Tailed frogs are the only frogs in Canada to breed in mountain streams. As a result, they possess a unique set of morphological characteristics, including a ventrally flattened body, a vertical pupil, hardened clawlike toes on their forefeet, and long hind legs with large, powerful hind feet. Males possess a tail-like cloaca used for internal fertilization. Tailed frogs belong to the family Ascaphidae of which there are two members: the Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) in the Coast and Cascade Mountains, and the Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog (Ascaphus montanus) in the east Kootenays.
The Coastal Tailed Frog is federally listed as Special Concern on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act based on a recommendation by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. It is listed because its extreme habitat specialization makes it potentially vulnerable to habitat changes arising from human activities and other threats such as climate change. In British Columbia, the Coastal Tailed Frog is Blue-listed and ranked as priority 1 by the B.C. Conservation Framework under goal 2 (preventing species and ecosystems from becoming at risk) and priority 2 under goal 3 (maintaining the diversity of native species and ecosystems). The Coastal Tailed Frog is provincially protected from capture and killing under the Wildlife Act. It has also been identified as a species requiring special habitat management attention to address the impacts of forest and range activities under the Forest and Range Practices Act and/or the impacts of oil and gas activities under the Oil and Gas Activities Act on Crown land (as described in the Identified Wildlife Management Strategy).
Much of the Coastal Tailed Frog?s range lies within areas that are subject to forestry activities. As such, the primary threats to the species are a result of site- and watershed-level habitat changes related to logging and associated activities such as road building. Aquatic degradation is mainly linked with sediment delivery at road crossings, sedimentation from bank failures and landslides, and clogging by excesses of wood as a function of cross-stream yarding. Terrestrial degradation is a function of riparian forest loss, the conversion of old forests to younger seral stages, and isolation from landscape fragmentation, which can disrupt movement, dispersal, and population connectivity. Road networks and wide-scale loss of trees can also alter the hydrological regime of streams, accentuating peak and base flows, which are conditions likely to be exacerbated by climate change. High peak flows may increase the probability of tadpole mortality from channel bedload events. Lower base flows can lead to channel impermanence and the shrinking of habitats particularly in headwater areas.
The recent development of small run-of-river hydroelectric facilities presents a secondary, more localized threat. Effects are largely unknown but may include aquatic habitat loss in diversion reaches; detrimental temperatures; sedimentation in streams with a relatively low transport potential; riparian habitat loss; disruption of aquatic and terrestrial connectivity within a watershed (genetic isolation); and direct mortality from impingement, entrainment, stranding, flushing, and collision below weirs. Effects likely vary with watershed and stream characteristics, as well as with project construction and operation designs. Future research is needed to understand the interaction between these
Management Plan for the Coastal Tailed Frog December 2015
factors, the magnitude of the threat, and the effectiveness of existing mitigation measures for Coastal Tailed Frogs.....
B.C. Ministry of Environment. 2015. Management Plan for the Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) in British Columbia. Province of B.C. - B.C. Ministry of Environment. Management Plan (Species at Risk)
Topic: Recovery Planning
Scientific Name: Ascaphus truei
English Name: Coastal Tailed Frog
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