The Monteverde Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes), like this brightly colored male on the right, was once one of the most amazing sights in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica. It would emerge annually out of the ground for the breeding season by the thousands. Only a year after they were first carefully studied, however, the Monteverde frogs suddenly dissapeared! In 1988, scientists could only find 10 of the beautiful Golden Toads, and none of them were mating. In 1989 only one adult male was seen, and since that time, no one has seen these amazing frogs!
Click on the picture to go to a page with more information about these frogs.
The Western Toad (Bufo boreas), also called the Boreal Toad, was once a common resident of the mountains of western North America. In 1973, however, the entire toad population was suddenly struck by illness. Throughout the wilderness of Colorado, these toads were suddenly being found with puffy red legs and were dying of an infection brought on by a horrible collapse of their immune system. By 1979, the Colorado study population appeared to have become extinct.
There are still so many incredible species of frogs out there from which scientists could learn a great deal. The Gastric Brooding Frog (Rheobatrachus silus), for example, was only discovered in 1972. It was a very interesting frog as it would actually brood its young in its stomach. Scientists were particularly interested in this because during the brooding, the stomach did not produce hydrochloric acid - knowledge which could be very usefully applied to medicine if we could learn how it works. Unfortunately, these frogs have completely dissapeared and are now believed to be extinct, so we may never learn its secrets.
Click on its picture to read more about this weird frog.
Deformed frogs have been appearing all over the place! This photo was taken by a group of Minnesota students who were taking part in a Nature Studies class in August of 1995. Frogs with defects like this one have a harder time surviving in the wild.
Click on the picture to go to their homepage and read what this group has done about the problem.
Picture by Judy Helgen
Copyrighted by Judy Helgen and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
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Even some of the seemingly common frogs are facing perils - sometimes in our own backyards! In Canada, for example, The Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) was until very recently one of the most common animals in the National parks. In the 1980s, the frog population plunged. The government of Alberta even put out a "wanted poster," displaying a photo of the frog with the words "Have You Seen This Frog?"
Click on the picture to read more about these frogs.
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