This species occurs on the Pacific slopes of the Andes in northern Ecuador (Pichincha and Cotapaxi provinces) and western Colombia (from Nariño Department to Antioquia Department). It has been recorded between 700 and 2,010m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It is a nocturnal species, living on vegetation, including arboreal bromeliads, in forest habitats, usually next to water sources. It prefers undisturbed habitats, but can be found on the edge of secondary forest. It breeds by direct development, and the eggs are carried in a pouch on the back of the female.
The population status of this species across much of Ecuador is unknown. It was most recently recorded in 1996, and appears to have declined. Data from the Reserva Otonga (Pichincha Province) suggest that it is now absent from where it once occurred (L. Coloma pers. obs.). It is an uncommon species in Colombia.
The major threats are habitat loss due to agricultural development (livestock and illegal crops), logging, and human settlement, and pollution resulting from the spraying of illegal crops. The decline in Ecuador is unexplained and has taken place within suitable habitats, and might perhaps be related to climate change, or to chytridiomycosis (which has been recorded in Gastrotheca species in Ecuador), or to a combination of these two factors.
In Ecuador, its range overlaps with the Reserva Ecológica Los Illinizas. It occurs in several protected areas in Colombia, including Parque Nacional Natural Farallones de Cali. Further research is needed to investigate the cause of the apparent decline of this species in Ecuador.
Red List Status
Listed as Vulnerable because its Area of Occupancy is less than 2,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, the number of locations, and the number of mature individuals in the Colombian and Ecuadorian Andes.
This genus has recently been moved from the family Hylidae (Faivovich et al. 2005).
Wilmar Bolívar, Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron, Diego Cisneros-Heredia, Juan Manuel Renjifo 2004. Gastrotheca guentheri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T55338A11295352. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T55338A11295352.en