This species is known from five localities in the eastern slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes, from Volcán Reventador to the south, to Cordillera de Cutucú. It has been recorded from 1,000-2,000m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is an inhabitant of humid montane forest. There is no specific information known about breeding, but it is likely to be similar to other Atelopus species, with breeding and larval development taking place in streams.
The population of this species has declined dramatically. The last record was in July 1985 (an amplectant pair) despite repeated visits to known (El Reventador) or inferred localities (within its extent of occurrence) (Bustamante 2002).
The major threat is likely to be chytridiomycosis, and which has also led to catastrophic population declines in many other montane species of Atelopus. Habitat loss due to agriculture (both crops and livestock), logging, mining, and infrastructure development for human settlement, as well as agricultural pollution, are also major threats.
Its distribution range overlaps with Parque Nacional Sumaco Napo-Galeras, Parque Nacional Sangay, Reserva Ecológica Antisana, Parque Nacional Llanganates, and possibly Reserva Ecológica Cayambe-Coca. Surveys are needed to establish whether or not this species still survives. In view of the threat of chytridiomycosis, surviving individuals might need to form the basis for the establishment of an ex-situ population.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
The taxonomic status of A. planispina and A. palmatus was discussed by Coloma (1997). Recent unpublished information suggests that A. palmatus might be a valid species known from the type locality (S. Lötters pers. comm.).
Santiago Ron, Luis A. Coloma, Martín R. Bustamante, Diego Cisneros-Heredia, Stefan Lötters, Enrique La Marca 2004. Atelopus planispina. In: IUCN 2014