• Praveena Tandoc

The Golden Toad

Incilius Periglenes or the golden toad is an amphibian of the true toad species. They are the only amphibian species to have gone extinct, after 25 years of their discovery.

And the cause of their disappearance is somewhat a bit odd with several theories. These species are inhabited in Costa Rica, in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve due to low elevations in the reserve.

The male toads were 5.5 cm in length and they were orange or brilliant burnt yellow in color. The female toads were slightly bigger than the males, about 5.6 cm in length. They had a variety of colors ranging from green, black, white, red, they also had lines and spots down their sides.

The species breed during the rainy season in which the male toads would gather in puddles awaiting the female toads to mate. The female toads then lay their eggs in the puddles of rainwater.

They were first discovered in 1964. At the time of the discovery, there were approximately 1,500 adult toads recorded. But in 1988, 24 years after its discovery, scientists found only about 10 golden toads. And in 1989 they were able to find only one golden toad.

As the years went on there were no sightings of the golden toad it was as if they had vanished from the face of the earth.

In 2004 the IUCN declared that the species had gone extinct. The species were indeed gone from the face of the earth never to be seen again.

There are several theories on how the species had gone extinct. Amphibians have semi-permeable skin in which water passes through it, due to human activities such as deforestation, burning of fossil fuels, etc, it could have affected the water bodies in which the toads use their semi-permeable skin to absorb oxygen in the water, however, since the water bodies are polluted with harmful pollutants it makes them vulnerable to pollution and could’ve caused some diseases.

The other theory is that the species were subjected to Chytridiomycosis which is caused by the chytrid fungus, a fungus that affects the population of amphibians. The fungus is caused by climate change which has altered the pattern of growth of the fungus making the species more vulnerable to the fungus.

The golden toad, such an admirable creature who once jumped and hopped on this planet, unfortunately, had gone extinct due to our greediness over resources and which is now making other species like those who are endangered more susceptible to the extinction of their species.