Harlequin frogs: saving themselves from extinction


While a pathogenic fungus has wiped out entire populations of frogs and toads worldwide in the last 40 years, all is not lost on the other hand. This is because numerous frogs considered extinct have been rediscovered. Among these, the Atelopus frog was thought to be extinct in Ecuador in the 1980s, but was then rediscovered in 2016.

These amphibians known as harlequin frogs have large numbers of specimens declared extinct and then rediscovered. Experts for this “resurrection” of harlequin frogs have shown that as many as 32 species of this frog are still alive and well in the wild.

With 94 described species and an estimated 126-166 potential species, they can be used as a model to better understand the decline of other groups. Basically, if many harlequin frogs have been rediscovered, then other amphibians thought to be extinct may still exist.

A small hope for the rediscovery of many amphibians which however does not mean recovery. Yes, because even if they are not extinct yet, they are threatened by pathogenic fungus, habitat loss, climate change and low genetic variability. But now we can find new stimuli to be able to save them more quickly. If we understand the factors that allowed these species to resist, the search for the survivors will be able to be done more effectively.

  • These Harlequin Frogs Resurrected From Extinction Give Hope For Other Amphibians Too (


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