This species is only known from the type locality: 4 km south of the junction of the Sonsón-Dorada and Argelia roads in Sonsón Municipality, Antioquia Department, in the northern part of the Central Cordillera of the Colombian Andes, at 2,350 m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
This species has been recorded from primary cloud forest on herbaceous vegetation and fallen leaves. It is also found in rocks near brooks and streams. It breeds by direct development.
It is uncommon; two specimens were collected in 1978 and a further four in 1981. Since then extensive repeated searches of the type locality have not found any individuals, and surveys in the surrounding areas have not recorded this species (G. González pers. comm. August 2016). The population trend is therefore unknown and the population size is thought to be fewer than 50 mature individuals.
Major threats include habitat loss and degradation caused by logging, agriculture activities and cattle grazing throughout its small range. The known locality passes a road and there is accumulation of garbage in the water bodies.
Other species of the genus that are associated with streams have undergone dramatic declines and disappearances, possibly due to chytridiomycosis, but there is no evidence that this species has declined due to this factor (Colombia Red List Assessment Workshop August 2016).
While there is currently no direct information confirming that chytrid has caused declines in this species, [the lack of records since/in the 1990s] is consistent with the pattern of decline in many other montane Atelopus species, and it is therefore reasonable to infer that the disease might be the cause of declines in this species (Colombia Red List Assessment Workshop August 2016).
This species has not been recorded in any protected areas.
The type locality does not fall within a protected area and the habitat has been so badly disturbed that it might not even be suitable for protection. In light of the possibility that chytrid may have been involved in declines, any surviving individuals might need to form the basis for the establishment of an ex situ population.
Further survey work is required to determine whether or not the species still survives at the type locality.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) because extensive surveys have not recorded the species since it was last collected in 1981. During the intervening time chytridiomycosis is known to have swept through the region causing devastating declines for many amphibian species, including species within this genus. Therefore the population, if any individuals remain, is estimated to be very small.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Pristimantis bernali. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T56459A85860627. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T56459A85860627.en .Downloaded on 21 January 2019