This species is found in the Cordillera Oriental in southern Ecuador, Azuay and Cañar Provinces, between 2,500 and 2,800m asl, where it has been recorded from at least 15 localities. There was one record from Parque Nacional Sangay. The specimens from the Departamento Piura, Peru, which referred to this species, are in fact specimens of an undescribed species (Coloma, Lötters and Salas 2000).
Habitat and Ecology
It lives in humid montane forest, sub-páramo, and páramo (Lötters 1996). Breeding takes place in streams.
One individual was seen in 2002 in the Parque Nacional Sangay (D. Almeida pers. comm.), but otherwise this formerly abundant species has disappeared from its range.
The major threat is likely to be chytridiomycosis, leading to a catastrophic population decline, as has occurred in many other montane species of Atelopus. Dead and dying animals infected with the chytrid fungal pathogen have been collected in Ecuador (Ron et al. 2003), and it was the first species (in 1980) in Central or South America confirmed to have chytridiomycosis. It tolerates some habitat destruction, and can be found near streams in artificial grasslands. Introduced predators such as trout might threaten the species.
The species has been recorded from Parque Nacional Sangay, which is a World Heritage Site. The population status of this species urgently needs to be assessed; given the threat of chytridiomycosis, successful conservation measures will probably need to include the maintenance of any surviving individuals in captivity.
Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron, Stefan Lötters, Martín R. Bustamante, Andrés Merino-Viteri, Antonio Salas 2004. Atelopus bomolochos. In: IUCN 2014