Measuring less than one cm in length, the Brazilian Gold frog also known as “Saddleback toad” or “Brachycephalus sp.” are some of the smallest frogs endemic to South East Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest.
They are found at very high altitude, where they are adapted to low temperature and high humidity. As a result, the populations are isolated and form technically “sky” islands on mountain tops. Over 16 species have been described. As one can see from the photo, these amphibians have three toes on each foot, and two fingers on each hand, in contrast to the usual five digits of most frogs.
Whilst climbing in search of orchids in the recently purchased Lagoinha area with Helmut Seehawer last December, we came across a large number of these golden frogs in leaf litter. On taking a photograph, one gave an enormous silent roar in protest and then leapt away a massive distance by our standards to safety. We left them to their lives in this isolated world.
Our thanks to Rainforest Trust who provided funding to purchase this land. It is located at around 1000m above sea level and nestles next to Lagoinha farm.
IUCN states that species here at REGUA are of “least concern” and very well protected from deforestation, but we hope that climate change and pollution won’t affect them adversely.