This species is only known from its type locality at Alto de Caicedo, in Antioquia Department, Colombia, between 1,800–2,670 m asl. Although it may occur in areas near the type locality. The extent of occurrence (EOO) of its approximate range map is 90 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
This species occurs along forested streams in sub-Andean and Andean forests. It is restricted to forest habitats requiring canopy cover over the stream to maintain suitable conditions. Breeding and larval development take place in streams.
It was common when last collected. Recent surveys at the type locality and nearby areas have not recorded the species (C. Marin pers. comm. August 2016). The last record in museum specimens for this species is from 1988 (Instituto de Ciencias Naturales). It is reasonable to infer, therefore, that the population size may now have fewer than 50 individuals and that, due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of the habitat, the remaining population is decreasing.
The main threats to the species are agriculture (particularly fruit tree orchards) and pollution from mining activities. The 2004 assessment reported that chytridiomycosis was probably the major threat, leading to a catastrophic population decline. While there is currently no direct information confirming that chytrid has caused declines in this species, the lack of records since 1988 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).
This species has not been recorded in any protected areas, but the known range of the species is close to Orquideas National Park.
Habitat protection is required to ensure any population remnants can survive and possibly recover. In view of the threat of chytridiomycosis, ex situ populations might need to be established should any further individuals be located in the wild.
Further survey work is needed to determine the population status of this species, and to establish whether or not it occurs outside the vicinity of the type locality.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) as it is known only from the type locality in the Cordillera Central of Colombia and has not been recorded since 1988. Recent surveys at the type locality and nearby areas have not found the species and, while there is no direct information available, it is suspected that Bd has caused the declines observed in this species, and the number of mature individuals would be fewer than 50.
Specimens discussed by Cochran and Goin (1970) were subsequently named as Atelopus echeverrii.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Atelopus nicefori. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T54534A49536933. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T54534A49536933.en