The range of this species is not well known. Its known extent of occurrence (EOO) covers an area of 785 km² along the Amazonian slopes of the north-eastern Andes and in the Huancabamba depression in northern Peru (Cajamarca and Piura Regions). It occurs between 1,920 and 3,100 m asl, reaching the summit of the cordillera between Chanaque and Huancabamba (Duellman 2004).
Habitat and Ecology
This little-known cloud forest species is active along streams by day, and has been found under rocks within and along streams at night (Duellman 2004). Eggs are presumably laid in leaf-litter on the forest floor; once tadpoles hatch, adults transport them to muddy pool habitats in streams to complete development. Larval transport and free-swimming tadpoles of this species have been recorded in February (Duellman 2004).
The species is not abundant, but no detailed population information is available.
Where it has been recorded in the Huancabamba depression it is threatened by deforestation and agricultural activities (mostly cultivation of potatoes). The fungal disease chytridiomycosis was first reported from Peru in 1998 (Lips et al. 2008), and has been associated to severe declines and extinctions among Andean amphibians, especially of high-elevation, stream-breeding frogs with small ranges (Whittaker and Vrendenberg 2010). It is however unknown whether this disease represents a specific threat to this species. As a cloud forest species of mountain summits, this frog may be susceptible to the effects of climate change, either through desiccation of its habitat or from the invasion of species from lower elevations into newly-suitable area; however, further research is needed to determine the impacts of this potential threat factor.
It is not known to occur in any protected areas (Aguilar et al. 2010). Further research is needed into this little-known species regarding the limits of its range, population trends, threats and tolerance of habitat modification.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2012. Hyloxalus sylvaticus. In: IUCN 2014