© 2009 Endangered Species International (1 of 1)
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia, Ecuador
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
The genus Atelopus, found in Central and South America, has experienced dramatic declines due to amphibian chytrid fungus. Of 113 described and putative species, at least 30 species appear to be extinct, having been missing from all known localities for at least 8 years (La Marca et al. 2005). Only 52 of the surviving species have sufficient data with which to evaluate population trends; of these, 81% (42 of 52) have population sizes that have been reduced by at least half (La Marca et al. 2005). Only 10 of the 52 species appear to have stable populations (La Marca et al. 2005). Higher-elevation species (those living at least 1000 m a.s.l.) have been hit the worst, with 75% (21 of 28) having disappeared entirely (La Marca et al. 2005).
Most Atelopus species are restricted to very limited areas (no more than two localities) and occur along mid- to high-elevation streams (1500-3000 m a.s.l., though the maximum vertical range is from sea level to permanent snow; Lötters 2007), a habitat preference frequently associated with the co-occurrence of chytridiomycosis (La Marca et al. 2005). Habitat loss has occurred within the ranges of many Atelopus species, but does not appear to be a major factor in the decline of most Atelopus species; 22 species declined despite occurring in protected areas (La Marca et al. 2005). Many Atelopus species are local endemics, putting them at particular risk of extinction, with at least 26 species known only from a single population inhabiting a narrow altitudinal range (La Marca et al. 2005).
Bustamante, M. R., Bolívar, W., Coloma, L. A., Ron, S., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Castro, F., Rueda, J. V., Lötters, S., and Acosta-Galvis, A. (2004). Atelopus longirostris. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 24 March 2009.
Cannatella, D.C. (1981). ''A new Atelopus from Ecuador and Colombia.'' Journal of Herpetology, 15(2), 133-138.
Cope, E. D. (1868). ''An examination of the Reptilia and Batrachia obtained by the Orton expedition to Equador and the upper Amazon, with notes on other species.'' Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 20, 96-140.
Lötters, S. (1996). The Neotropical Toad Genus Atelopus. Checklist - Biology - Distribution. M. Vences and F. Glaw Verlags GbR, Köln.
Peters, J. A. (1973). ''The frog genus Atelopus in Ecuador (Anura: Bufonidae).'' Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 145, 1-49.
Stuart, S., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J., Cox, N., Berridge, R., Ramani, P., and Young, B. (eds) (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, IUCN, and Conservation International, Barcelona, Spain; Gland, Switzerland; and Arlington, Virginia, USA.
Written by Krystal Gong (mskgong AT sfsu.edu), San Francisco State University
First submitted 2009-03-03
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2009-07-26)
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