The Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes), was a small toad that was once abundant in a small region of high-altitude cloud-covered tropical forests above the city of Monteverde, Costa Rica. It inhabited an area of only about 20 square miles in area. It is now extinct possibly due to climate change brought on by global warming. This species was also known as the Monteverde Golden Toad, Monte Verde Toad, Alajuela Toad and Orange Toad.
Adults males measured just about 2 inches long. Unlike most toads, its orange skin was shiny and bright. Females were slightly larger and much different in appearance. Instead of being bright orange, they were colored dark olive to black with scarlet spots circled in yellow.
Though little is known about the behavior of the Golden Toad, their presence in the Cloud Forest Preserve was obvious during the mating season, which lasted only a few weeks. In April, after the dry season ended and the forest became wetter, males gathered in large numbers near puddles and wait for the females. Breeding lasted about a week. Males would fight each other for opportunities to mate. Once breeding was accomplished, the toads retreated to their burrows. Eggs were laid in clutches in water pools. After two months, the eggs hatched into tadpoles.
In 21 years since it was first discovered in 1966, the golden toads have been spotted as many as 1500 times. In 1988 only 10 or 11 specimens were recorded and none were recorded since May 15, 1989. Researchers were still hopeful as late as 1994 that the species was still existent in underground burrows, as similar species have lifespans of up to 12 years. By the year 2004, the IUCN listed the species as extinct. This was recorded as Costa Rica’s first extinction due to global warming, although this is not the only explanation for the loss of the species. Other possibilities include, changes in weather patterns, UV-B radiation, fungus or parasites, lowered pH levels, or even the presence of El NiÃ±o.