10 Amazing Animals Touched By Midas
By Bryan Nelson,
Mother Nature Network, 24 February 2015.

Midas was the king in Greek mythology who turned anything he touched into gold. It's possible he got his hands on these brilliantly adorned creatures. Here are 10 animals seemingly painted in gold.

1. Golden lion tamarin

Photo: su neko/Wikimedia Commons

It's obvious how these charismatic monkeys, distinguished by their mane-like gold coats, got their names. They're native to the Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil, but only an estimated 1,000 individuals remain in the wild because of deforestation and habitat loss. Suffice it to say, these monkeys are far more rare and special than their namesake colour.

2. Golden tortoise beetle

Photo: Ilona Loser/Wikimedia Commons

They look like they might be jewellery, but you'd be up for a creepy-crawly surprise if you found yourself wearing one of these. Golden tortoise beetles, sometimes called goldbugs, have shiny, metallic-coloured shells most of the time but are capable of rapidly changing to a dull brown when disturbed or frightened. Incredibly, they do this by changing the flow of fluid between the layers of their cuticles.

3. Golden apple snail

Photo: tallphotographist/DeviantArt

This cute little guy is an amphibious variety of apple snail. Not surprisingly, golden apple snails are popular as aquarium pets in large part because of their flashy appearance. Aside from their rich looks, though, they're also fascinating in that they have both a gill and a lung, making them adapted to both land and water habitats.

4. Golden slender mongoose

Photo: Karelj/Wikimedia Commons

Slender mongooses showcase a variety of coat colours, but perhaps the most striking variety is golden. These cute carnivores can be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa sneaking among the yellow savannah grasses. As befits their popular image, they are also as capable as other mongooses at hunting and killing venomous snakes - beautiful and deadly!

5. Golden eyelash viper

Photo: Geoff Gallice/Wikimedia Commons

Don't get too tempted by the golden batting eyelashes of these shiny serpents; they bite, and they are venomous. Nevertheless, their sharp gold complexion makes them popular as pets. Eyelash vipers aren't always gold-coloured, but are often bred that way because of the striking appearance.

6. Yellow tang

Photo: Luc Viatour/Wikimedia Commons

A wide variety of gold and yellow fish exists, especially among tropical species, but perhaps the most striking to represent them is the yellow tang, which is one of the most popular aquarium fish. Members of the surgeonfish family, their colour makes them difficult to miss. In the wild you'll find them swimming in shallow reefs in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

7. Gee's golden langur

Photo: Yathin S Krishnappa/Wikimedia Commons

These super-stylish monkeys, with hair colour that varies from gold to cream to rust, hail from India and Bhutan. Unfortunately, they're extremely endangered, with a population of barely more than 1,000 remaining in the wild in India. Conservation efforts are underway, but their habitat continues to be degraded by human activity.

8. American goldfinch

Photo: Rodney Campbell/Flickr

Gold is actually a relatively frequent colour in bird feathers; the American goldfinch makes for a familiar representative. Males alone showcase the rich plumage. Females play it modest with a dull, yellow-brown shade. Unlike so many other species, the goldfinch has actually benefited from human activity. They are often found as common visitors to bird feeders in residential areas.

9. Golden poison dart frog

Photo: Wilfried Berns/Wikimedia Commons

Endemic to the Pacific coast of Colombia, these precious little amphibians are actually seriously deadly. They get their name from the alkaloid toxin that coats their skin, which some native people have used for poisoning hunting darts. The frogs' poison is so lethal that it may even be the most poisonous of any living animal.

10. Golden bat

Photo: Top Breaking News HD/YouTube

Named after King Midas himself, Myotis midastactus is a newly recognized bat species hailing from the Bolivian savannah. Imagine the beauty of witnessing one of these tiny flying mammals hovering over golden Bolivian grasses during sunset!

Top image: Golden Slender Mongoose (Galerella sanguinea). Credit: Karelj/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Mother Nature Network. Edited. Top image added.]

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