10 Amazing Animals Touched by Midas

Living treasure

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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. (Text: Bryan Nelson)

Golden lion tamarin

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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 color.

Golden tortoise beetle

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They look like they might be jewelry, 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-colored 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.

Golden apple snail

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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.

Golden slender mongoose

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

Golden eyelash viper

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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-colored, but are often bred that way because of the striking appearance.

Yellow tang

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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 color makes them difficult to miss. In the wild you'll find them swimming in shallow reefs in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Gee's golden langur

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These super-stylish monkeys, with hair color 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.

American goldfinch

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Gold is actually a relatively frequent color 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.

Golden poison dart frog

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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.

Golden bat

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