Atelopus pyrodactylus is only known from the type locality: trail from Los Chilchos to Leymebamba (06º 41' 19" S, 77 º 41' 48 " W, 2,860 m asl), Province of Mariscal Cáceres, Department of San Martín, Peru. This site is located in the northern section of the Río Huallaga basin, at a ridge between two tributaries of the Río Chilchos, on the eastern slope of the Cordillera Central (Venegas and Barrio 2006).
Habitat and Ecology
Prevalent vegetation in the type locality is evergreen montane forest, mostly continuous with small clearings next to the trail; some larger clearings were also noticed. The clearings are embedded in the matrix of montane forest. The holotype was found at the end of the dry season (December), by late morning during a slight rain. The frog was spotted at the edge of a trail, hidden beneath a mud trail-cut-wall (Venegas and Barrio 2006).
The species is known from the holotype (Venegas and Barrio 2006) and a female which was found dead at the type locality in January 2006. The species has not been seen since, despite searches at its type locality in February 2008. The species is likely threatened with extinction (P. Venegas pers. comm. May 2008).
The forest at the type locality is currently under high human pressure. The land is being cleared mostly for cropland but cattle ranching is also an issue, and both are caused by increased human migration into the area (Venegas and Barrio 2006). The dead female found awaits chytrid screening tests (P. Venegas pers. comm. May 2008).
No conservation measures are in place for this species or its immediate habitat, the creation of a protected area encompassing the type locality of Atelopus pyrodactylus is suggested (Venegas and Barrio 2006).
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 three generations, inferred from the apparent disappearance of most of the population; and because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 100 km2 and its Area of Occupancy is less than 10km2, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, and in the number of mature individuals.
Atelopus pyrodactylus can be distinguished from other similar species by a combination of morphological features and colour patterns (Venegas and Barrio 2006).
Pablo Venegas 2008. Atelopus pyrodactylus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T135890A4216953. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T135890A4216953.en