This species of frog is endemic (only found) in the mountain slopes of the Central Cordilleran rainforests of west-central Panama.
These terrestrial frogs are found in two types of habitat wet and dry tropical montane forests, with breeding and development occurring in forest streams.
- Panamanian golden frogs are one to two inches long (2-5 cm).
- Dry forest males weigh 0.11-0.18 ounces (3-5 gm); females weigh 0.14-0.25 ounces (4-7 gm).
- Wet forest males weigh 0.28-0.42 ounces (8-12 gm); females weigh 0.35-0.53 ounces (10-15 gm).
- Adults are gold in color with black markings on the back and legs.
- They have elongated narrow fingers and toes with extensive webbing between most digits.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: Insects and a variety of small invertebrates.
At the zoo: Crickets and fruit flies.
What Eats It?
Snakes prey on adult frogs.
Panamanian golden frogs are solitary except during breeding. Males are territorial and do not allow adults other than gravid females to approach their territory.
Like all frogs, Panamanian golden frogs undergo a metamorphosis starting out as eggs that hatch into tadpoles that live in the water breathing oxygen through gills. The tadpoles slowly change into adult frogs growing legs, absorbing the tail, losing the gills and developing lungs enabling them to breathe oxygen in the air. Breeding occurs from November through January. Males establish territories – perching on rocks and defending territories using semaphores or hand signals to warn other males away. They also vocalize although it is hard to hear due to the water sounds in their habitat. Once the male attracts a receptive female, mating occurs. The female releases a single string of cream-colored fertilized eggs that attach to a boulder or bedrock. The average clutch size is 370 eggs. The tadpoles hatch from the eggs in seven to 11 days. The tadpoles are black or greenish to blend into their surroundings. They have a large sucker on the belly that helps them adhere to objects on the bottom of the stream so they don’t float away with the current. The tadpoles gradually change into juvenile frogs with vivid green and black markings providing camouflage against the moss and rocks in their habitat. They acquire their golden color once they reach the adult size. Lifespan is unknown in the wild but they have lived in captivity up to 5 years.