This species is known from Cuautlapan, central Veracruz, and Vista Hermosa in the Sierra de Juárez, north-central Oaxaca, Mexico, above 1,800m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
Individuals of this species have been found in rainforest (cloud forest). It breeds by direct development.
Formerly an abundant species (E. Smith pers. comm.), at present it is hard to find more than one or two specimens during the course of an evening's fieldwork suggesting a recent population decline.
The accelerated rate of transformation of the original forests in northern Oaxaca is certainly the cause of the decline of amphibian populations in the Sierra de Juárez region. Both regions where the species is found are under extreme pressure from local human populations with some parts completely transformed by agriculture and logging. However, it is not clear whether the recent decline reported in this species is solely due to habitat degradation, or whether some other factors might also be at play.
Urgent protection of the Sierra de Juárez forests is needed. There are no federal protected areas in this region, and those that do exist are "ejidal", meaning they belong to several local owners with no legal and continuous protection. This species is protected by Mexican law under the "Special Protection" category (Pr).
This species was previously included in the genus Eleutherodactylus (Crawford and Smith 2005).
Georgina Santos-Barrera, Gabriela Parra-Olea 2004. Craugastor spatulatus. In: IUCN 2014