Panamanian Golden Frog

South America


Males: 1.5 – 2 inches (3.81 – 5.08 centimeters) Females: 2 – 3 inches (5.08 – 7.62 centimeters)

Males: 0.11 – 0.18 ounces (3 – 5 grams) Females: 0.14 – 0.25 ounces (4 – 7 grams)

High mountain forest streams of Panama.

Critically Endangered

Atelopus zeteki

The Panamanian golden frog is Panama’s national animal. It is a cultural symbol that represents good fortune and is seen on everything from t-shirts to lottery tickets. In Pre-Columbian times, they were revered by indigenous people and images of this frog were crafted in gold and clay charms and objects called huacas.

Their bright gold-yellow color warns potential predators that it is very toxic and would be dangerous to eat. Out of all Atelopus species, adult Panamanian golden frogs are the most toxic. One frog contains enough toxins to kill 1,200 mice! 

In shallow areas of streams, females produce long strands of cream-colored eggs, attaching them to pebbles or rocks that are sheltered from the sun. As she lays her eggs, the male fertilizes them and tadpoles hatch about nine days later. The tadpoles are white, changing after a few days to a dark brown or black with golden flecks.

Male Panamanian golden frogs can be seen waving their front feet to each other. They "wave" their hands to attract a mate, or to greet one another but, mostly, this territorial frog is saying, “stay away”! This behavior is known as “semaphoring”, and is believed to have evolved in order to communicate in a noisy environment, like the streams where these frogs live.


Small invertebrates near streams

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