Frog of the Week

Panamanian Golden Frog (Atelopus zeteki)

Panamanian Golden Frog
photo by Brian Gratwicke 

Common Name: Panamanian Golden Frog, Zetek’s Golden Frog, or Cerro Campana Stubfoot Toad
Scientific Name: Atelopus zeteki
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Location: Panama
Max Size: 1.7 – 2.4 inches (45 – 63 mm) for females, 1.3 – 1.8 inches (48 mm) for males

While the name for this cutie is the Panamanian Golden Frog, it is technically a toad since it’s from the family Bufonidae, the True Toads. Also, it is also referred to as the Zetek’s Golden Frog because the scientific name was named for Dr. James Zetek, an American entomologist who became an authority on Panama’s natural history.

This froggie resides only in Panama near rapid-flowing, small streams, but possibly not anymore. They have not been seen in the wild since 2007. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes them as Critically Endangered and Possibly Extinct in the Wild. They believe there could be as little as 50 individuals left in the wild. The only known frogs live in zoos and conservation breeding programs. Chytrid Fungus, over harvesting, and habitat destruction all contributed to the status of the species.

photo by cuatrok77

These frogs are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and rest during the night like us. Another weird thing that they do is that they can climb up to around 10 feet high in trees. The Panamanian Golden Frog is the most poisonous Atelopus species.

Breeding season starts at the end of the wet season / start of the dry season (November-January). Females will move back from the forest to the streams while the males stay by the streams year round to stake out their territory. The males warn other male’s about their territory by waving their hands.

Once a female approaches a male frog, the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the females will lay her eggs in the stream while the male fertilizes them. The female averages around 370 eggs in a clutch.

Leave a Reply