This species is known only from the type locality and its immediate vicinity (Guaranda, Gallo Rumi) in the Chimbo Basin of the Cordillera Occidental of Ecuador, in the province of Bolívar. These localities are between 2,600 and 2,923m asl in the upper Río Chimbo Valley (Coloma 2002).
Habitat and Ecology
This species is an inhabitant of humid cloud forest. Frogs have also been collected in disturbed montane cloud forest areas (Coloma 2002). There is no specific information on breeding habits, but it is likely to be similar to other Atelopus species, with breeding and larval development taking place in streams.
It is a rare species, and the most recent record dates from April 1988 (Coloma 2002). Since then, survey efforts have been unsuccessful in finding any individuals, suggesting a serious population decline and possible extinction.
The most likely cause of the species' population decline is chytridiomycosis. Habitat loss is also a major threat, due to agriculture (crops, livestock, and wood plantations), logging, and infrastructure development for human settlement. Invasive species such as dogs, cats, and chickens also prey on this species.
The known range of the species does not include any protected areas. Surveys are needed to establish whether or not this species still persists in the wild. In view of the severe threat of chytridiomycosis, any surviving populations should be maintained in captivity.
Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron, Martín R. Bustamante, Diego Cisneros-Heredia, Ana Almendáriz 2004. Atelopus guanujo. In: IUCN 2014