Prehistoric Wiki
Golden toad (Bufo periglenes)
Golden Toad.jpg
Male Golden Toad
















B. periglenes


Costa Rica

Time range

1.8 mya-Recent

The Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes) is a small, recently extinct frog in the family Bufonidae. It was once abundant in a small region of high-altitude cloud-covered tropical forests, about 30 square kilometers in area, above the city of Monteverde, Costa Rica. For this reason, it is sometimes also called the Monteverde golden toad, or the Monte Verde toad.

The golden toad was one of the first species driven to extinction by climate change brought on by humans. Despite conservation efforts, not a single B. periglenes is reported to have been seen anywhere in the world since 1989, and it is classified by the IUCN as an extinct species.


Although being known as a toad, the golden toad was smooth-skinned and frog-like in appearence. However, it is commonly classified as a toad, for it had paratoid glands that true frogs lack. Like frogs, the holden toad had a distinctive smooth, moist skin. This led some biologists to believe that the creatures were in fact frogs. Adult males measured just barely 5 centimetres (2.0 in) long. Males have been described as being "Day-Glo golden orange", and and unlike most toads their skin was shiny and bright. Jay Savage was so surprised upon first seeing them that he did not believe they could be real; he is quoted as saying: "I must confess that my initial response when I saw them was one of disbelief and suspicion that someone had dipped the examples in enamel paint."


File:Bufo periglenes amplexus.png

Golden toads in amplexus.

Very little is known about the behavior of B. periglenes; however, it is believed that they lived underground, as they were not seen for most of the year. In contrast, their presence in the Cloud Forest Preserve was obvious only during their mating season, which lasted only a few weeks. B. periglenes reproductive behavior was, for the most part, typical of many toads.


For a few weeks in April, after the dry season ended and the forest became wetter, males would gather in large numbers near ground puddles and wait for the females. The males would fight with each other for opportunities to mate until the end of their short mating season, after which the toads retreated to their burrows. Eggs were laid in seasonal water catchments in clutches, the average size of which was 228 eggs. After two months, they hatched into tadpoles.

Males outnumbered females, in some years by as much as ten to one, a situation that often led bachelors to attack amplectant pairs and form what Savage once described as "writhing masses of toad balls." The eggs of the golden toad, black and tan spheres, were deposited in small pools--puddles--often no more than one inch deep. Tadpoles emerged in a matter of days, but required another four or five weeks for metamorphosis. During this period, they were highly dependent on the weather; too much rain and they would be washed down the steep hillsides, too little and their puddles would dry up.