Centrolene mariaelenae is known from seven localities along the slopes of Cordillera Oriental, provinces of Napo, Orellana, Morona-Santiago and Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid, 2006, 2007; Cisneros-Heredia and Guayasamin, 2006). The species can be found between 1400 and 1820 masl (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid, 2007).
Habitat and Ecology
All individuals with natural history information were active at night, on leaves up to 5 m above water of small streams in primary or old secondary-growth Low Montane Evergreen Forest. Other centrolenid frogs in sympatry with this species
are Cochranella cochranae and an undescribed species of Centrolene (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid, 2006). The species may use temporary (seasonal) sources of running water during the reproductive period. During the non-reproductive period the species appears to inhabit the forest canopy (D.F. Cisneros-Heredia, pers. comm. 2008).
The species is rare at all known localities, where usually just one or two specimens have been collected despite significant collection efforts (D.F. Cisneros-Heredia, pers. comm. 2008).
Habitat destruction (deforestation) and water pollution (D.F. Cisneros-Heredia, pers. comm. 2008). Predictions suggest that, in Ecuador, almost half of the habitats suitable for this species have been deforested (Cisneros-Heredia, 2008).
This species is found within Podocarpus National Park and Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid, 2006).
Centrolene mariaelenae is diagnosed from other similar species by a combination of morphological features and colour patterns (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid, 2006).
Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia 2010. Centrolene mariaelenae. In: IUCN 2013