This species was thought to be restricted to the upper slopes of Cofre de Perote and nearby mountains, in the general vicinity of Antonio Limon town, west-central Veracruz, Mexico. However, recently the species has also been found in the state of Puebla in the Sierra Norte de Puebla (Solano-Zavaleta et al. 2009) and in the surroundings of González Ortega town, at the limits with Veracruz state (E. Pineda, L. Canseco and J.L. Aguilar pers. comm. Red List Assessment Workshop 2014). It occurs between 2,250-4,000 m asl, and its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 894 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
The species is terrestrial and inhabits pine forest and bunchgrass above treeline; usually being found under rocks and logs on moist soils. It can tolerate some level of habitat disturbance, provided that it is not too severe. It reproduces by direct development.
It is an uncommon species. An individual was observed on two separate occasions in 2003, and studies performed by Eduardo Pineda and his group at INECOL found 40 specimens in Veracruz and Puebla with 400 hours per person of field sampling (Pineda 2014). Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
The habitat of this species has been heavily disturbed at lower elevations, especially due to logging, agriculture (including slash and burn practices) and human settlement. It might be more secure at higher elevations, where human impacts have been less severe. In 2003, pine forest at both the upper and lower elevations on Cofre de Perote were found to have been extensively cut for pastures for cattle and as a result of logging.
This species has not been recorded in any protected areas. It is protected by Mexican law under the "Special Protection" category (Pr).
There is an urgent need for improved protection of the forest habitat of this species.
Surveys are required to determine the full distribution of this species.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 894 km2, it occurs in fewer than five threat-defined locations, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in west-central Veracruz.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2016. Pseudoeurycea melanomolga. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T59386A53983101. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T59386A53983101.en