This species is known from southeastern Colombia (Vaupés and Putumayo departments), northeastern Ecuador and northwestern Peru. The first record from Peru was reported from the Matsés region (Gordo et al. 2006), representing a range expansion of at least 500 km. In 2009, it was recorded in Reserva Forestal Santa Cruz, Loreto Peru (López-Rojas and Cisneros-Heredia 2012), further expanding its range ca 230 km north of the first known Peruvian locality, 640 km SW of the type locality (Pyburn 1977), and 470 km SE of the nearest Ecuadorian locality (Tiputini Biodiversity Station, Orellana Province). It ranges from 100–700 m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
This fossorial frog inhabits tropical moist forests. It lives in spaces between roots in the soil and in muddy areas next to water springs. Its reproduction involves depositing gelatin-wrapped eggs in underground chambers, where the eggs remain until they hatch (Gordo et al. 2006). It has not been recorded from anthropogenic habitats.
It is a very difficult species to find so it appears to be uncommon, but it is secretive due to small size and fossorial habits, and so it might be more common than it appears (D. Cisneros-Heredia pers. comm. September 2017).
Habitat loss caused by deforestation, agricultural development, and illegal crops are localized threats, but overall there are no currently known major threats to the species.
Its range in Colombia overlaps with La Paya National Park. In Ecuador, it occurs within Parque Nacional Yasuní, Reserva de Producción Faunística Cuyabeno and possibly occurs in Limoncocha Biological Reserve. In Peru, it occurs in Reserva Forestal Santa Cruz and Reserva Nacional Matsés.
More information is needed on this species' distribution, population size and trends.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution and presumed large population.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Synapturanus rabus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T58017A85901422.