This species is known only from the type locality on the eastern flank of the northern Cordillera Central of the Colombian Andes, in the Municipality of Falán, Department of Tolima, Colombia (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006). It appears to occur in a single forest fragment that does not exceed 0.5 km
Habitat and Ecology
The known location of the species is a small patch of a secondary forest dominated by trees with a maximum height of four to six metres, covered by epiphytic plants, mainly of the families Araceae, Bromeliaceae and Orchidaceae. The canopy is dense, allowing for little penetration of light. Humidity in the area is maintained by the constant cloud cover and frequent rainfall. The forest floor is covered by leaf litter, fallen tree branches and trunks, which house fungi, mosses and lichens. There are also smaller trees, palms and tree ferns. The mean temperature is about 19°C and the annual precipitation is between 2,500–3,000 mm per year (Bernal et al. 2007). It is found on the forest floor and hides in bromeliads up to two metres from the ground (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006). The reproductive mode, reproductive period and clutch size of this species are unknown (J.V. Rueda-Almonacid pers. comm.), although it is possible that it may have larval development occurring in bromeliads. While the species is found in secondary forest, it does not occur in other types of altered habitats (M.H. Bernal pers. comm. 2014).
It is a relatively abundant species within a restricted range (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006). Recent survey effort (July 2013) produced 20 records over a four hour period (M.H. Bernal pers. comm. 2014).
In the past, the forest habitat of this species has been lost due to cattle grazing, selective logging and agricultural crops. Some areas of forest are now recovering from logging (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006). In addition, illegal collection of individuals for the pet trade has been observed (J.V. Rueda-Almonacid pers. comm. 2014). The forest fragment in which the species occurs is now a protected area; however, this forest is surrounded by cattle pastures and crops (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006).
The species occurs within the Ranita Dorada Reserve, established in 2008, where it is protected from immediate anthropogenic threats (M.H. Bernal pers. comm. 2014). Continued enforcement of protected areas will be important for maintaining critical forest habitat within the range. An environmental education program is under way to generate awareness of the reserve and this species within the local community (O. Cortés pers. comm. 2014). There are also ongoing restoration efforts within the reserve. Research on life history characteristics and monitoring of population status and illegal trade are needed. Surveys are needed to determine if other remnant populations exist and how these could be better protected.
Ranitomeya dorisswansonae can be recognised by a combination of morphological features and colour patterns (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2014. Andinobates dorisswansonae. In: IUCN 2014