This species is known from a single stream in an isolated cloud forest, the Paramito de San Francisco, near the town of Guaraque, in Mérida State, Cordillera de Mérida, in Venezuela. It has the most restricted geographic range of any Venezuelan Atelopus species, and lives at an altitude of 2,400-2,718m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It is an inhabitant of montane cloud forests. It is photophilic and lays egg chains in streams, where the tadpoles also develop.
At the time of its discovery, this species was particularly abundant at the type locality. However, it is now extremely rare, or perhaps even extinct; the last record of the species was in 1990.
Infection with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in this species was reported by Lampo et al. (2006). Local climate data indicate that one of the most severe dry seasons recorded in the region since 1970 coincided with epidemic events. In addition, clear cutting has greatly reduced the amount of available habitat for this species.
The small range of this species does not include any protected areas. Surveys are needed to establish whether or not this species still survives, and a project aimed at evaluating their population status and at assessing environmental and climate conditions of the cloud forests of Mérida State in the Venezuelan Andes (where populations of this toad might occur in remote ridges and valleys) has been initiated. Ex-situ conservation action might also be required.
Enrique La Marca, Argelia Rodríguez, Juan Elías García-Pérez 2010. Atelopus sorianoi. In: IUCN 2014