This species is known from four geographical localities: Rapi, near Chiquintirca, Provincia La Mar, Ayacucho Region, Peru (Lehr 2007); on the road from Punqui to Anco, 3 km before Anco, Ayacucho Region, Peru (Padial et al. 2012); and in two localities near the town of Qollpas (Cerros Animasniocc and Cerro Atampa), Chiquintirca district, province of La Mar, Ayacucho Region, Peru (V. Vargas pers. comm. 2017). It occupies an altitudinal range between 3,411 and 3,850 m asl. It is likely that this species is endemic to the Andean forests above 1,500 m asl, with a limited distribution (Padial et al. 2012, E. Lehr pers. comm. March 2013). Its estimated EOO is 103 km2. As two of the known geographical localities (near Qollpas) are in close proximity to each other and close to an underground gas pipeline, they are considered a single threat-defined location for the purposes of this assessment, resulting in three threat-defined locations.
Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits the cold grassland puna of the Andes (E. Lehr pers. comm. 2008, Padial et al. 2012). Males have been heard calling by day in cold grassland puna and individuals have been found hidden under thick layers of moss near the ground or within piles of stones (Padial et al. 2012). It is presumed to breed by direct development.
It is known from just 11 individuals recorded from four localities. Males have been heard calling during the day at the type locality (Padial et al. 2012). It is likely that this is a rare species given the low frequency of observations (V. Vargas pers. comm. 2017). In December 2010, five individuals were collected over 16 person-days and in November 2012, one individual was collected over four person-days (V. Vargas pers. comm. 2017).
The grassland puna where this species lives is threatened by overgrazing from cattle (the Camisea Gas Project) (V. Vargas pers. comm. 2017). The construction of a gas pipeline has now ceased and the presence of the pipeline is no longer considered to present a threat to the species (A. Catenazzi pers. comm. April 2017). In addition, the species' habitat is threatened by farmers who frequently burn the puna grassland to enhance the growth of other plants and for religious reasons (a fire to ask gods for rain) (E. Lehr pers. comm. March 2013, (V. Vargas pers. comm. 2017). The grass is also used as roofing material in the construction of houses.
No conservation actions are currently known for this species. It does not occur in any protected areas.
This species would benefit from habitat protection (V. Vargas pers. comm. 2017).
More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status, ecology, and threats.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 103 km2, it is considered to occur in three threat-defined locations, and there is a continuing decline of its high altitude grassland habitat in the Andes of south-central Peru.
This species was reassigned from Phrynopus to Oreobates by Padial et al. (2012).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Oreobates ayacucho. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T136047A89219648.