nectophrynoides asperginis Poynton, Howell, Clarke & Lovett, 1999

Kihansi spray toad



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status

Extinct in the wild.

Last wild record: 2004

IUCN status: Extinct in the Wild


This species has been returned to the wild, but is still dependent on human intervention for their survival and so are still classified as extinct in the wild by REPAD, in accordance with IUCN criteria.



Kihansi Falls, Kihansi Gorge, Udzungwa Mountains, eastern Tanzania



Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Poynton, J.C., Howell, K.M., Clarke, B.T. and Lovett, J.C. (1999). A critically endangered new species of Nectophrynoides (Anura: Bufonidae) from the Kihansi Gorge, Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. African Journal of Herpetology 1999: 59-67.


Other references:

Andreone, Franco et al. (2022). Threatened and extinct amphibians and reptiles in Italian natural history collections are useful conservation tools. Acta Herpetologica 17(1): 45-58. doi:10.36253/a_h-12349

Bal, Philip et al. (2020). A New Ectotherm 3D Tracking and Behavior Analytics System Using a Depth-based Approach with Color Validation, with Preliminary Data on Kihansi Spray Toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis) Activity. Herpetological Review 51(1): 37-46.

CBSG (IUCN/SSC). (2007). Kihansi Spray Toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis) Population and Habitat Viability Assessment: Briefing Book. CBSG, Apple Valley.

Channing, A., Finlow-Bates, K.S., Haarklau, S.E. and Hawkes, P.G. (2006). The biology and recent history of the Critically Endangered Kihansi Spray Toad Nectophrynoides asperginis in Tanzania. Journal of East African Natural History 95(2): 117-138.

Channing, A. and Howell, K.M. 2006. Amphibians of East Africa. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main.

Channing, A., Howell, K., Loader, S., Menegon, M. & Poynton, J. (2009). Nectophrynoides asperginis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. . Downloaded on 16 February 2013.

Channing, A., Menegon, M., Salvidio, S. and Akker, S. 2005. A new forest toad from the Ukaguru Mountains, Tanzania (Bufonidae: Nectophrynoides). African Journal of Herpetology 54: 149-157.

Church, Don. (2011). Kihansi Spray Toad Re-introduction Guidelines. froglog 97: 15.

Dalrymple, S. E., Abeli, T., Ewen, J. G., Gilbert, T. C., Hogg, C. J., Lloyd, N. A., Moehrenschlager, A., Rodríguez, J. P. and Smith, D. (2023). Addressing Threats and Ecosystem Intactness to Enable Action for Extinct in the Wild Species. Diversity 15: 268.

Harding, G., Griffiths, R.A. & Pavajeau, L., (In Press). Developments in amphibian captive breeding and reintroduction programs, Conservation Biology. (Accepted for publication August 2015).

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2015). Nectophrynoides asperginis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T54837A16935685. Accessed on 10 June 2022.

Krajick, K. (2006). The lost world of the Kihansi toad. Science 2006: 1230-1232.

Lee, S., Zippel, K., Ramos, L. and Searle, J. (2006). Captive-breeding programme for the Kihansi spray toad Nectophrynoides asperginis at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York. International Zoo Yearbook 40: 241-253.

Malago, Joshua J. (2019a). Histopathological Diagnosis of Diseases Affecting Amphibians Inhabiting Kihansi Gorge, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Science 45(4): 608-617.

Malago, Joshua J. (2019b). Some Histopathological Findings in Dead Kihansi Spray Toads in Captivity. Tanzania Journal of Science 45(4): 618-628.

Msuya, Charles A. and Mohamed, Nassoro. (2019). Reintroduction of the Kihansi Spray Toad Nectophrynoides asperginis Back to its Natural Habitat by Using Acclimatizing Cages. Tanzania Journal of Science 45(4): 570-583.

Nahonyo, Cuthbert L. (2019). Research Work and Conservation Initiatives in the Kihansi Catchment Ecosystem, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Science 45(4): 539-542.

Nahonyo, Cuthbert L., Goboro, Ezekiel M., Ngalason, Wilirk, Mutagwaba, Severinus, Ugomba, Richard S., Nassoro, Mohammed and Nkombe, Emmanuel S. (2017). Conservation efforts of Kihansi spray toad Nectophrynoides asperginis: its discovery, captive breeding, extinction in the wild and re-introduction. Tanz. J. Sci. 43(1): 23-35.

Ngalason, Wilirk et al. (2019). The Dynamics of Re-introduced Kihansi Spray Toad Nectophrynoides asperginis and other Amphibians in Kihansi Gorge, Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Science 45(4): 584-598.

Poynton, J. C. (1998). Tanzanian bufonid diversity: preliminary findings. Herpetological Journal 8: 3-6.

Poynton, J. C. (2003). Altitudinal species turnover in southern Tanzania shown by anurans: some zoogeographical considerations. Systematics and Biodiversity 1: 117-126.

Poynton, J. C., Howell, K.M., Clarke, B.T. and Lovett, J.C. (1998). A critically endangered new species of Nectophrynoides (Anura: Bufonidae) from the Kihansi Gorge, Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. African Journal of Herpetology [1998]: 59-67.

Quinn, C.H., Ndangalasi, H.J., Gerstle, J. and Lovett, J.C. (2005). Effect of the Lower Kihansi Hydropower Project and post-project mitigation measures on wetland vegetation in Kihansi Gorge, Tanzania. Biodiversity and Conservation 2005: 297-308.

Regalado, Pedro Galán. (2015). Los Anfibios y Reptiles Extinguidos: Herpetofauna Desaparecida Desde el Año 1500. Monografías de la Universidade da Coruña 155: 1-509.

Rija, A. A., Goboro, E. M., Mwamende, K. A., Said, A., Kohi, E. M. and Hassan, S. N. (2014). Activity patterns and fine-scale resource partitioning in the gregarious Kihansi spray toad Nectophrynoides asperginis in captivity. Zoo Biol. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21163 [Abstract]

Shuter, Avishai D., Parsons, Michael H. and Sarno, Ronald J. (2016). Association of Male Inguinal Patch Size with Mate Assortment in the Kihansi Spray Toad, Nectophrynoides asperginis. Journal of Herpetology 50(2): 222-226..

Sigala, Atuhombye et al. (2021). Land Use Land Cover Changes and its Implication on the conservation of Re-introduced Kihansi Spay Toads (Nectophrynoides asperginis) in Kihansi Gorge-Tanzania. ResearchSquare preprint.

Smith, Donal et al. (2023). Extinct in the wild: The precarious state of Earth’s most threatened group of species. Science 379(6634): eadd2889.

Vigdis Vandvik, Inger E. Måren, Henry J. Ndangalasi, James Taplin, Frank Mbago, and Jon C. Lovett. (2014). Back to Africa: monitoring post-hydropower restoration to facilitate reintroduction of an extinct-in-the-wild amphibian. Ecosphere 5(8): art95. [Abstract]

Video of them in captivity: