This species is known only from the Cordillera Cutucú, in Morona-Santiago Province, in southern Ecuador, around 1,975m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is an inhabitant of humid montane forest. There is no specific information on their breeding habits, but these are likely to be similar to other Atelopus species, with breeding and larval development taking place in streams.
Although sampling effort through the species' range is insufficient, it is likely that this species has undergone a population decline (as seen in other montane species of Atelopus). It was last recorded in 1984, and is perhaps no longer present at the type locality.
The most serious risk to this species is chytridiomycosis, which has had a devastating impact on other high-altitude Atelopus species. Agriculture, both crops and livestock, as well as logging and infrastructure development for human settlement are major threats to the species’ habitat.
It is not known to occur in any protected areas. Surveys to confirm the continued existence of this species are needed; given the threat of chytridiomycosis, surviving individuals should be maintained 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 ten years, inferred from the apparent disappearance of most of the population (probably due to chytridiomycosis).; and because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 100 km2 and its Area Of Occupancy is less than 10km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat..
Santiago Ron, Luis A. Coloma, Martín R. Bustamante 2006. Atelopus halihelos. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T54517A11157024. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2006.RLTS.T54517A11157024.en