Purple Harlequin Toads Prove That Frogs Aren't The Only Brightly-Colored Beauties

When we think about frogs and toads, those of us in North America tend to think of frogs as wet and smooth and toads as dry and bumpy, but that's not really the case.

What we call frogs or toads are all anura, which are just tailless amphibians. At a scientific level, they are considered the same, just grouped into families based on specific characteristics.

Depending on where you live, you may call some toads and some frogs, but technically, they are all frogs. Toads are just a type of frog.

When scientists look at different species and categorize them, they usually look to factors like reproductive style and how close the frog needs to stay to water to survive.

Typically, frogs put into the toad category can survive longer in drier climates and they don't always follow the same "eggs, tadpoles, frogs" life cycle.

Which is a long way of saying that this lovely purple amphibian may be smooth-skinned, but it's a toad.

But it's also a frog.

Yes, sometimes science annoys me too.

The purple harlequin toad, Atelopus barbotini, is very rare. They are endemic to a small upland habitat in French Guiana.

Due to their limited habitat, their existence is under continued threat.

Unsurprisingly, such vibrant creatures are also popular in the pet trade, so conservation efforts are in place to help prevent too many from being taken.

Conservationist organizations and zoos have also tried to establish breeding programs, but all Atelopus species seem to struggle to thrive in captivity.

Still, the search is on for a safe and healthy way to breed them and protect the species.

Experts such as Nick Stacey, who runs the Fragile Planet Wildlife Center in Texas and shares his conservation efforts on Reddit as indicator_species continue to experiment.

Captive breeding would both grow the worldwide population and poachers wouldn't be incentivized to smuggle them out of the country to sell to collectors.

So it's a win-win, because they sure are pretty, aren't they?

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