Play Ameerega silverstonei Call
Central Peru, restricted to the Cordillera Azul near Tingo Maria. Found no lower than 1350 meters elevation and reportedly occurs to at least 1800 meters.
This species is stunning to behold. Only once you reach the cool, misty summits of the Cordillera Azul are you within the range of this montane specialist. Its habitat is a place of perpetual dampness and cold, with daytime temperatures on the ground typically around 21 C (70 F), and at night reaching 12-15 C (53-60 F). Though every man, woman, and child from the area is familiar with this memorable frog, they can be very difficult to find among the thick vegetation typical of those elevations. When seen, they are usually under logs or underneath large piles of leaves and are very shy. We were unable to find tadpoles of this species, though they reportedly breed in backwaters of small streams and puddles.
Current populations appear to be a shadow of what they once were. Much of this frogs habitat has been cleared for cattle pastures and tea farms. The remaining populations have been decimated by heavy smuggling activity for the past 15 years. The status of this species in the wild is potentially fragile and the time to begin a conservation initiative is now.
This species is sister to a large clade containing bassleri/pongoensis/bilinguis. This species is unique and does not share recent common ancestry to any extant poison frog, though is well supported within the genus Ameerega.
Prior to the official description in 1979, this species was known to many people but under incorrect names, such as Phyllobates bicolor.