This species is known only from the Cordillera de Huancabamba (in Piura Department) at an altitude of 1,840–3,080 m asl. It is known from two general locations (Figure 1 in Wiens 1993), which are connected by continuous habitat above the road from Huancabamba to Piura (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010). Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is approximately 508 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
It is a riparian, semi-aquatic, stream-breeding frog, and can be found under rocks in streams and associated pools in very humid montane forest, humid lower montane forest, grassland, and possibly dry lower montane forest. It may occur in disturbed areas, where water quality remains good, and has been recorded close to towns and agricultural areas. Tadpoles of this species have been found in rocky and muddy pools, as well as rocky streams, in January and February (Wiens 1993).
It is an uncommon species. 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. University of Kansas researchers collected nine specimens at four sites in 1979, whereas in 1991, four adult specimens and several tadpoles were collected at two sites. These sites were visited again in 2005, totalling a search effort of about half an hour per site, and no individuals were found (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010). Comparable survey efforts with other species of Telmatobius in northern Peru (Abra Barro Negro) within a month of this survey did render positive search results (C. Aguilar pers. comm. December 2010).
No noticeable major threats have been observed for the areas occupied, though there could be localized stream degradation due to agricultural activities in the area. This species is likely to be very susceptible to chytridiomycosis, as with other Telmatobius populations living at high elevations. 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.
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 is urgently needed to ensure the maintenance of suitable habitat for this species.
More information is needed about this species' distribution, natural history and threats. Close population monitoring is also necessary, particularly given the threat of chytrid infection.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because of its extent of occurrence (EOO) of 508 km2, it occurs in two threat-defined locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in the northern Peruvian Andes, and suspected harvesting of the species for human consumption.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Telmatobius ignavus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T57344A3058583. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T57344A3058583.en .Downloaded on 17 January 2019