This species is found in the Cordillera Oriental in southern Ecuador, Azuay and Cañar Provinces, between 2,500 and 2,800 m asl, where it has been recorded from at least 15 localities. There was one record from Parque Nacional Sangay. The specimens from the Departamento Piura, Peru, which referred to this species, are in fact specimens of an undescribed species (Coloma et al. 2000).
Habitat and Ecology
It lives in humid montane forest, sub-páramo, and páramo (Lötters 1996). Breeding takes place in streams.
One individual was seen in 2002 in the Parque Nacional Sangay (D. Almeida pers. comm.), but otherwise this formerly abundant species has disappeared from its range.
The major threat is likely to be chytridiomycosis, leading to a catastrophic population decline, as has occurred in many other montane species of Atelopus. Dead and dying animals infected with the chytrid fungal pathogen have been collected in Ecuador (Ron et al. 2003), and it was the first species (in 1980) in Central or South America confirmed to have chytridiomycosis. It tolerates some habitat destruction, and can be found near streams in artificial grasslands. Introduced predators such as trout might threaten the species.
The species has been recorded from Parque Nacional Sangay, which is a World Heritage Site. The population status of this species urgently needs to be assessed; given the threat of chytridiomycosis, successful conservation measures will probably need to include the maintenance of any surviving individuals in captivity.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered because of a drastic population decline, estimated to be more than 80% over the last three generations, inferred from the apparent disappearance of most of the population, probably due to chytridiomycosis.
Coloma, L.A., Ron, S.R., Lötters, S., Bustamante, M.R., Merino-Viteri, A. & Salas, A. 2004. Atelopus bomolochos. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T54492A86102228. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T54492A11142176.en