Atelopus zeteki Dunn, 1933

Panamanian golden toad



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Atelopus varius zeteki Dunn, 1933


Conservation Status

Extinct in the wild

Last record: 2007 or later

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct in the Wild)


This species is probably extinct in the wild since the late 2000's. Captive populations are maintained, however. Viability of reintroduction is unknown at this time.





Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Dunn, E. R. (1933). Amphibians and reptiles from El Valle de Anton, Panama. Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History 8: 65-79.

Other references:

ANAM. 2011. Plan de accion para la conservacion de los anfibios en Panama. Panama City: Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente.

Avery, Cecile. (2016). Comparison of Growth Rates in two Captive Bred Species of Atelopus (Anura; BUFONIDAE), at El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center. Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. Paper 2390.

Becker, Matthew H. et al. (2021). Genetically modifying skin microbe to produce violacein and augmenting microbiome did not defend Panamanian golden frogs from disease. ISME Communications 1: 57.

Brown, G. B., Kim, Y. H., Küntzel, H., Mosher, H. S., Fuhrman, G. J., & Fuhrman, F. A. (1977). Chemistry and pharmacology of skin toxins from the frog Atelopus zeteki (Atelopidtoxin: Zetekitoxin). Toxicon 15(2): 115-128. [Abstract]

Bustamante, H. M., Livo, L. J. and Carey, C. (2010). Effects of temperature and hydric environment on survival of the Panamanian golden frog infected with a pathogenic chytrid fungus. Integrative Zoology 5(2): 143-153. [Abstract]

Cocroft, R. B., McDiarmid, R. W., Jaslow, A. P., & Ruiz-Carranza, P. M. (1990). Vocalizations of eight species of Atelopus (Anura: Bufonidae) with comments on communication in the genus. Copeia 1990(3): 631-643.

Della Togna Nieto, Gina. (2015). Structural and functional characterization of the Panamanian golden frog ([i]Atelopus zeteki[/i]) spermatozoa - impact of medium osmolality and cryopreservation on motility and cell viability. Dissertation, University of Maryland. [Abstract]

Duhé, Samantha. (2018). Using HotSpotter Animal Individual Recognition Software in the Detection of Ontogenetic Pattern Changes in Panamanian Golden Frogs (Atelopus zeteki). Honors Projects and Presentations: Undergraduate. 9.

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2019. Atelopus zeteki. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T54563A54341110. Accessed on 05 July 2022.

Jaynes, Kyle E. et al. (2022). Harlequin frog rediscoveries provide insights into species persistence in the face of drastic amphibian declines. Biological Conservation 276: 109784.

Karraker, N. E., Richards, C. L., & Ross, H. L. (2006). Reproductive ecology of Atelopus zeteki and comparisons to other members of the genus. Herpetological Review 37(3): 284-287.

Kim, Y. H., Kim, Y. B., & Yotsu-Yamashita, M. (2003). Potent neurotoxins: tetrodotoxin, chiriquitoxin, and zetekitoxin from Atelopus frogs in Central America. Toxin Reviews 22(4): 521-532. [Abstract]

Lindquist, E.D. (1995). Atelopus zeteki (Panamanian golden frog). Pure tonal vocalization. Herpetological Review 26(4): 200-201.

Lindquist, E.D. and Hetherington, T.E. (1996). Field studies on visual and acoustic signaling in the "earless" Panamanian golden frog, Atelopus zeteki. Journal of Herpetology 30(3): 347-354. [Abstract]

Lindquist, E.D. and Hetherington, T.E. (1998a). Tadpoles and juveniles of the Panamanian golden frog, Atelopus zeteki (Bufonidae), with information on development of coloration and patterning. Herpetologica 54(3): 370-376. [Abstract]

Lindquist, E.D. and Hetherington, T.E. (1998b). Semaphoring in an earless frog: the origin of a novel visual signal. Animal Cognition 1(2): 83-87. [Abstract]

Lindquist, E.D., Hetherington, T.E. and Badgley, D.D. (1999). Atelopus zeteki (Panamanian golden frog). Attempted predation. Herpetological Review: 36.

Lindquist, E. D., Sapoznick, S. A., Griffith-Rodriguez, E. J., Johantgen, P. B., & Criswell, J. M. (2007). Nocturnal position in the Panamanian golden frog Atelopus zeteki (Anura, Bufonidae), with notes on fluorescent pigment tracking. Phyllomedusa 6(1): 37-44.

Karen Lips, Frank Solís, Roberto Ibáñez, César Jaramillo, Querube Fuenmayor. (2010). Atelopus zeteki. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. ( Downloaded on 10 February 2013.

Lindsey N. Pelych, Wynona Shellabarger, Mark Vassallo, Erica Noland, Dodd Sledge and Susette E. Aquino. (2019). Ophthalmic findings in a captive population of Panamanian golden frogs: Atelopus zeteki. Veterinary Ophthalmology. doi: [Abstract]

McCaffery, Rebecca et al. (2015). The demography of Atelopus decline: Harlequin frog survival and abundance in central Panama prior to and during a disease outbreak. Global Ecology and Conservation 4: 232-242.

Poole, Vicky. (2006). Panamanian Golden Frog Husbandry Manual, Second Edition. Available online at: [Accessed 10 February 2013]

Ramírez, Juan P. et al. (2020). Recent and Rapid Radiation of the Highly Endangered Harlequin Frogs (Atelopus) into Central America Inferred from Mitochondrial DNA Sequences. Diversity 12(9): 360.

Ramos, C.W., Pimentel, N. and Martinez-Cortes, V. (2002). Karyotype of the endemic golden frog Atelopus zeteki (Dunn) from Panama. Caribbean Journal of Science: 268-270.

Ranvestel, A. W., Lips, K. R., Pringle, C. M., Whiles, M. R., & Bixby, R. J. (2004). Neotropical tadpoles influence stream benthos: evidence for the ecological consequences of decline in amphibian populations. Freshwater Biology 49(3): 274-285.

Roseen, J. S. and Fuhrman, F. A. (1971). Comparison of the effects of atelopidtoxin with those of tetrodotoxin, saxitoxin and batrachotoxin on beating of cultured chick heart cells. Toxicon 9(4): 411-415. [Abstract]

Shindelman, J., Mosher, H. S., & Fuhrman, F. A. (1969). Atelopidtoxin from the Panamanian frog, Atelopus zeteki. Toxicon 7(4): 315-319. [Abstract]

Yotsu-Yamashita, M., Kim, Y. H., Dudley, S. C., Choudhary, G., Pfahnl, A., Oshima, Y., & Daly, J. W. (2004). The structure of zetekitoxin AB, a saxitoxin analog from the Panamanian golden frog Atelopus zeteki: a potent sodium-channel blocker. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101(13): 4346-4351.

Zigler A, Straw S, Tokuda I, Bronson E, Riede T. (2023). Critical calls: Circadian and seasonal periodicity in vocal activity in a breeding colony of Panamanian golden frogs (Atelopus zeteki). PLoS ONE 18(8): e0286582.


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