This species is known only from a single site four kilometers north of Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica (Savage and Bolaños 2008). Its elevational range is 3,400-3,500 m asl. Surveys in this area suggest that this species would be endemic to Cerro Chirripó (F. Bolaños pers. comm. August 2010).
Habitat and Ecology
It occurs in high altitude grassland and shrubland qualified as Tropical Subalpine Pluvial Paramo life zone (Savage and Bolaños 2008). The only known individual was found among a series of small shallow ponds that desiccate seasonally (Savage and Bolaños 2008). Although there is no information on its reproductive biology, it is presumed to breed by larval development in temporary ponds.
A single individual was collected in March 1980 from a breeding aggregation. The species has not been seen since, despite numerous searches in the area where it was originally found (Savage and Bolaños 2008).
The habitat of the species is not threatened because it is located in a remote, well-protected national park (Savage and Bolaños 2008). While there is no record of chytrid fungus for this species or for this specific site, Cerro Chirripó is within the Cordillera de Talamanca, where chytrid fungus has been found (B. Young pers. comm. March 2013). Given the fact that the species has not been seen since its initial discovery despite multiple surveys, chytrid fungus is a suspected threat factor.
Its entire known range is protected within Chirripó National Park, which is a well protected area, and adjacent highland areas are preserved in other national parks, so habitat is well conserved across this region. Surveys are urgently needed to determine if this species is still extant and any threats investigated.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered because it is known from a single individual, collected in 1980, and despite several subsequent surveys to the region of the type locality no more individuals have been found, suggesting that if the species is still extant it is likely to have fewer than 50 mature individuals.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & NatureServe 2013. Atelopus chirripoensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T186064A1809697. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T186064A1809697.en