This species occurs in the lowest portion of the humid lower montane zone in the Cordillera de Tilarán, Cordillera Central, and Cordillera de Talamanca of Costa Rica and western Panama, from 1,100-1,650 m asl (Savage 2002).
Habitat and Ecology
It is a nocturnal tree frog occurring in humid premontane and lower montane rainforest areas. Males usually call from vegetation overhanging the fastest-flowing stretches of streams, 1-3 m above the water. Amplexus and oviposition are unknown for this species. Eggs are deposited under rocks in streams, and the tadpoles attach themselves to rocks by means of the large oral funnel (Savage 2002).
In Costa Rica, it had disappeared from Monteverde, Tapantí, and Las Tablas where it once was common. As of August, 2007, even though some survey effort has taken place in the range there were no new records from Costa Rica (F. Bolaños pers. comm.). However, the species was relocated in Monteverde in 2010 (F. Bolaños pers. comm. August 2010). In Panama, there were records from the Cerro Horqueta highlands of Chiriquí in 1982. It used to be seen regularly at the Reserva Forestal Fortuna, Chiriquí (Panama), but that population collapsed in January 1997. It has recently (2010) been reported within the Parque Internacional La Amistad on the Panamanian side, along Rios Changena and Hacha, where three individuals were found (Hertz et al. 2012).
The exact cause of the late 21st century declines is still unknown. Chytrid fungus has been confirmed from within this species' distribution (Puschendorf
This species has been recorded from a number of protected areas in Costa Rica. Further research is urgently needed into the ecology and population status of this frog as well as into the potential presence and impact of chytrid fungus; in view of the possible threat of chytridiomycosis, ex situ populations might need to be established.
This species was previously included in the genus Hyla but was later moved to the genus Isthmohyla (Faivovich et al. 2005).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & NatureServe 2013. Isthmohyla tica. In: IUCN 2014