Female Toad Mountain Harlequin Toad (Atelopus certus) at the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project. This species is threatened by the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) outbreak. Photo by Rhett A. Butler
In recognition of Amphibian Ark winning mongabay.com’s 2011 conservation award, our pictures of the day this week will focus on amphibians.
Atelopus certus is an endangered species of harlequin toad that is endemic to the Darien region of eastern Panama. It is primarily at risk from the spread of chytridiomycosis, a deadly fungal disease, that has been killing amphibians through Central America and other parts of the world.
Atelopus certus is presently a focus of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project at the Summit Municipal Park near Panama City, where the individual above was photographed.
The are more than 80 species of Harlequin frogs, as they are more popularly known (toads are a subgroup of frogs), across Central and South America. The group has been especially hard hit by chytridiomycosis — many Harlequin toads are endangered and several are believed extinct.
Harlequin frogs are named for an unusual gesture they use to communicate: hand waving. Hand waving is used in in a range of social situations, including “friendly” interactions and hostile confrontations.