This species is found as fragmented populations on the Atlantic slopes of the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz State and northern Oaxaca State, Mexico; eastern Honduras; central Costa Rica; and central Panama, from 95-2,000m asl. It has not been recorded from Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, nor Nicaragua.
Habitat and Ecology
This species occurs in lowland rainforests and montane humid forest where it breeds in tree holes. It is found in both intact forest, and, in at least Costa Rica and Panama, it can be common in young secondary growth forest and coffee plantations far from forest (Brian Kubiki, Branko Hilje and Sofía Rodríguez pers. comm. 2007).
There is little information on the population status of this species. In Costa Rica, this has always been a rarely seen species, but its call can be heard regularly in the appropriate habitat. Although several populations are known in Mexico, these are completely disjunct and it seems that the species has been extirpated from one or two locations. It is a rare species in Mexico and it has been found only once in the last 30 years. In Honduras, it is known only from two specimens. There are no recent data from Panama.
The most important threats to it are severe disturbance, clearance and transformation of its original habitat to open areas, arising from smallholder farming and subsistence wood collecting.
It is protected in the Reserva de la Biósfera El Ocote, Parque Internacional La Amistad and the Reserva de la Biósfera Tawahka Asagni in Honduras. An ex-situ population of this species is breeding at the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in Panama (Edgardo Griffith pers. comm. September, 2007).
Santos-Barrera, G., Flores-Villela, O., Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Savage, J., Chaves, G. & Kubicki, B. 2008. Anotheca spinosa. In: IUCN 2014