This species is found in the mountains in the immediate vicinity of the town of El Valle de Antón, in both Coclé and Panama provinces, central Panama, at elevations between 900 and 1,150 m asl (Mendelson et al. 2008). All currently known sites (3-4) are on the Pacific versant, but it is possible that this species may be found on the Atlantic slope near Altos de Maria. It is suspected to be endemic to the vicinity of El Valle (Mendelson et al. 2008).
Habitat and Ecology
A forest canopy dweller, this species inhabits tropical premontane forests. Individuals are most often found in primary forest, but can also occur in secondary forest (Mendelson et al. 2008). Active at night, males call throughout the year, but there appears to be a peak of reproductive activity at the onset of the rainy season (mid-March to May). Eggs are deposited just above the water line on the exposed wood or bark inside tree holes. Clutches range from about 60-200 eggs. The males remain at the hole in attendance of eggs and tadpoles, while females disperse soon after oviposition (Mendelson et al. 2008).
This species was uncommon in the region during field surveys in 2005-2006, although one or two males could be heard calling each night during that time. After the detection of chytrid fungus in the region, the species is much less common. Calls are no longer heard at known localities, but in December 2007, one individual was heard in deep forest on Cerra La Gaita (Mendelson et al. 2008).
The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been reported for the area where this species is known to occur (Mendelson et al. 2008). Only one individual has been heard since the chytrid fungus was detected in 2006 (Mendelson et al. 2008; J. Mendelson pers. comm. September 2009). There is some ongoing forest clearing within the species' range for the development of luxury holiday homes, although it has not yet reached critical levels (J. Mendelson pers. comm. September 2009).
This species has been one of several to be collected for captive breeding efforts at the Valle de Antón (a total of five individuals, including one female; J. Mendelson pers. comm. September 2009). So far, however, attempts at breeding have not produced positive results (J. Mendelson pers. comm. September 2009). Local herpetologists continue to conduct surveys regularly (J. Mendelson pers. comm. September 2009).
Mendelson, J.R. & Angulo, A. 2009. Ecnomiohyla rabborum. In: IUCN 2014