Purple Harlequin Toad (Atelopus barbotini)

Purple Harlequin Toad
photo by Henk Wallays

Common Name: Purple Harlequin Toad or Purple Fluorescent Frog
Scientific Name: Atelopus barbotini
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: French Guiana
Size: 1 – 1.3 inches (25 – 34 mm)

Species or sub-species? That is the main question for the Purple Harlequin Toad. They were considered / still are a subspecies of the Pebas Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus spumarius). Two different papers have shown that the Purple Harlequin Toad and the Pebas Stubfood Toad are not the same species. Though one of the papers argued that they are a subspecies of Cayenne Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus flavescens). But then there’s more. Another group of researchers has shown that the toad is part of the Hoogmoed’s Harlequin Frog (Atelopus hoogmoedi) species complex. At the end of the day, who care’s? It’s really cute.

photo by Christopher McHale 

The International Union for the Conservation has not assessed the species because they don’t believe it is an independent species. However, the toad isn’t doing well. The whole genus Atelopus has been decimated by Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal disease. On top of that, deforestation and gold mining isn’t helping any of them.

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