(image via: Charles H. Smith)
The Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes) has not been seen since 1989 and was declared to be extinct in 2004. Biologists aren’t sure if these distinctive toads succumbed to the effects of global warming or the chytrid fungus that has been decimating amphibians worldwide… perhaps both. It’s possible the disease weakened the species, making it more vulnerable to climate change.
Formerly confined to a very small habitat in Costa Rica’s cloud forest, the Golden Toad was prone to population booms in ideal weather conditions. Unfortunately, this is a sword that swings both ways. One curious fact about this regrettably lost creature is that only the males’ skin was bright, shiny and golden. Females were much more drab by comparison.
Emei Mustache Toad
(images via: NCBI)
If the Emei Mustache Toad (Vibrissaphora boringii) sounds weird from its name alone, one look just magnifies the strangeness to alien invasion proportions! Found only in parts of China’s Sichuan, Guizhou, and Hunan provinces, males of this lavender-hued toad species grow a row of 10 to 16 sharp spikes along their upper lips which they use when fighting rivals during the breeding season. Once courtship rituals have end and eggs are laid, the spikes fall off and the toads get down to peaceful parenting.