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Sightings arranged by: Taxonomy Location Date Scientific Name
Atelopus spumarius — Common Harlequin Toad
Also known as:
Harlequin Toad, Pebas Stubfoot Toad
The beautiful little toads in this genus are faring poorly throughout their range in Central and South America; they seem especially susceptible to the troubles that are plaguing frogs worldwide, including the dreaded chytrid fungus.
At Madre Selva, Matt Cage, Sean Harper, Gina Harper, and I were doing the "long hike" through the forest. Matt pointed out the one known stream crossing where these toads have been seen regularly, and there we noticed that one of the MT Amazon Expeditions crew was already there and had found one little toad already. He found another one a few minutes later, and I found a third a little while after that.
Here is a complete list of the herps I saw in the wild on my 2013 MT Amazon Expeditions trip.
On our last full day at Madre Selva, the same four of us were hiking the long trail one final time and found three more of these beautiful toads near that stream crossing. Sean found at least two of them; I think it was Matt who found the third. Despite their striking colors and patterns, they blend in really well to the multicolored Amazon forest floor, and are surprisingly hard to notice.
Last year I saw several of these beautiful toads by day, near a particular bridge over a particular stream. This year I couldn't find any by day, and the only one I saw was this one that eagle-eyed MT Amazon Expeditions staff member Edvin found at night.
Here is a complete list of the herps I saw in the wild on my 2014 MT Amazon Expeditions trip.
I revisited that particular bridge over that particular stream again on my next visit. This time I was hiking alone during the morning, and after maybe twenty minutes of searching I did find one toad in the leaf litter. A couple of days later I returned to this spot with three other people and we failed to find any toads, though we did have an exciting snake encounter. I'm not happy about the fact that these toads seemed easier to find in 2013 than in 2014 or 2016 at the same place and same time of year, but on the other hand that's obviously not enough data to warrant any conclusions.
My Travelogues and Trip Lists page includes a complete list of the herps I saw in the wild on my 2016 MT Amazon Expeditions trip.
On the good news front, a couple of nights after I had seen one of these toads in the usual spot, I found one resting at night, off of a different trail quite a distance away. So there is more than the one well-known localized population in this particular area of forest.
- Bartlett, R.D., and Bartlett, P. 2003. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Amazon: An Ecotourist's Guide
- Duellman, W.E. 2005. Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest
- Rodríguez, L. O. and Duellman, W. E. 1994. Guide to the Frogs of the Iquitos Region, Amazonian Peru