Frog of the Week

Veragua Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus cruciger)

Veragua Stubfoot Toad
photo by Indiana Cristo

Common English Name: Veragua Stubfoot Toad and Rancho Grande Harlequin Frog
Local Name: Sapito Rayado
Scientific Name: Atelopus cruciger
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Venezuela
Male Size: 1.1 – 1.3 inches (28.2–34.6 mm)
Female Size: 1.5 – 2 inches (39.5–49.9 mm)

The toads mate during the dry season, where they can be found on rocks and vegetation near fast moving streams. The males call out for the females and when the females arrive, the male grabs her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female carries the male over to the stream. Amplexus can last up to 19 days for the species. Next, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays between 150 – 270 eggs in several clutches. The eggs hatch into tadpoles that use their abdominal suckers to attach to rocks in the fast moving stream.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Veragua Stubfoot Toad as Critically Endangered. The toads have disappeared from nearly all of its range. The culprit is Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal pathogen. Luckily, a few populations of the toad remain in some national parks and are surviving against the disease.

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