This species is known from the Cordillera Occidental of northern Peru, in the Regions of Cajamarca and La Libertad (Wiens 1993), and Pallasca Province, Ancash Region (Aguilar et al. 2012). Its elevational range is 2,000–4,300 m asl and its EOO is 10,833 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
It is a riparian semi-aquatic species, occurring in paramo and the Peruvian yungas. It can be found under rocks, in streamside vegetation and in streams in cloud forests; it can also occur in irrigation ditches in páramo and in cultivated areas. Eggs attributed to this species have been found attached to vegetation in a narrow rivulet in March (Wiens 1993). Tadpoles which are believed to belong to this species have been found in slow-moving streams, stream pools, grassy ponds, and in irrigation and roadside ditches during January-March (Wiens 1993, C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010). Its diet consists mainly of invertebrates and occasionally tadpoles.
The population is suspected to be decreasing due to ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat. The species was recorded in Cajamarca in 1998, in the cities of Granja Porcón, El Empalme and Huacraruco, when five individuals were observed over eight person-days. When the same sites were resampled in 2003, however, no individuals were found (Miranda-Leiva 2008). Six tadpoles were collected over the course of two days from Quiruvilca, province of Santiago de Chuco, La Libertad during September 2008 (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010); however, they were at early stages of development, so identification to the species level was not possible (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010). In September 2010, a survey was conducted within its currently recognized distribution in the province of Cajamarca, but no individuals were found (J. Icochea pers. comm. December 2010). Surveys in 2012-2013 found the species to be rare in the creeks of wet puna, but relatively common in the ditches of Cajamarca (G. Chavez pers. comm. April 2017).
There is little information available on its threats, although water pollution might be a localized threat. During 2004–2005 surveys, two individuals were collected in a mining concession in the Region of Ancash, Pallasca Province (Aguilar et al. 2012). Mining had not yet begun in the concession, and therefore the impacts of mining on the species have yet to be evaluated. Similar to its congeners, this species is likely to be very susceptible to chytridiomycosis caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. The pathogen has yet to be reported from this species; however there are several reports of infections in congeners in southern Peru (Seimon et al. 2005, Catenazzi et al. 2011), and chytridiomycosis has been implicated as one of the causes of the disappearance of Telmatobius niger in Ecuador.
It is not known to be present in any protected areas. It is listed as Endangered (EN) in Peru and has legal protection provided by the Categorization in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (Decreto Supremo Nº004-2014-MINAGRI), which bans all hunting, capture, possession, transport or export of the species for commercial purposes.
Habitat protection and maintenance is recommended, complemented by more general actions to mitigate the effects of habitat loss from water pollution and mining.
More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status, natural history, and threats. There is a need for close monitoring of the status of this species given the potential threat of chytridiomycosis.
Red List Status
Listed as Vulnerable, as this species has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 10,833 km2, it occurs in less than 10 threat-defined locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat along the the Cordillera Occidental of northern Peru.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Telmatobius brevipes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T57327A3057511. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T57327A3057511.en .Downloaded on 21 January 2019