Harlequin toad

Atelopus_varius_1

 

Profile

The harlequin toad is a is a small amphibian living is central America and South America. Despite their name, harlequin toads are actually frogs and are sometimes called harlequin frogs. Due to their bright colors, these frogs are also called clown frogs. These colors can be orange, green, yellow, brown, black, blue,  and even purple! Some species may look a lot like the corroboree frog. The underside of harlequin toads is white, yellow, orange, and/or red. There are eighty-two species in this genus. The animals in this genus are sometimes also called stub-foot toads. Due to how rare these frogs are, there is not a lot of information, and some websites are conflicting on the data they give. Others may only give information on a certain species. Despite this I will do my best to give you information about this amazing animal.

Diet

As with most amphibians, the harlequin toad is insectivorous. Some of the invertebrates these animals eat include spiders, caterpillars, flies, and ants.

Size

Harlequin toads are small to medium sized depending on the species. Some species can be as small as one inch (2.4 cm) while others can reach up to two and a quarter inches (5.5 cm). Females are generally larger than males.

Threats and status

Harlequin toads have a deadly poison on their skin much like poison dart frogs. Because of this, there are not many predators of this animal, although crabs have sometimes been observed feasting on these animals. Habitat loss however is deadly for harlequin toads, and most of the harlequin toad species are classified as either endangered or critically endangered. Some are even thought to be extinct. Chytrid fungus, which is a threat to many amphibians around the world, is also harming harlequin frogs. This fungus affects the amphibians’ skin making it hard for them to breathe and absorb water, which they do through their skin. Another threat to these colorful frogs is the parasite known as the sarcophagid fly. This insect lays its eggs on the frogs’ skin, and after hatching, the young burrow into their host and eat it.

Mating, eggs, and young

I could not find what time of year these animals mate, but the females will lay their eggs in a stream or other body of moving water. The male fertilizes the eggs as the female lays them. From 30 to 75 eggs are laid at one time in long strings. In as little as thirty-six hours the eggs hatch. The tadpoles have a flattened body and have suckers on their abdomen. This helps them not to float away with the current. In captivity these animals can live for up to ten years.

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Sources:

Photo credits

  • Harlequin toad – Brian.gratwicke
  • Mystery animal – Muhammad Mahdi Karim

 

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