In Colombia, this species is known from the lower Río San Juan (Departmento Chocó) and Rio Calima (Departamento Valle del Cauca), and from an area close to the headwaters of the Río Amparradó (Municipio Dabeiba, Departmento Antioquia). Although it may be widespread throughout the Chocoan lowlands, as indicated on the accompanying map, it is known with certainty from only these three localities (T. Grant pers. comm. Feb 2011). It has been found between 70 and 805 m asl (Myers 1991, Myers and Grant 2009). The Panamanian form is found in the south of the isthmus.
Habitat and Ecology
The area where this frog occurs is characterized by lowland humid tropical forest, but no specific information is available on this species' habitat in Colombia (T. Grant pers. comm. Feb 2011). The known Panamanian locality is characterized by steep, very humid hill forest (Myers 1991). Related species are associated with rocky streams, to which adults transport larvae that hatch from eggs deposited in leaf litter, so it is presumed that this species reproduces in a similar way.
This is an extremely rare species, known only from three individuals in Colombia (Myers 1991, Grant et al. 1997, Myers and Grant 2009). No specimens have been collected in this country since the 1980s (T. Grant pers. comm. Feb 2011). The Panamanian subpopulation is described as being reasonably common in some localities by Coloma et al. (2004).
One of the known sites, Bajo Calima, is located within a logging concession, but specific threats elsewhere in this species' range are unknown (T. Grant pers. comm. Feb 2011). If this species is found to breed in streams, it may also be at risk from the introduction of alien invasive predatory fish into these habitats.
It is not known from any protected areas in Colombia. Surveys are needed to relocate this species at its known localities and to establish its extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) between these sites, as well as its habitat requirements, population trends and susceptibility to threatening processes. Additional taxonomic work is needed to clarify the identity of the Ecuadorian subpopulation. If it proves to be threatened, the establishment of ex situ populations may be required. The Panamanian subpopulation is known from Parque Nacional Chagres.
According to Grant et al. (1997), the Ecuadorian populations are not conspecific with the Colombian and Panamanian populations. In this account, the Ecuadorian populations are treated under Hyloxalus chocoensis, pending final taxonomic resolution of this problem.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2013. Hyloxalus chocoensis. In: IUCN 2014