Sunday 26 September 2021

Variable Harlequin Toad On Extinction List

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This is the Costa Rican Variable Harlequin Toad (Atelopus varius), also known as the clown frog, is a neo-tropical true toad from the family Bufonidae (Crump 1986).

Once ranging from Costa Rica to Panama, A. varius is now listed as critically endangered and has been reduced to a single remnant population near Quepos, Costa Rica (rediscovered in 2003) and is presumed to be extinct in Panama (IUCN, personal correspondence 2007).

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Recent variation in air temperature, precipitation, stream flow patterns, and the subsequent spread of a pathogenic chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) linked to global climate change have been the leading cause of decline for A. varius (Lips et al. 2003 and Pounds et al. 2006).

A. zeteki has been considered a subspecies of A. varius, but is now generally considered a separate species (Savage, 2002).

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