This species is known from the piedmont of the Cordillera Oriental of southeastern Peru in the Departments of Cusco, Madre de Dios and Puno. It has an altitudinal range of 400–1,080 m Asl and its EOO is 21,482 km2. Although it has not yet been found in Bolivia, its range likely extends into Madidi National Park.
Habitat and Ecology
This species occurs in lowland tropical rainforest. Individuals have been found on mossy areas along river banks or perching on a vegetation near the water during at night. Although there is limited ecological information, it is expected to breed in fast flowing streams by larval development, as with other congeners.
This does not appear to be a commonly encountered species, but it can be locally abundant. In 300 m of creek, with an effort of 12 person hours, 20 individuals were found (G. Chavez pers. comm. April 2017); this is a good result for an Atelopus species. Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
This species is mainly threatened by habitat loss from gold mining, illegal logging, and the construction of new roads. Gold mining has already destroyed streams around the type locality rendering them unusable (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. April 2017). Chytridiomycosis is likely to have been a threat to individuals occurring above 1,000 m Asl and any declines will have taken place in the 1990s, but individuals in the lowlands are not significantly exposed to the threat of infection by this disease (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. April 2017).
One locality, Pozo Samanio, is situated between two protected areas, the Reserva Comunal Machiguenga and the Santuario Nacional Megantoni. Another locality, Chinguriato Alto, lies within the Santuario Nacional Megantoni. The species may also be present within Manu National Park, Reserva Nacional Tambopata, Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri, Bahuaja Sonene National Park in Peru, and Madidi National Park in Bolivia.
More information is needed about this species' distribution, population status, natural history and threats. There is a need for close monitoring of the status of this species given the potential threat of chytridiomycosis.
Red List Status
Near Threatened (NT)
Listed as Near Threatened because, despite it being fairly widespread and the range including several protected areas, the extent of occurrence (EOO) approaches the threshold for the Vulnerable category under B1, there is continuing decline in area, extent and quality, and it occurs in less than 10 locations, making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Atelopus loettersi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T21567301A21567304. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T21567301A21567304.en