This species is known from Volcán Tacaná (in extreme eastern Chiapas, Mexico), discontinuously eastwards as far as Volcán Chicabal (in south-western Guatemala), at 2,400-2,800m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits pine-oak and upper cloud forest, where it is strictly terrestrial, and can tolerate only very limited habitat disturbance. It breeds by direct development and is not dependent upon water.
It was formerly extremely abundant, but has undergone extensive declines. Recent surveys (2005 and 2006) at Volcán Chicabal and at San Marcos, in Guatemala, have not revealed any specimens (Sean Rovito and Carlos Vásquez pers. comm. 2007), despite it once being one of the most abundant species at those same localities (collected many times in consistently large numbers). The declines in population do not seem to be linked to habitat modification, and are not a result of overcollection of specimens.
The decline in the population of this species is enigmatic, with further research needed to determine the cause. The species is additionally threatened by habitat loss due to clear-cutting of forest, urbanization, human settlement, and expanding agriculture (including livestock farming).
It has been previously recorded from the Volcán Chicabal Reserve in Guatemala, but was not found on a recent visit (Carlos Vásquez and Sean Rovito pers. comm. 2007). Habitat protection is an urgent priority. The species is in need of close population monitoring, and research is urgently needed into the enigmatic population decline. It is protected by Mexican law under the "Special Protection" category (Pr).
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Acevedo, M., Wake, D., Vasquez, C. & Rovito, S. 2008. Pseudoeurycea brunnata. In: IUCN 2014