This species is known from only four localities in Azuay, Cañar, and Guayas Provinces in the Pacific lowlands of south-western Ecuador, from 200-460m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It is an inhabitant of lowland rainforest, and has been found on riverbanks. There is no specific information known about breeding habits, though it is likely to be similar to other Atelopus species, with breeding taking place in streams.
This is now considered a very rare species. There have been no records since April 1995 despite repeated searches. It is no longer found at Río Patul (in Azuay province), where it used to be abundant (L. Coloma pers. comm.).
This species seems to have disappeared, as with many other Atelopus species, likely due to chytridiomycosis, although the altitude at which it occurs is low (the disease normally occurs at higher altitudes in the tropics). Habitat degradation and loss, due to agriculture (crops and livestock) and logging, and pollution, continue to be very serious threats.
The range of the species does not include any protected areas. As the species might be extinct, it might be too late for conservation measures such as captive breeding; additional survey work is required to confirm the continued persistence of this species in the wild.
Diego Cisneros-Heredia, Mario Yánez-Muñoz, Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron 2004. Atelopus balios. In: IUCN 2014