This species is known from the Departments of Huila, Nariño, Cauca, and Putumayo on the east slope of the highlands of the Cordillera Central, Colombia, from 2,900–3,275 m asl (Lynch and Duellman 1980, Lynch and Ruiz-Carranza 1983, Mueses-Cisneros 2005). Some specimens from the Department of Putumayo and all specimens from Nariño identified previously as Pristimantis chloronotus (by Lynch and Duellman 1980) are believed to correspond to P. vicarius (Lynch and Ruiz-Carranza 1983). Its EOO is 15,806 km2 and it occurs at more than 10 locations.
Habitat and Ecology
This nocturnal species occurs on vegetation up to 1.5 m above ground, inside the forest, as well as next to streams. During the day it can be found under rocks and logs, and it is also found in páramo vegetation. Breeding is by direct development.
This species was reported as common based on field work in the 1970s (Lynch and Duellman 1980). An exhaustive study of one locality, Valle de Sibundoy, in 2005 did not record this species (Mueses-Cisneros 2005). The species was recorded in 2014 in Páramo de Guanacas (Cauca Department), when six individuals were found during a seven-day expedition (Equipo del Proyecto de Delimitación de Páramos de Colombia, unpubl. data 2016). The species was also recorded in 2015 in Cerro el Banco (Bolivar Municipality) and Santa Rosa Municipality (both in Cauca Province), where 3–4 individuals were found in each site (M. Anganoy-Criollo pers. comm. 2016). These records suggest the species is less common now than when first described (Colombia Red List Assessment Workshop August 2016).
The major threat to this species is habitat loss, in particular in Nariño Department, caused by logging and agricultural development for crop cultivation (including illegal crops) and rearing of livestock. In Cauca Department, potato farming and gold mining is a threat (Colombia Red List Assessment Workshop August 2016). In the 2004 assessment, it was reported that a potential future threat was chytridiomycosis, however there is no further information on this threat (Colombia Red List Assessment Workshop August 2016).
The species is reported from within an indigenous reserve (at the Cerro el Banco), where the habitat is well preserved. The species is not reported from any protected areas.
More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status, natural history, and threats. Given the possible threat of chytridiomycosis this species should be monitored carefully.
Red List Status
Near Threatened (NT)
Listed as Near Threatened since although its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 15,806 km2 and its habitat is declining in extent and quality in many areas, thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable, it occurs in more than 10 locations and its range is probably not severely fragmented.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Pristimantis vicarius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T57041A85881494. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T57041A85881494.en .Downloaded on 19 January 2019