This species is known only from two sites in the Sierra de Merendón, one in the Sierra de Caral, Izabal, Guatemala, at 760-1,240 m asl, and the second one in Cusuco National Park, Honduras, at 1,540-1,590 m asl (Kolby et al. 2009). Both sites are separated by c. 50 km (Kolby et al. 2009) and are surrounded by land use pressures that likely differ between the sites. It is possible that this species may occur in appropriate habitat in the intervening area and could also occur more widely, but it seems plausible that it could be restricted to the Sierra de Merendón. Its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 356 km2 and each site is considered to be a separate threat-defined location.
Habitat and Ecology
It lives in subtropical old-growth wet forest, where it has been found on low vegetation and on a rock bank near a waterfall at night and below a pile of dead palm leaves during the day. It breeds by direct development. It is not known if the species tolerates habitat disturbance.
It is known from fewer than 10 specimens, several from the type locality in Sierra Caral and several individuals encountered in Cusuco National Park (Kolby et al. 2009). Since 2007, numerous sampling efforts in Sierra Caral have produced only a single record (C. Vásquez-Almazán pers. comm. 2014). Specimens from Cusuco National Park were encountered over the course of annual surveys conducted since 2006, having been found during only one survey in 2008 (J. Kolby pers. comm. 2012). It is considered to be a rare species based on low frequency of detection, but it is possible that its cryptic colouration and behaviour may contribute to the low encounter rates (J. Kolby pers. comm. 2012). It is unknown whether the population is severely fragmented.
It is threatened by extensive habitat loss that has occurred in the Sierra de Caral as a result of extensive logging and agricultural encroachment (cattle ranching) (Sean Rovito pers. comm. 2008). The type locality in Sierra Caral has been altered by illegal logging, and use of agrochemicals by communities within and around the Sierra Caral protected area may also represent a threat to this species (C. Vásquez-Almazán pers. comm. 2014). Although it also occurs in a protected area in Honduras, the site where this species was collected within the national park has recently suffered extensive illegal logging and habitat destruction (J. Kolby pers. comm. 2011). The chytrid fungus has also been detected at this locality, but its impact on terrestrial salamanders is unknown (J. Kolby pers. comm. 2011).
It occurs in Cusuco National Park, but given illegal logging occurring within the boundaries of the park there is a need for improved park management. It also occurs in the recently designated (2012) Sierra Caral reserve in Guatemala. It is also urgent to maintain remaining areas of suitable habitat outside the protected area for this species. Ongoing surveys are needed to locate and monitor subpopulations of this salamander and to determine whether it is susceptible to chytrid fungus, in addition to studies on its taxonomic status.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 356 km2, it is now known from two threat-defined locations (as a result of recent records from Cusuco), and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat within protected areas in the Sierra de Merendón and Honduras.
The taxonomic relationship of this species to Cryptotriton monzoni needs to be investigated (Wake and Parra-Olea pers. comm. 2007).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2014. Nototriton brodiei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T29426A2790023. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T29426A2790023.en