This species is known from two localities in the Montañas de Cuilco, western Guatemala: Montañas de Peña Blanca, 17.1 km W (by road) from the Colotenango-Cuilco road, past San Francisco El Retiro, at 3,000 m asl, and La Cumbre, 14.1 km (by road) from CA-1 on the El Paraíso-Oja Blanca road, at 2,100 m asl (S. Rovito pers. comm. March 2011). These localities are separated by 10 km, and on the basis of forested areas surrounding the known localities, this species' range is estimated to be at least 90 km2 (S. Rovito pers. comm. March 2011). The range could potentially be larger, perhaps also occurring in Mexico close to the border (about 1 km) with Guatemala (where the elevational range of the Montañas de Cuilco on the Mexican side is comparable to that of Guatemala), but so far no records are known from Mexico and additional field work is required to verify whether it occurs elsewhere other than its known localities (S. Rovito pers. comm March 2011).
Habitat and Ecology
It occurs in bromeliads or under bark on logs and stumps in forest at the subtropical-temperate forest transition zone. It breeds by direct development and is not dependent upon water.
It is considered to be a locally common species, and has been found in large numbers in the past (S. Rovito pers. comm. March 2011). It was last seen January 2009 (S. Rovito pers. comm. March 2011). The population is considered to be severely fragmented given that it is known from only two sites which are considered to be heavily impacted by human activities and that the species' biology may not be conducive to dispersal between suitable habitat patches.
Forest clearance continues at the type locality, mainly as a result of wood extraction and expanding small-holder farming (i.e. coffee farms; C. Vásquez-Almazán pers. comm. March 2011). Habitat degradation is considered to affect a majority of the species' known range, as the two localities where the species is known from are heavily impacted by human activity (S. Rovito pers. comm. March 2011).
The Montañas de Cuilco are not protected, and habitat protection is an urgent priority for this salamander's conservation. Adoption of organic coffee practices is also encouraged so as to put less pressure on the remaining forest (C. Vásquez-Almazán pers. comm. March 2011). More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status and natural history.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence is currently estimated to be around 90 km², all individuals are in a single location, its population is considered to be severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in western Guatemala.
Both Dendrotriton chujorum and Dendrotriton kekchiorum were included within Dendrotriton rabbi in the past; however, this species is now considered to be restricted to Montañas de Cuilco (Campbell et al. 2010).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2011. Dendrotriton rabbi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T59240A11905305. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T59240A11905305.en