Chiriquí harlequin frogs went extinct in 1996 due to a fungal disease that has driven the decline of 501 amphibian species
It was a remarkably elaborate mating ritual. When a male Chiriquí harlequin frog found its mate, it would climb on to the female’s back, grip its armpits with its forelimbs and hug it. Females of the species were often twice as large as the males, and they would remain in this mating clasp for days or even months – depending on when the female was ready to lay her eggs. During this time, the male might forgo eating and lose up to 30% of its body weight, but it was willing to wait.
It has been almost 30 years since a scientist last witnessed this act. In 2019, with little fanfare, the species was declared extinct.