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Atelopus certus Barbour 1923

Endangered (IUCN 3.1)

Common name

Darien Stubfoot Toad


This brilliantly colored toad is found only in Panama.



Species description based on Savage (1972). Moderately sized frog. Males to 32 mm; females slightly larger (to 42 mm). The ventral surface is spotted in males and unspotted in females.


The dorsal surface is bright red or yellow with numerous black spots of varying size.

Life history


The eggs are large and unpigmented (Duellman and Lynch 1969).


Tadpoles have a large mouth positioned ventrally as well as a large suction disc on the belly, used to cling to rocks and pebbles in streams (Duellman and Lynch 1969). Excellent illustrations of tadpoles may be found in Duellman and Lynch (1969).

Taxonomy and systematics


  • Kingdom:Animalia


Barbour 1923


Atelopus spurrelli certus, Atelopus varius certus

Type locality

"from a stream on Mt. Sapo, eastern Panama"

Habitat and distribution


Premontane and montane forest between 500 to 1150 m.


This species is endemic to Panama. It is known from a single mountain in the Darien region.


Atelopus certus distribution
Distrubution map (IUCN)


Duellman, WE and JD Lynch. 1969. Descriptions of Atelopus tadpoles and their relevance to Atelopodid classification. Herpetologica 25(4): 231-240.

Dunn, ER. 1931. New frogs from Panama and Costa Rica. Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History 5: 385-401.

Ibáñez, R, F Solís, C Jaramillo, and S Rand. 2000. An overwiew of the herpetology of Panama. In: Johnson, JD, RG Webb, and OA Flores-Villela. Eds. Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation. The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas.

La Marca, E, KR Lips, S Lötters, R Puschendorf, R Ibáñez, JV Rueda-Almonacid, R Schulte, C Marty, F Castro, J Manzanilla-Puppo, JE Garcia-Perez, E Toral, F Bolaños, G Chaves, JA Pounds, and B Young. 2005. Catastrophic population declines and extinctions in Neotropical harlequin frogs (Bufonidae: Atelopus). Biotropica 37(2)190-201.

Lötters, S. 1996. The Neotropical Toad Genus Atelopus. Checklist - Biology - Distribution. Vences, M and F Glaw. Eds. Verlags GbR, Köln, Germany.

Pounds, JA, MR Bustamante, LA Coloma, JA Consuegra, MPL Fogden, PN Foster, E La Marca, KL Masters, A Merino-Viteri, R Puschendorf, SR Ron, GA Sánchez-Azofeifa, CJ Still, and BE Young. 2006. Widespread amphibian extinctions from epidemic disease driven by global warming. Nature 439: 161-167.

Rivero, JA. 1963. Five new species of Atelopus from Colombia, with notes on other forms from Colombia and Ecuador. Caribbean Journal of Science 3: 103-124.

Savage, JM. 1972. The harlequin frogs, genus Atelopus, of Costa Rica, and western Panama. Herpetologica 28(2): 77-94.

Yotsu-Yamashita, M and E Tateki. 2010. First report on toxins in the Panamanian toads Atelopus limosus, A. glyphus and A. certus. Toxicon 55(1): 153-156.

Additional resources