This species is endemic to north-western Argentinean Patagonia, and has been recorded from a number of localities in Neuquen Province. The altitudinal range is from 1,000-1,500m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It lives on the ground under stones and in humid ravines surrounding small-scattered lagoons, in volcanic tablelands, with steppe and semi-desert landscapes; it is presumed to breed in the lagoons. The species does not occur in modified habitats.
It is a rare species.
The main threat is the introduction of predatory fishes (perch and salmonids) in Laguna Blanca, but it is also threatened by the loss of pond side vegetation through overgrazing and trampling by livestock (sheep).
The species was previously protected in Parque Nacional Laguna Blanca; however, it is now extirpated in this park because of the introduction of predatory fishes and habitat loss. Three of the subspecies lack any protection, and habitat protection is urgently needed as are measures to prevent the future introduction of predatory fish species.
The Atelognathus praebasalticus complex needs to be re-examined taxonomically. There are four known subspecies, some of which may constitute new species. Some of these subspecies may be extinct.
Carmen Úbeda, Néstor Basso, Esteban Lavilla, Boris Blotto 2004. Atelognathus praebasalticus. In: IUCN 2014