Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Bufonidae

Scientific Name: Atelopus simulatus
Species Authority: Ruíz-Carranza & Osorno-Muñoz, 1994
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).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-08-01
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Angulo, A.
Contributor(s): Quevedo, A., Rueda-Almonacid, J., Cortés, O. & Bolívar, W.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Nowakowski , J.
This species was once common, but is now very rare. It has not been seen in recent years; however, there has been little survey effort within its range. Given evidence of past declines and lack of current data, a precautionary approach is needed to the assessment of the species; from the lack of recent records, it is inferred that it is possibly extinct or that an extant population is very small (<50 mature individuals). However, additional sampling effort is urgently needed before it can be declared Extinct or reassessed under a different criterion.
Date last seen: 2003
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Critically Endangered (CR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known from the central Andes of Colombia, from Cauca, Huila, and Tolima Departments, where it occurs between 1,950 and 3,000 m asl. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 8,090 km².
Countries occurrence:
Colombia (Colombia (mainland))
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1950
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Before 1999 this was a common species, but it has only been recorded twice since then (once in 2001 and once in 2003) despite several searches. Since 2003, however, there has been little survey effort within the range, and no information is available on current population status; therefore, it is not known if declines are ongoing (O. Cortés pers. comm. August 2014). However, it is apparent that a serious decline has taken place in the past.  

Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 0-50
Population severely fragmented: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in montane forests and subpáramo (Bernal 2005). It can be found on the ground near streams and also in open areas. It has not been recorded from anthropogenically disturbed habitats. The tadpoles develop in streams.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threats to this species likely include chytridiomycosis, which has been implicated in catastrophic population declines in many other montane species of Atelopus, and habitat loss due to agricultural expansion (including the planting of illegal crops). Water pollution from agriculture is also a threat to the species. Climate change might also be a threat, but this needs to be investigated further.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in the Roncevalles protected area (O. Cortés pers comm. August 2014). Further survey work is urgently needed to determine whether or not this species still survives, and if so, whether it has been exposed to chytrid fungus. Additional habitat protection is also needed in view of ongoing habitat loss.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Atelopus simulatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T54551A49537837. . Downloaded on 07 October 2015.
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