Stories of secret and rare frogs worth thousands

I’ve been seeing a quite a few of these guys on the islands, a common red morph of Oophaga pumilio. However, I just heard a tale of a VERY rare and secret morph. This same species comes in several different color variations, and some of them are very endemic and localized. In fact, I heard a rumor that on a location in the province, another biologist had found one that was pure white with bright gold spots, as if it had shiny gold coins all over its back. He showed me a picture and I was completely blown away. It was absolutely gorgeous, unlike any morph I had ever seen. However, the exact place  where this morph occurs (containing probably less than 100 individual frogs) is a closely guarded secret.  There has been a huge problem of foreigners and locals coming and collecting these beautiful and sometimes rare frogs for the pet trade. Very rare morphs can be worth huge sums of money running into the thousands of US dollars.

I asked if I could have a copy of the picture or if he could show me. No, not even picture. Though he trusts me, it is on a strict need to know basis and currently only 3 people know were to find it. It is likely that if even a photo was posted and a rough location of its whereabouts, collectors would intensively search for it. When very unusual morphs have been discovered in the past, a couple populations have even been collected into extinction.

So, I have found 3 or three more morphs in the last couple days. Nothing too exciting, but for me it is a chance to appreciate these animals in the wild were they belong. Snap a few photos and hope that they remain safe in their own little worlds.



  1. What a lovely frog…. And how fascinating. Such a shame that their beauty can’t be shared with the world, for fear of their exploitation and eventual destruction. But thank goodness they’re being loved and protected. ♥

  2. Beautiful texture!!! Cheers Nonoy Manga

  3. Nice frog! Good work!

  4. Thanks everyone. I have so many to upload. I am back in Panama after a week in Costa Rica (see my new post) and now I’ll be neck deep in cute frogs =)

  5. Pingback: A frog wearing blue jeans « Entangled in Green

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