This species is known from two localities (La Costa and El Tambito) in Cauca Department and one (now extirpated) in Yotoco in Valle del Cauca Department on the Cordillera Occidental of the Andes (Mora et al. 2012), in Colombia, between 1,300–1,580 m asl. The EOO of the Cauca part of the species' range where it may still persist in a single threat-defined location is 25 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
It is a terrestrial species found in montane forest, which has not been recorded outside forest. Although there is limited ecological information, it is expected to breed in streams by larval development, as with other congeners.
This species is known from only a few specimens and, despite survey work, has not been recorded since 2005 (at Yotoco). It is considered to be locally extinct in Yotoco Forest in Anuros National Forest Reserve (Valle del Cauca), although further sampling efforts are required to determine this (Mora et al. 2012). At El Tambito, the last record is from 1994 (Ruiz-Carranza et al. 1995). An exhaustive search there in 2000 was unsuccessful at documenting the presence of the species (J. Guerrero-Vargas, unpubl. data). Due to civil unrest, this area has been inaccessible since 2004. Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, any remaining population is suspected to be decreasing.
The threats in Cauca are habitat loss and degradation due to agriculture (illicit crops and fumigation to eliminate them). The threats in Yotoco are the drying out of the stream where the species occurred. A major highway was built nearby, which had the effect of changing soil characteristics such that the water now drains below ground rather than in the stream. The 2004 assessment reported that chytridiomycosis was probably the major threat, causing a catastrophic population decline. While there is currently no direct information confirming that chytrid has caused declines in this species, this is consistent with the pattern of decline in many other montane Atelopus species, and it is therefore reasonable to infer that the disease might be the cause of declines in this species (Colombia Red List Assessment Workshop August 2016).
The two localities are on the border of Munchique National Park, where it has been recorded from the private protected area of the El Tambito Proselva Foundation. This reserve was taken over by a guerilla group in 2004 and no longer provides any protection.
Given the threat of chytridiomycosis, any surviving individuals might need to be maintained in captivity.
Further survey work is required to determine the current population status of this species in the wild.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 10 km2, it occurs in one threat-defined location, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat.
This species was previously confused with Atelopus longirostris and Atelopus lynchi, according to Rivero and Morales (1995).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Atelopus famelicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T54509A49535512. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T54509A49535512.en