This species is known from the upper Huallaga River and its tributaries, in the Provinces of Ambo and Pachitea, Huánuco Region, Peru. It has an altitudinal range of 2,000–3,600 m asl, its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 1,097 km2, and all individuals occur at two-threat defined locations.
Habitat and Ecology
It is a riparian semi-aquatic, stream-breeding frog, living in small streams in shrubland and cloud forest, and is not present in cultivated areas. It is presumed to breed by larval development in streams.
Two-week long herpetological surveys in August 1998 rendered 15 specimens in Chaglla and Tomayrica, Province of Pachitea (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010). Six tadpoles were collected in 1998 in Maraypata, Province of Ambo (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010). No specimens, inclusive of tadpoles, were found in a two week herpetological survey in April 1999 (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010). No one has surveyed for the species at known sites since 1999, so there is no information on disease-related declines. However, the population is suspected to be decreasing due to ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat, and possibly due to the effects of chytridiomycosis and harvesting for human consumption.
Agrochemical runoff into streams, as a result of use in potato cultivation on the hills in the watershed in which this species occurs, is a major threat that is likely to have become more severe since the 2004 assessment due to the expansion of human population and resulting agricultural expansion (E. Lehr pers. comm. April 2017). 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 (e.g., 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. In addition, it is suspected that this species could be collected for food and medicine, which poses a threat to the species (E. Lehr pers. comm. April 2017).
It is not known to be present in any protected areas. It is listed as Critically Endangered (CR) 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 is urgently needed to ensure the maintenance of suitable habitat for this species.
More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status, natural history, and threats. Close population monitoring is also necessary, particularly given the threat of chytrid infection. Studies should focus on obtaining positive identification of the species in local markets and on determining the rate of harvest.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 1,097 km2, it is found at only two locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in the Peruvian Andes, and suspected harvesting of the species for human consumption.
Telmatobius punctatus was previously considered to be a subspecies of Telmatobius brevirostris; it was elevated to specific status by Lehr (2005) based on differences in morphological features and colour patterns.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Telmatobius brevirostris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T57328A3057646. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T57328A3057646.en .Downloaded on 19 February 2019