This species has been recorded from the Regions of Ancash (Pallasca), Cajamarca, and La Libertad (Santiago de Chuco and Otuzco), in Peru (Aguilar et al. 2010, 2012). It has an elevational range of 2,000–4,100 m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits puna and high-altitude plateaus, and dry scrubland. Breeding occurs in temporary small ponds and permanent shallow streams. It has also been found in agricultural land, particularly potato and maize fields, however it is unknown whether its presence in modified habitats suggests a tolerance to disturbance or if they represent relictual subpopulations.
This species was formerly a common and abundant species (Miranda Leiva 2008), however it is now considered an uncommon species. Between 1999 and 2000, specimens were observed at Granja Porcón and El Empalme in Cajamarca; however, subsequent surveys of the same sites during 2003-2004 were unable to record the species again (Miranda Leiva 2008). Several specimens were recorded in 2003 in a mining concession in La Libertad (J. Suarez pers. comm. In: Aguilar et al. 2012), in 2004 in a mining concession in Ancash (Aguilar et al. 2010), and in 2005 in a mining concession in Cajamarca (M. Medina pers. comm. in: Aguilar et al. 2012). However, these sites were visited again during 2005-2007 (Ancash), 2006-2007 (Cajamarca), and 2008 (La Libertad), but the species was not recorded (Aguilar et al. 2012). The species experienced a drastic population decline sometime between the years 2000 and 2005, and it has not been observed since 2005, despite efforts to find it. There is a possibility that this species may be extinct (A. Miranda Leiva pers. comm. March 2018), however if a population still exists it is thought to have less than 50 individuals.
One of the main threats is the loss of habitat and contamination of water bodies by mining activities, expansion of agriculture and livestock, and pine plantations (Miranda Leiva 2008, Aguilar et al. 2010, 2012). Formal, extensive mining concessions, as well as, small-scale, informal mining concessions occur throughout this species' range (Aguilar et al. 2010, 2012). The modification of water ways, including the construction of irrigation channels with cement and PCV pipes constitute another threat to its breeding habitat (A. Miranda Leiva pers. comm. March 2018). Other threats, including chytridiomycosis and climate change, cannot be not ruled out (Aguilar et al. 2010, A. Miranda Leiva pers. comm. March 2018), as its pattern of decline is similar to other amphibian species that have been impacted by chytridiomycosis. Occasionally it has been recorded in the national pet trade.
This species is believed to occur in Parque Nacional Huascarán and Zona Reservada Chancaybaños, and possibly Reserva Nacional Calipuy. In August 2008, the species was declared extinct throughout its range at the "Simpósio Internacional sobre Declinación de Poblaciones de Anfibios Altoandinos de los Países: Ecuador, Venezuela y Peru" (Miranda Leiva 2008, A. Miranda Leiva pers. comm. March 2018).
Conservation of remaining forest fragments in this species' range would be critical to its conservation, should it still be extant.
It is a very high priority to conduct surveys to locate this species and determine its current population status.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) given that, after it experienced a precipitous population decline in the early to mid-2000s, no individuals have been reported since 2005, despite intensive and ongoing searches in suitable habitat in historical localities, suggesting that if this species is still extant the pool of remaining mature individuals is likely fewer than 50.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Nannophryne cophotis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T54615A89196913. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T54615A89196913.en .Downloaded on 16 February 2019