P is for Panamanian Gold Frog
Panamanian gold frogs are unique – living in a very noisy environment, next to rushing water, they have evolved a way to communicate to signal to rivals and to mates by semaphore.
The male frog is about 40 mm, and bright gold with black spots – the female is larger, about 55 mm and completely gold. They are actually classed as toads despite being smooth skinned and looking like frogs – in fact they bear a superficial resemblance to poison dart frogs. They excrete a water soluble neurotoxin to deter predators.
In 2007 these frogs’ habitat and habits were filmed for ‘Life in Cold Blood’ with David Attenborough. This turned out to be the last time they will ever be filmed in the wild, as soon after this they were attacked by the chytridiomycosis fungus, a fungus that is spreading across the world and wiping out many species of amphibian. After it struck, the remaining frogs were searched for, collected and taken into captivity. So now it is virtually sure they are extinct in the wild.
These frogs have been classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species.
Here is a another quickie poem:
Panamanian Gold Frog
By the fast and noisy stream,
his golden skin damp and agleam,
he can’t be heard, but can be seen,
and so he’s understood for sure,
perched on a rock, hard to ignore,
the gold frog croaks by semaphore -
a wave to call, a wave reply,
gold frog has waved a last goodbye.
Videos and information about these toads at the BBC: BBC website.
If you’d like to read more about these frogs, click here: Wikipedia.
If you’d like to read about the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species, click here: IUCN Red List.
Poem, illustration and all not otherwise protected © Liz Brownlee – this post is copyright material with all rights reserved, please do not re-post elsewhere – you may link to it.