This species is known from the following geographical localities between 3,350-3,750 m asl: Valle de Tojoloque, Franz Tamayo Province, La Paz department, western Bolivia (De la Riva et al. 2005); at least four streams on the north slope of Abra Acjanaco pass, 27 km north-north-east (by road) of Paucartambo, in Cusco (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2014); Manu National Park's Qurqurpampa station, Cusco; and Lorohuachana, Santuario Nacional Megantoni, province of La Convención, also in Cusco, southeast Peru [R. Gutiérrez pers. comm. on iNaturalist observation http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/219132 (Accessed: September 9, 2013); R. Gutiérrez pers. comm. October 2013]. Observations by a park ranger of a Telmatobius species at Nuevo Oriente (approximately 50 km NNW of Acjanaco, Cusco, and close to Megantoni, not mapped) could also pertain to this species (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2014). The Bolivian and closest Peruvian localities are some 340 km apart in a straight line. Each of the areas where the species has been observed is considered to be an individual threat-defined location, for a total of five threat-defined locations, and the calculated extent of occurrence (EOO) based on a minimum convex polygon is 8,680 km
Habitat and Ecology
It is known from humid puna, elfin forest and scrubland edges (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. January 2011), and has also been reported from Polylepis forests [R. Gutiérrez pers. comm. on iNaturalist observation http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/219132 (Accessed: September 9, 2013)]. At Acjanaco it also occurs in the upper limits of cloud forest. Individuals have been found at night in a small pool, 50 cm deep, on rocks in a stream, and in puna on rocks, in crevices, on the ground, and in moss adjacent to streams. Reproduction is by larval development in streams.
This appears to have been a common species in Peru in the 1990s, but more recent observations suggest that it has experienced a drastic population decline in this country. Rangers of Manu National Park frequently found Telmatobius frogs (likely T. timens) at a small spring near the Qurqurpampa station before June 2008 (3,540 m asl, 35 km NNW of Acjanaco), after which the species appears to have suddenly declined (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2014). Further to these observations, Abra Acjanaco was surveyed from 1996 to 2014 (Catenazzi et al. 2011, A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2014). While the initial surveys conducted at Acjanaco were not designed to survey for Telmatobius frogs (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2014), they provide useful information on this frog's presence. Here tadpoles of this species were observed daily in 1996 and 1998 (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2014). In 1996 four individuals were found over the course of 12 person/day surveys; in 1998, two individuals were found during 18 person/day surveys, and in 2007 and 2008 no individuals were recorded over 25 and 28 person/day surveys, respectively (von May et al. 2008). In addition, further intensive and targeted surveys conducted between 2009-2010 and 2012-2014 have not shed any new records, either as tadpoles or adults (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2014). However, additional and independent surveys were conducted in 2007 and 2008 in Santuario Nacional Megantoni and the area of Manu National Park adjacent to Megantoni (R. Gutiérrez pers. comm. October 2013). Of these surveys, a total of four adults were found in 2007 in ca 400 m of a stream over four person hours. That same year, volunteers at Megantoni found close to 12 individuals at this same site and the Tambo Inca sector of Manu National Park, close to the border with Megantoni. In June 2008, ten 200-metre transects in the hill streams of
Intense livestock farming, pasture burning and livestock-driven water pollution have been observed in the border area between Megantoni and Manu (R. Gutiérrez pers. comm. October 2013). Pasture burning and habitat disturbance impact stream riverbeds and increase erosion in certain areas, affecting the formation of breeding pools (R. Gutiérrez pers. comm. October 2013). In addition, chytridiomycosis has been associated with Telmatobius population declines in Ecuador, and has been detected in T. marmoratus near Cusco in Peru (Seimon et al. 2005), as well as the area where this species occurs (Catenazzi et al. 2011). Chytridiomycosis is therefore considered a severe plausible threat to this species.
This species is known from the Área Natural de Manejo Integrado Nacional Apolobamba in Bolivia, from upper Manu National Park (von May et al. 2008) and from Santuario Nacional Megantoni [R. Gutiérrez pers. comm. on iNaturalist observation http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/219132 (Accessed: September 9, 2013), R. Gutierrez pers. comm. October 2013] in Peru. Given declines in Peru, surveys are urgently needed to monitor the remaining subpopulations in Peru and to locate the species in Bolivia. Further research is also required to determine the ecology and threats affecting this species, particularly with regards to chytrid fungus, and taxonomic research into the identity of the Peruvian subpopulations is also needed.
The biological identities of some of the Peruvian subpopulations need to be clarified (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. February 2014). Until such time, all subpopulations currently allocated to Telmatobius timens are encompassed in this assessment.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2014. Telmatobius timens. In: IUCN 2014