This species was previously only known from the type locality and adjacent areas including the Tarapoto-Yurimaguas road (San Martín Department). It is now also known from the southern Cordillera Escalera National Park nearby Tarapoto including the Cainarachi Valley, in the region of San Martín, Peru (J. Brown pers. comm. April 2017). It occurs between 215–1,051 m asl (J. Brown pers. comm. August 2017), however it is more common in the Huallaga canyon between elevations of 250–750 m asl (Twomey and Brown 2009). It likely occurs between known localities, although surveys are required (J. Brown pers. comm. April 2017). Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 2,592 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
This terrestrial, diurnal frog inhabits lowland tropical moist forest and "rolling hills", and can be found in primary and possibly slightly degraded habitats. It only occurs near small brooks or streams within primary and older secondary forest. At night they have been observed perching on leaves up to 50 cm above the ground (Schulte 1989). Tadpoles are deposited in slow-moving streams (Twomey and Brown 2009) and have been observed in brooks with very little water (Schulte 1989).
Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, as well as harvesting for the pet trade, the population is suspected to be decreasing. During 2004–2007 surveys, approximately 50 individuals were detected over more than 300 person days, in the San Martín Region (von May et al. 2008).
The major threat is the loss of forest habitat through agriculture (coffee, palm oil and rice), livestock production, and subsistence wood collection (Catenazzi and von May 2014). Much of its habitat is near human settlements, and ongoing deforestation could have a strong negative impact on this species (Twomey and Brown 2009). It is also under threat due to illegal collecting for the pet trade.
The species occurs within the Cordillera Escalera Regional Conservation Area and the buffer zone of Cordillera Azul National Park. It is included in Appendix II of CITES, in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with the species' survival. 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.
Improved habitat protection is required at sites where this species is known to occur.
Further research is needed into the distribution, population status, ecology and threats affecting this species, especially with regards to the impact of illegal trade. There is a need for population monitoring of the status of this species given the threats of habitat loss and harvesting.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 2,592 km2, it occurs in fewer than five threat-defined locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Ameerega cainarachi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T55219A89201830. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T55219A89201830.en