The toad is endemic to the Darien region of eastern Panama, and its type locality is Cerro Sapo (literally "toad mountain"), giving it its common names Darien stubfoot toad and Toad Mountain harlequin frog.
The species is threatened primarily by the advancing wave of chytridiomycosis moving through Central America, and secondarily by habitat loss, although much of its range falls within the Darién National Park, a protected area and world heritage site. Because so many other Atelopus species are in steep declines, this amphibian is seen as a priority species for ex situ conservation. In June 2010, a team of conservation partners working under the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project mounted an expedition to the Darien and brought back a founding population of these frogs to begin an ex situ conservation program at Summit Municipal Park near Panama City. A documentary film about this effort was aired in 2011 on Smithsonian Networks entitled Mission Critical: Amphibian Rescue.
- Solís, F.; Ibáñez, R.; Jaramillo, C.; Fuenmayor, Q. (2004). "Atelopus certus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
- Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Atelopus certus Barbour, 1923". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
- Brian Gratwicke: In search of the Toad Mountain Harlequin Frog - Accessed September 28, 2010
- Barbour, T. 1923. Notes on reptiles and amphibians from Panama. Occasional Papers Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan 129:1-16. (Atelopus spurrelli certus, p. 12)