This species occurs discontinuously in Mexico from northeastern Puebla state and south-central Veracruz state, and from south-central Guerrero state (new records since last assessment) to north and south-central Oaxaca state (Frías-Alvarez et al. 2008, Urbina-Cardona and Loyola, 2008, Garcia-Vazquez et al. 2009, Townsend 2011, Caviedes-Solis et al. 2015, Mata-Silva et al. 2015). In occurs also in northwestern Honduras and central Belize, and from central-western El Salvador (McCranie 2006, Herrera and Henriquez 2009). In Guatemala it is known from north, central and southern areas (Urbina-Cardona and Loyola 2008). Its elevation range is 200–2,130 m asl and it is thought that this species may occur in other localities near its known distribution (J.L. Aguilar-López and E. Pineda pers. comm. 2014). The extent of occurrence (EOO) of its current known range is 528,014 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
This species lives in lowland to montane moist forests on mountain slopes. It occurs in both pristine and disturbed habitats, but it seems to be more abundant in shaded coffee plantations than in natural areas (Lawson 2009). Tadpoles of this species have been even found in polluted waters close to residential buildings in Guatemala city (M. Acevedo pers. comm. 2016) and in ponds surrounded by crop fields (L. Wilson pers. comm. 2016). This nocturnal species is considered to be an explosive breeder, eggs are laid on leaves and rocks above waterbodies where later the tadpoles fall down into (Burger 2012). Breeding takes place in small intermittent or permanent waterbodies (Briggs 2008).
This species was previously considered to be locally abundant in some locations in Chiapas, Mexico, and in El Salvador and Guatemala. However, surveys prior to 2004 in Mexico, in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas, did not detect the species and considered it to be locally extinct. This was until surveys in Mexico recorded this species in historical and new localities in the states of Puebla, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Veracruz and Chiapas, with variable population abundances, and even in high abundances in some localities in the state of Chiapas (Frias-Alvarez et al. 2008, Garcia-Vazquez et al. 2009, Caviedes-Solis et al. 2015) and in Guatemala (M. Acevedo pers. comm. 2016). Recently, a breeding site with abundant population (> 50 individuals) has been found in the newly established Yal Unin Yul Witz Amphibian Reserve in Guatemala (C. Vasquez pers. comm. 2016). In El Salvador it is considered a common species and its population is stable (Herrera and Henriquez 2009), while in Honduras it seems to be less common (C. Vasquez pers. comm. August 2016).
The main threat to this species is represented by habitat destruction and disturbance, due to the establishment of small-holder and big scale agriculture areas, livestock farming and urban development. The illegal pet trade in this species is also a threat.
Chytridiomycosis is probably a cause for the past decline of some populations of this species (Lips et al. 2006) and it could still represent a threat to the species, so the infection should be monitored carefully (G. Santos-Barrera pers. comm. 2016). However, an analysis carried out in 2009 at Yal Unin Yul Witz Nature Reserve in Guatemala found the two individuals tested not infected with chytrid (C. Vasquez pers. comm. 2016) and there is no thorough research on chytrid effects on this species throughout its range.
This species occurs in a number of protected areas throughout its range. A captive-breeding programme has been established at Chester Zoo, UK, in 2008. It is listed on CITES Appendix II. Research on this species' distribution and chytrid infection is ongoing in Mexico (C. Vasquez pers. comm. 2016).
Studies on its population size, distribution and trends, and threats, in particular to determine whether or not the reason for the apparent decline is due to chytridiomycosis, are needed. Monitoring of trade trends would be also needed.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
This species was listed as Critically Endangered in 2004 assessment because of a predicted future decline of its population, which cannot be demonstrated based on current available information. Therefore, in view of its large range and presumably large—and in some places recovering—population, it is now listed as Least Concern. However, although it seems to be quite resilient to habitat disturbance and degradation, the threats to this species might led to a future deterioration of its population status so monitoring is necessary.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Agalychnis moreletii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T55293A53951672. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T55293A53951672.en .Downloaded on 19 February 2019