This species occurs in the inter-Andean páramos of southern Colombia (in Nariño and Cauca Departments) and northern Ecuador (south to Cotapaxi Province), and on the eastern slopes of the Andes from southern Colombia south to the headwaters of the Río Pastaza in Ecuador. Its altitudinal range is 1,590-2,970m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
An inhabitant of both dry and humid montane forests. It is a terrestrial species, and breeding takes place in streams. It can be found in secondary growth near streams, but not in open areas.
It has disappeared from sites where it used to be abundant in Ecuador, but is still common at Cosanga in Napo Province. It remains common in Colombia.
The major threat to this species is habitat loss as a result of agricultural development (including 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, are additional threats. There is heavy deforestation as a result of wood extraction at Cosanga, where the species survives in Ecuador. The cause of declines observed in Ecuador is not clear, but could be due to habitat loss, climate change, and/or chytridiomycosis.
In Ecuador, its geographic range overlaps with the Parque Nacional Sumaco Napo-Galeras, Reserva Ecológica Antisana, Parque Nacional Llanganates, and the Reserva Ecológica Cayambe-Coca. It occurs in several protected areas in Colombia. The species requires close population monitoring, especially in view of the potential risk of chytridiomycosis.
The populations from the Carchi basin might represent a distinct species (Coloma 1995).
Wilmar Bolívar, Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron 2004. Hyloxalus pulchellus. In: IUCN 2014