This species is known only from the type locality: Parque Nacional Natural Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the department of Cesar, Colombia. It has been recorded between 2000 and 3500 m asl. It might occur a little more widely on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Habitat and Ecology
It occurs in sub-Andean and Andean forests, sub-páramo and páramo. Egg chains are placed in fast-flowing water, and the tadpoles develop in the water.
Only six specimens of this species are known, and there have been no records since 1991. It is not yet clear whether or not this reflects lack of survey effort, or a genuine rarity or decline.
The major threat is likely to be chytridiomycosis, leading to a catastrophic population decline, as has occurred in many other montane species of Atelopus. Habitat loss caused by agricultural expansion and logging is also a major threat, as is pollution resulting from the fumigation of crops.
Its range includes Parque Nacional Natural Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Further survey work is required to determine the population status of this species, especially in light of the recent drastic declines observed in other montane Atelopus species. Given the likely threat of chytridiomycosis, disease management and captive-breeding programmes might be required.
Jose Vicente Rueda, Andrés Acosta-Galvis, Martha Patricia Ramírez Pinilla, Mariela Osorno-Muñoz, Adolfo Amézquita, María Cristina Ardila-Robayo 2004. Atelopus arsyecue. In: IUCN 2014