The Costa Rican toads include two fairly obvious groups; the true toads in the genus Bufo, and the harlequin frogs in the genus Atelopus.

Few examples of a crisis and conservation concerns are as poingent, or dire as that of the toads in Costa Rica.

Of the 14 species of toads listed for this small republic, 4 or more of them are already thought to be extint, or nearly so. The most famous of these lost amphibians is the Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes). While this once spectacular explosive breeder would show up at breeding pools with the rains annually in the Cordillera de Tilaran in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, they have not been seen since 1987. A Google image search still yields close to 5000 results for “Golden Toad”. The species lived recently enough to be relatively well photographed, but it is now extant, only in memory, and as specimens and jpegs.

Marine Toad (Bufo marinus)–above. One of the 14 species of toads found in Costa Rica. This one is in the family subfamily Bufoninae, a Bufo or “true toad”. Note the classic warty skin, and the swollen bumps behind the eyes. Bufos produce toxins to make themselves unpalatable to things that would eat them.
Bufo sp. another of the “true toads”
(Atelopus zeteki) is an example of a harlequin frog. These harlequin “frogs” and the toads in the genus Bufo are members of the toad family Bufonidae. The species above, the Panama Golden Frog is found in neighboring Panama. The Costa Rican Atelopus species included several abundant or very common examples. Most of of these species suffered dramatic population declines in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and are now locally extinct.
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