This species is known only from Argentina, where it has a fragmented distribution in the following provinces: Buenos Aires (undescribed subspecies); Córdoba (M.s. stelzneri); San Luis (M.s. stelzneri), and Salta (M.s. spegazzinii). It occurs from sea level up to 1,750m asl. De la Riva et al. (2000) and Köhler (2000) consider that this species might occur in Bolivia.
Habitat and Ecology
It occurs in grasslands with rocky outcrops. Explosive breeder. The gelatinous egg masses are attached to the submerged stems of temporary shallow ponds, streams, and bogs. In San Luis, reproduces in roadside ditches. Somewhat tolerant of habitat changes as long as water sources do not disappear.
It is very common in isolated populations in Córdoba. However, the subspecies M.s. spegazzini has not been seen since it was discovered (it was described in 1961).
None. Adapts well to agriculture, occurring in rice plantations. This species is harvested for the international pet trade in Argentina.
Occurs in several protected areas, including the Pampa de Achala Hydrological Reserve. Monitoring of numbers extracted for pet trade needed. Surveys are needed to relocate the subspecies M.s. spegazzini.
Two subspecies recognized: M.s. stelzneri and M.s. spegazzinii. Argentinean populations previously referred to as M.s. fulvoguttatus belong to Melanophryniscus klappenbachi. This form is probably a complex of more than one species.
Esteban Lavilla, Diego Baldo, Lily Rodríguez 2004. Melanophryniscus stelzneri. In: IUCN 2014