This species is known only from the northern Peruvian Andes near the surroundings of Celendin, Abra Comulica, San Miguel de Pallaques and Province of Hualgayoc, all in the Departamento Cajamarca; it is (or was) present at Charco (3,700m asl), Huari, Departamento Ancash, and also in the Departamento Piura. Its altitudinal range is from 2,800-4,200m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits puna and "sub-puna" (high altitude) habitats, with scattered tussock grass and Baccharis sp. They are sensitive to habitat degradation. Breeding takes place in streams, with larvae adhering to the undersides of large (30-50cm) rocks in swiftly flowing streams at a depth of approximately 30cm.
This species was very abundant until 1992, but there appears to have been a decline since then, and several populations, one of them at Cajamarca-Celendín, are believed to have disappeared (R. Schulte pers. comm.).
The major threat is likely to be chytridiomycosis, leading to a catastrophic population decline, as has occurred in many other montane species of Atelopus. The chytrid pathogen has yet to be found in this species, but the disease is known to be spreading in northern Peru, and the declines already reported are likely to be related to this disease. It has previously been reported in the pet trade, although this appears to have stopped. A population in Cajamarca was lost due to water contamination from activities at a nearby gold mine.
This species occurs in Parque Nacional Huascarán, and might be present in Reserva Nacional Callipuy, and Santuario Nacional Callipuy. Disease management and captive-breeding programmes appear necessary given the threat of chytridiomycosis.
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).
Rainer Schulte, Antonio Salas, Ariadne Angulo, Stefan Lötters, Ulrich Sinsch, Alfonso Miranda Leiva 2006. Atelopus peruensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T54539A11164132. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2006.RLTS.T54539A11164132.en