Atelopus ignescens 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Bufonidae

Scientific Name: Atelopus ignescens (Cornalia, 1849)
Common Name(s):
English Quito Stubfoot Toad, Jambato Toad
Atelopus carinatus Andersson, 1945
Phryniscus laevis Günther, 1858
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).
Taxonomic Notes: Coloma, Lötters and Salas (2000) redefined Atelopus ignescens and restricted the species to the north-central Andes of Ecuador. Populations in northern Ecuador (in Cachi Province), and adjacent southern Colombia (Narino Department), previously assigned to Atelopus ignescens are now considered to belong to an undescribed species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2018
Date Assessed: 2016-07-17
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Neam, K.
Contributor(s): Cisneros-Heredia, D.F., La Marca, E., Coloma, L.A., Yánez-Muñoz, M., Bustamante, M.R., Reyes, J.P., Lötters, S., Santiago, R., Duellman, W.E. & Bolívar, W.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Acosta, A.N., NatureServe
This species was abundant throughout its distribution in the past, but its population was apparently decimated by a combination of climate change and chytridiomycosis and it was not seen after 1988. It was declared extinct in the previous assessment, but one subpopulation was discovered in 2016 within its geographic range. It is estimated that fewer than 250 mature individuals exist, with 100% of mature individuals in the single known subpopulation. The species is therefore listed as Critically Endangered.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Historically, this species is known from the Inter-Andean valleys and highlands of the major Andean Cordilleras of Ecuador, from Imbabura to Chimborazo and Bolívar Provinces. Once thought to be extinct, the species is now known from only a single site within its historic distribution following the discovery of an extant subpopulation in 2016 (Ecuador Red List Assessment Workshop July 2016). It occurs at elevations between 2,800-4,200 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Number of Locations:1
Lower elevation limit (metres):2800
Upper elevation limit (metres):4200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species was very abundant along streams until the 1980s, after which it became scarce and was last seen in 1988 in the páramos to the east of Cayambe (Coloma 2016). In cities, such as Quito, the most recent record of its presence dates back to 1983, in Chillogallo (Coloma 2016). Intensive surveys within its distribution range between 1999 and 2001 were not able to find the species (Bustamante et al. 2005). The species was therefore considered extinct, due mainly to the impact of chytridiomycosis on its population. However, 27 individuals, including a female with eggs, were found in 2016 in an unknown locality in the highlands of Ecuador (within its original distribution) and a few individuals were taken to quarantine (Sorgato 2016). There is no scientific publication reporting this finding yet. Apparently, this is the only known subpopulation of the species and it is estimated that it has < 250 mature individuals (Ecuador Red List Assessment Workshop July 2016). Surveys in the northern portion of its range (Quito Metropolitan Area) in the last ten years have not recorded the species (Ecuador Red List Assessment Workshop July 2016).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:27-249
Population severely fragmented:No
All individuals in one subpopulation:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:An inhabitant of humid montane forest, humid sub-páramo (high-altitude bushland), and páramo (high-altitude grassland). This is a stream breeding species and tadpoles develop in narrow, swift, rocky streams, at 19° C water temperature (Duellman and Lynch 1969). Animals were recorded from disturbed habitats, including modified grasslands, in the Inter-Andean valleys and residential areas close to Quito.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are accounts of this species being used for traditional medicine in the past (Coloma 2016), however there are no current records of the species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Its population probably decreased due to the synergistic effects of the disease chytridiomycosis-confirmed in this species-and climatic change (local warming and droughts). Habitat loss due to agricultural activities and fires in the paramos are also affecting this species' population. The introduction of the predatory non-native trout might also have contributed to some population declines, however this threat is unlikely to have caused the substantial decline of the species throughout its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
The known range of this species overlapped with several protected areas, including: Reserva Ecológica Cayambe-Coca; Reserva Ecológica Antisana; Parque Nacional Cotopaxi; Area Nacional de Recreación el Boliche; Reserva Ecológica Los Illinizas; Parque Nacional Llanganates; and Reserva de Producción Faunística Chimborazo in Ecuador. Developments for the creation of an ex situ assurance colony are ongoing.

Conservation Needed
A species recovery plan and continued research on the only extant subpopulation is urgently needed.

Research Needed
Research is needed to determine if the species is present in other areas within its range and there is a need for monitoring its population status.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2018. Atelopus ignescens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T54518A98641865. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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