Four mutant frogs with gold skin and red eyes, found by children in a grassy field in the town of Shimanto in Kochi prefecture, have gone on display at the nearby Shimanto River Gakuyukan science center.
According to a center spokesperson who says the golden specimens are highly unusual, the 2.4-centimeter (almost 1-inch) amphibians appear to be black-spotted pond frogs (Pelophylax nigromaculata, a.k.a. Rana nigromaculata) whose skin turned gold because of an albino mutation that prevents the formation of pigment cells. With a run of bad luck that has brought shrinking visitor numbers and a recent theft of 1.25 million yen (about $10,000), the center hopes the golden frogs are a sign of good fortune to come. Oddly, they look sort of like feng shui money frogs (Chan Chu), except that money frogs have three legs.