This species is known only from the type locality, in the Cordillera Oriental in the puna of Maraynioc, in the Vitoc Valley, Junín Region, Peru. It is known from 3,825–4,000 m asl (Lehr 2007), and while currently not calculated, it is thought to have an EOO well below 100 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
It is restricted to puna habitats. Males and females have been found inside bunches of Peruvian Feather Grass (Stipa icchu) next to a small creek in a swampy area during the early afternoon. Males call from inside the bunches of grass (Lehr 2007). This species presumably deposits eggs inside the grass (Lehr 2007).
It had not been seen or collected since the 1800s until December 2005, where four individuals were found at the Puna of Maraynioc (Lehr 2007). An additional individual was found in the same locality in April 2012 and a further six individuals (one female, five males) were found in June 2012 (R. von May pers. comm. in Amphibian Red List Assessment Forum June 2013).
Peruvian Feather Grass is traditionally used by the indigenous people for roofing. It is frequently burned so as to fertilize fields, and anurans depending on this plant could be locally threatened (Lehr 2007). Habitat loss and land degradation caused by fires and cattle herding are general threats to this species. In addition, in June 2012, rock was being extracted from a small tunnel that opened on a slope 150–200 m uphill from the main habitat (R. von May pers. comm. in Amphibian Red List Assessment Forum June 2013).
It is not known to occur in any protected areas.
Given its restricted distribution and ongoing burning of its natural habitat for agricultural purposes as well as rock extraction so close to its main habitat, protection of its only known locality is urgently needed.
More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status, natural history, and threats.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be less than 100 km2, all individuals are in a single threat-defined location, and there is continuous decline of its high altitude grassland habitat in central Peru.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Phrynopus peruanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T57224A89212319. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T57224A89212319.en .Downloaded on 18 January 2019