This species can be found in Eastern Nicaragua to central Costa Rica. In Costa Rica it is known from 60-880 m asl. In Nicaragua it has been collected as high as 1,535 m (Sunyer and Köhler 2010). The Panamanian taxon formerly included within C. bransfordii is found on the Atlantic versant of central Panama, from the lowlands to elevations approaching 2,000 m asl. All populations currently referred to as C. bransfordii are included on the map, only when the Panamanian population has been formally named will it be removed.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is associated with lowland moist and wet forests, premontane wet forest, and marginally in premontane rainforest. It may also be found in moderately disturbed areas. The Panamanian taxon is also present in these habitat types, although it is unclear as to whether or not it is tolerant of habitat disturbance. Both taxa are terrestrial, direct development species occurring in the leaf-litter layer.
Several related species have been included in C. bransfordii in the past, making it difficult to discern distribution and abundance from the literature. C. bransfordii is known to experience marked population fluctuations from year to year. The population at La Selva, Costa Rica, appeared to have experienced a 4-5% annual decline over 35 years (Whitfield et al. 2007). However, it has since been very common at that site (Folt and Reider 2013) and was the most frequently detected frog at La Selva and its surrounding secondary forests in 2012 (Hilje and Mitchell Aide). The species was present in Monteverde at all elevations during surveys between 1990 and 1994 (Pounds et al. 1997), is still present in Braulio Carrillo National Park (Puschendorf et al. 2006), and is abundant in Guyacan (Kubicki 2008). It is abundant but declining at El Quebracho, Nicaragua (Barquero et al. 2010) and it is abundant in southeastern Nicaragua (Sunyer et al. 2009). Severe declines have been reported in El Copé (Crawford et al. 2010).
General habitat loss by the destruction of natural forests (from urban expansion, agriculture and logging) is a threat to these taxa. At La Selva, declines seem to be driven by climate-driven reductions in quantity of standing leaf litter (Whitfield et al. 2007). Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the causative agent of chytridiomycosis, is present in lowland populations with seasonal variation (Whitfield et al. 2012), and lowland populations in Costa Rica exhibited low (8/70) Bd prevalence (Kerby et al. 2010).
This species was previously within the genus Eleutherodactylus (Crawford and Smith 2005). It ranges from Nicaragua to Costa Rica. However, the population endemic to Panama is now recognized to be distinct from C. bransfordii, but has yet to receive a formal name. Information about this taxon is included in the C. bransfordii account until a published name becomes available. Additionally, specimens from northern Nicaragua previously included as C. bransfordii have now been identified as C. lauraster.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Craugastor bransfordii. In: IUCN 2014