This species occurs on the Amazonian slopes of the Andes in Ecuador (at four locations in Napo Province: near Santa Rosa, Río Azuela, Río Salado, and Guacamayos), and also from the Amazonian slopes of the Cordillera Oriental, in Putumayo Department, Colombia. It has been recorded at 1,300-1,750m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits mature, closed cloud forest, where it has been found on the leaves and stems of bushes and trees overhanging streams. It does not occur in degraded areas. It breeds in streams, with the eggs laid on leaves overhanging the water.
It was most recently seen in Ecuador in 2000, and it appears to be very rare, having apparently disappeared from Río Azuela. There is no recent information from Colombia.
The major threats include: deforestation for agricultural development, the planting of illegal crops, logging, and human settlement; introduction of alien predatory fish in streams; and pollution resulting from the spraying of illegal crops. Like some other centrolenids, this species might also be affected by the movement of the cloud layer up the mountain slopes as a result of climate change, resulting in reduced humidity within the altitudinal range of the species (probably exacerbated by habitat fragmentation). Chytridiomycosis may present a possible future threat.
It has not been found in any protected areas, and protection of the cloud forest habitat of this species is urgently needed. Survey work is necessary to ascertain the current population status of this species; given the nature of some of the threats, an ex situ population may need to be established.
Wilmar Bolívar, Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron, Ana Almendáriz, Taran Grant 2004. Nymphargus megacheirus. In: IUCN 2014