This species is known only from the type locality, La Ciénaga (about 27° 30'S; 67° 00'W), close to the town of Medanitos (27° 32'S; 67° 36'W), in Catamarca Province in north-western Argentina. It might range more widely and further surveys are needed in the surrounding areas. It was collected at 3,300m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It is wholly aquatic, occurring in high mountain streams surrounded by montane grasslands. Breeding takes place in the streams.
It is a rare species, which has not been surveyed for since it was discovered.
The threats to it are unknown. Potential threats in the general area include the introduction of predatory fishes (trout), water pollution through mining activities, destruction of high mountain bogs (from which the streams originate) by cattle, and the alteration of watersheds. Telmatobius species living at high altitudes might be particularly prone to becoming infected with chytridiomycosis, so this is a potential future threat for this species.
It is not present in any protected areas; there are no conservation measures in place for this species.
Esteban Lavilla 2004. Telmatobius pinguiculus. In: IUCN 2013