This species is restricted to the valley of Tafí in Tucumán Province, Argentina, with an altitudinal range of 1,900-3,100m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It is a wholly aquatic, stream-breeding species of mountain streams within bog land areas; at higher elevations, the surrounding vegetation is shrubland, while the vegetation in lowland areas includes some trees (Alnus spp.). The species is not present in any modified habitats.
It was previously common and had been recorded from seven localities. However, the species was last collected in 1992 and it appears to have disappeared from the lower parts of its range (it was not found during intensive surveys in 2003). The status of populations at higher elevations is currently not known, as there have been no recent collections within this part of the range.
Current threats to the species include predation by introduced exotic fishes (trout); urbanization and the drainage of bogs; alterations of watercourses (through measures such as canalization); degradation of bog habitat by four-wheel drive vehicles; potato cultivation close to the stream edges (increasing sedimentation); construction of roads across the streams; plantation of exotic tree species (pines, with subsequent sedimentation during harvesting); and construction of power-lines in the gorges and within the streams (also resulting in stream sedimentation). Potential future threats include water pollution through mining activities, and also chytridiomycosis: populations of other species in the genus living at high elevations are very susceptible to infection with chytridiomycosis. The pathogen has yet to be reported from Telmatobius laticeps, but congeners in Ecuador have disappeared, and so this species would appear to be seriously at risk
The species is not present in any protected areas, and therefore habitat protection is a priority. Further survey work is necessary at higher elevations to establish the current status of those populations.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered, because its Extent of Occurrence of less than 5,000 km2 and its Area of Occupancy is less than 500 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in its area of occupancy, in the extent and quality of its stream habitat, in the number of sub-populations, and in the number of mature individuals.
Esteban Lavilla 2004. Telmatobius laticeps. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T57347A11624998. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T57347A11624998.en .Downloaded on 19 November 2018