This species is only known from the vicinity of the type locality on the border of Risaralda, Quindio and Caldas Departments, Colombia, between 2,200–2,900 m asl. It might occur more widely than current records suggest.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is found on vegetation along streams and away from streams in sub-Andean and Andean forests. It has not been recorded outside forest habitat. Breeding and larval development take place in streams.
This is a rare species, and it has not been reported since 1997. Recent extensive surveys conducted by a WCS-Colombia herpetologist team (2009–2010) in the type locality failed to find any alive individuals, therefore it has been considered to be possibly extinct (J.A. Velasco et al. unpubl. data, D. Gómez pers. comm. August 2016).
Habitat destruction and degradation due to cattle grazing, agriculture activities and tourism activities are considered localized threats. The rainbow trout is considered a major threat because it is found throughout this species' range and is thought to predate upon it, contributing to the decline of the number of individuals. The 2004 assessment also 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, drastic population declines reported at the end of the 1990s are 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 (G. González and D. Gómez pers. comm. August 2016).
Conservation ActionsThe species occurs in Reserva Forestal Río Blanco and Parque Regional Natural Ucumarí.
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 required to determine the population status of this species and whether or not it occurs outside the vicinity of the type locality. Further research is also required for the ecology of this species.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) because this once common species has not recuperated from a drastic population decline, inferred from the apparent disappearance of most of the population during the 1990s. One possible cause of the population decline could be the combination of chytridiomycosis and habitat loss in the past, and the introduced rainbow trout that is present in all its range and it is though it predate this species.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Atelopus quimbaya. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T54545A49537609. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T54545A49537609.en