This species is restricted to the Andes and inter-Andean valleys in northern and central Ecuador from Imbabura south to Chimborazo. Its altitudinal range is 2,200-3,500m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It lives on vegetation inside montane forests and in a variety of habitats ranging from wet montane meadows to dry rocky hillsides, agave plants and corn fields. It is often found close to water sources such as pools, streams and drainage, and irrigation ditches. The eggs are carried in a pouch on the back of the female, and the larvae are deposited in still water or very slow-flowing streams.
It was once a common species, but has undergone declines across much of its range.
Probably much of its past decline relates to extreme habitat loss. Although the species is clearly adaptable, it probably cannot survive when nothing but pastures remain. Pollution and global and local climatic change could be implicated in the observed declines. It is unlikely to be a victim of chytridiomycosis (though this cannot be ruled out, in particular because of its association with streams).
Its geographic range overlaps the Reserva Ecológica Cayambe-Coca, the Reserva Ecológica Antisana, Parque Nacional Cotopaxi, and the Reserva de Producción Faunística Chimborazo.
This genus has recently been moved from the family Hylidae (Faivovich et al. 2005).
Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron, Karl-Heinz Jungfer 2004. Gastrotheca riobambae. In: IUCN 2014