Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Amphibians » Harlequin Frogs True Toads and Relatives: Bufonidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, True Toads, Harlequin Frogs, Their Relatives, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET

Harlequin Frogs True Toads and Relatives: Bufonidae - Golden Toad (bufo Periglenes): Species Accounts

males females april accessed

Physical characteristics: Only male golden toads are golden, and they actually are more orange than gold. Some people even call them orange toads instead. The females are very dark green, almost black, with red markings. Both males and females have thin, bony-looking bodies, much different than many of the plump toads in this family. Their front and hind legs are quite thin. Besides their colors, males and females are different in size. The females are the larger of the two, growing to 1.7 to 2.2 inches (4.2 to 5.6 centimeters) long from snout to rump. The males usually reach 1.5 to 1.9 inches (3.9 to 4.8 centimeters) in length.

Geographic range: Now extinct, golden toads once lived along a mountain ridge in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve of Only male golden toads are golden, and they actually are more orange than gold. Some people even call them orange toads instead. The females are very dark green, almost black, with red markings. (Illustration by Brian Cressman. Reproduced by permission.) northwestern Costa Rica. For this reason, some people call it the Monteverde toad.

Habitat: Golden toads lived in mountain rainforests 4,920 to 5,250 feet (1,500 to 1,600 meters) above sea level.

Diet: Scientists had not yet learned about its diet before it became extinct in 1989.

Behavior and reproduction: The studies of this toad were mainly done during the breeding season, so very little is known about its behavior outside of mating and egg-laying. When heavy rains fell in the rainforest where this toad lived, hundreds of males would appear in groups. Scientists are not sure whether the males called. They did, however, notice that the number of males always outnumbered the females at a breeding site. Often, when a male would climb onto the back of a female to mate, one or more other males would begin wrestling with the first for the chance to push him off. If they were successful, one of these males would hop on the female, which would start yet another battle. The females laid their eggs in strings, and the eggs hatched into 1.2-inch (3-centimeter) tadpoles.

Golden toads and people: Following the extinction of this species, scientists became very concerned about the disappearance of frogs and toads around the world. The golden toad now serves as a symbol for amphibian conservation efforts.

Conservation status: Although scientists had seen large mating populations of the golden toad until 1987, its numbers dropped greatly in 1988 when only two females and eight males appeared at their normal breeding site. In 1989, a single, lone male arrived for mating season. He was the last golden toad ever seen. Although scientists do not know for sure, they think that infection with the chytrid fungus, pollution, and/or global warming, combined with the very small area in which they lived, may have caused the species to die out. ∎



Badger, David. Frogs. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 2000.

Crump, Martha L. In Search of the Golden Frog. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Halliday, Tim, and Kraig Adler, eds. The Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians (Smithsonian Handbooks). New York: Facts on File, 1991.

Inger, Robert F., and Robert B. Stuebing. A Field Guide to the Frogs of Borneo. Kota Kinabalu: Natural History Publications, 1997.

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Meyer, John R., and Carol F. Foster. A Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Belize. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Co., 1996.

Miller, Sara Swan. Frogs and Toads: The Leggy Leapers. New York: Franklin Watts, 2000.

Savage, Jay M. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

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"Look Out for Toads on Roads!" Current Events, a Weekly Reader publication. April 25, 1994 (vol. 93): page 3.

O'Neill, William J. "Guard Your Garden With a Hungry Toad." Child Life. April-May 2002 (vol. 81): page 10.

Web sites:

"American Toad." eNature, National Wildlife Federation. http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpeciesRECNUM.asp?recnum=AR0006 (accessed on April 12, 2005).

"Ansonia longidigita." CalPhotos. http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=&enlarge=0000+0000+0903+0287 (accessed on April 9, 2005).

"Cane Toad, Giant American Toad, Marine Toad." BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/392.shtml (accessed on April 12, 2005).

"Colorado River Toad." Yahooligans! Animals. http://yahooligans.yahoo.com/content/animals/species/4529.html (accessed on April 12, 2005).

"Giant Marine Toad." Utah's Hogle Zoo. http://www.xmission.com/hoglezoo/animals/view.php?id=21 (accessed on April 12, 2005).

"Toothless Predator." American Museum of Natural History. http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/frogs/featured/toothless.php (accessed on April 9, 2005).

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over 7 years ago

I was out with my dog at 4 am and found the orange toad. I dont know what to do with him please I want to make sure he goes some place that can take care of him. Thank You Lori Russell