This species occurs in the Amazon drainage of Peru, from the eastern foothills of the Andes east to the Río Huallaga, in Huánuco and San Martín Regions. It is most common between 500–1,100 m asl, though individuals have been found as high as 1,262 m asl and as low as 180 m asl. It is likely restricted to mountain ranges throughout the Cordillera Oriental near Tarapoto and central Huallaga river valley (Twomey and Brown 2016). It occurs in fewer than 10 threat-defined locations and its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 17,938 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
This diurnal species prefers to live alongside small streams and creeks in lowland and montane tropical moist forest. It has also commonly been observed up to 300 m from streams (Brown and Twomey 2009) and can be found in both primary and slightly degraded habitats. At lower elevations, these frogs occur exclusively in association with cool, humid microhabitats nearby small streams at the base of mountains, whereas at higher elevations, they appear to be less habitat-specific and can be found throughout the forest (Twomey et al. 2008). Eggs are deposited on the ground in leaf litter, where they are attended to by males. Upon hatching, the male transports the larvae to lentic water bodies, such as roadside ditches, forest pools, or pools formed alongside small streams (Twomey et al. 2008). Tadpoles are typically deposited in small ditches or backwaters near streams, but rarely in flowing water (Twomey and Brown 2016).
The population status of this species in the wild varies between morphs. Some, such as the nominal morph, can be found in great numbers over 600 m asl, while the chrome green morph is has very little habitat remaining and is less common (Twomey and Brown 2016). During 2004-2007 surveys, more than 100 individuals were observed over ca 300 person-days (von May et al. 2008). Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
There is significant habitat loss within its range due to agricultural activities (mostly coffee plantations). Since 2008, there has been an increase in commercial large scale agriculture activities (palm plantations) throughout San Martín (J. Brown pers. comm. April 2017). Much of the suitable habitat has been converted to cattle pastures (Twomey and Brown 2016).
The species occurs within the boundaries of Parque Nacional Cordillera Azul, Parque Nacional Cordillera Esclera and possibly the Bosque de Protección Alto Mayo. It is listed as Near Threatened (NT) in Peru and has legal protection provided by the Categorization in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (Decreto Supremo Nº004-2014-MINAGRI), which bans all hunting, capture, possession, transport or export of the species for commercial purposes. It is included in Appendix II of CITES, in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with the species' survival.