This species is known from only a few localities in the Departments of Cauca and Huila on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera Central in south-central Colombia. It is found at elevations between 2,000-2,600 m asl, its EOO is 2,416 km² and it is considered to occur at three threat-defined locations.
Habitat and Ecology
It is arboreal, occurring on vegetation alongside streams in Andean forests. It has also been recorded from relatively disturbed areas such as in trees in farmers' gardens. Adults have been found in dense bushes by day, and 1-2 m above the ground on more open bushes at night. Tadpoles were found in shallow grassy temporary pools. The eggs develop in a pouch on the back of the female and then the larvae are transported to small pools where they develop further. Three brooding females contained 76-116 (97.6) eggs in their brood pouches, measuring 5.1-7.5 (6.4) mm in diameter (Duellman and Trueb 2015). Cochran and Goin (1970) reported on the birth of 70 and 96 tadpoles, respectively, from two females.
This species was formerly reported to be common, but the population and number of mature individuals are suspected to be decreasing due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat. It has not been recorded since at least the 1960s (Cochran and Goin 1970). Although there have been some surveys in the area where the species was originally found, the region has not been intensively explored (J. Mueses-Cisneros pers. comm. August 2016).
A major threat to this species is the destruction of its habitat for timber extraction and agriculture, including the cultivation of illegal crops. Water pollution is also considered a threat.
This species has been recorded within the Parque Nacional Natural Puracé. The range also overlaps the Naza and Paez indigenous reserves. These communities have helped to prevent the extension of the agricultural frontier, and are campaigning to prevent the issuing of mining permits in the region.
The establishment of a protected area for this species would be advisable, once its presence is confirmed.
Targeted surveys are needed to find the species and clarify its distribution, population, natural history and threats.
Red List Status
This species is listed as Endangered because of its limited range, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 2,416 km², it is considered to occur in three threat-defined locations, and there is continuing decline in the quality of its habitat due to agricultural and logging threats, as well as, the number of mature individuals. This species has apparently not been observed since the 1960s, despite attempts to relocate it.
This genus has been moved from the family Hylidae (Faivovich et al. 2005).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Gastrotheca aureomaculata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T55325A85896174. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T55325A85896174.en .Downloaded on 18 January 2019