This species is known only from the type locality of Cordillera Carpish at San Pedro de Carpish and Ruinas de Huanacaure, Huánuco Province, Huánuco Region, Peru from 2,996–3,100 m asl (Lehr and Oróz 2012). Its EOO is 83 km2 and it occurs at two threat-defined locations.
Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits primary humid montane forest. The holotype was found during the day within moss. The vegetation of the type locality is characterized by the presence of plants of the families Myrthaceae, Clusiaceae, Cunnoniaceae, Ericaceae, Asteraceae, and the presence of the bamboo species Chusquea scandens (Lehr and Oróz 2012). It is presumed that this species has a cryptic mode of life restricted to the leaf litter and moss, and breeds by direct development similar to other members of the genus.
The species is considered to be uncommon. Seven specimens were collected in 2014–2015 at Huanacaure, Cordillera de Carpish (Chávez et al. 2015). Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
The area of the type locality shows evidence of human activities such as logging for firewood. At Huanacaure (Cordillera de Carpish), there is ongoing habitat loss due to agriculture at the top of the mountain (G. Chávez pers. comm. April 2017). In general, there is still potential suitable habitat throughout the Cordillera de Carpish at present (E. Lehr pers. comm. April 2017). Clearing of the vegetation on the trails to the Huanacaure Ruins presents a threat to this species as the vegetation is important for providing good humidity conditions for the moss on which this species depends (G. Chávez pers. comm. April 2017). Harvesting of moss throughout the eastern slopes of the Andes, especially within cloud forests, poses a potential threat to this species (R. von May pers. comm. April 2017).
This species does not occur within any protected area.
As the Cordillera de Carpish is known for its high levels of endemism, legal protection of the Cordillera de Carpish is recommended (E. Lehr pers. comm. April 2017).
More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status, natural history, and threats.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because of its extent of occurrence (EOO) of 83 km2, it occurs in two threat-defined locations, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in the Cordillera de Carpish, particularly in the eastern part of its range.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Phrynopus vestigiatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T78535863A89226147. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T78535863A89226147.en .Downloaded on 18 February 2019