Friday, March 20, 2009


A series of posts on random and awesome anuran species for those that love Amphibians.

Colorado River Toad (Bufo alvarius)

Nothing says love, like the grimace of an enormous toad. The Co. River Toad is best known for its potent skin excretions, which have been used by Native Americans as a hallucinogenic substance in cultural and religious ceremonies for hundreds of years.

Also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad, these toads are found in and around water sources in the Sonoran Desert region in Southern Arizona, SE Calif, and SW New Mexico.

This is a sizable toad, that can reach up to 7 inches in length and achieve a hefty girth. As with most frog species, the females are larger.

Notice the sizable paratoid glands (poison producing glands found behind the eyes) that are found in most toad species.

What 're YOU lookin at vato? Like all species of anuran (frogs and toads), they are carnivorous... eating any animals small enough to grab (with their mouth) and swallow.

Breeding takes place in temporary pools formed by the considerable summer rains.

The brownish tadpole will take about 1 month to metamorphose into an adult.

Fringed Leaf Frog (Cruziohyla craspedopus)

The Fringed Leaf Frog is found the rainforests of Western Amazonia; in Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Columbia, and Bolivia.

This frog is rarely seen, because it spend most of its time high in the trees where few people venture.

The pattern and "fringes" on the edges of the treefrogs limbs help it to blend in with the moss dappled surfaces of the trees and leaves they live on

The arboreal frogs only descend to the ground when cavities in fallen logs fill with water during the breeding season, where they lay their eggs.

Holy Cross or Crusifix Frog/Toad (Notaden benettii)

Crucifix Toads are found in arid areas of Eastern Australia. The name comes from the quite discernible cross pattern on the back. Although, I'm not sure how religious they are. You might think that the bright colors are to warn off predators, because of some powerful skin toxin...

However, in the case of Notaden, they defend themselves with a very sticky glue like skin secretion that gums up the mouths and fur/feathers of would be predators. The males will also glue themselves to the backs of the females temporarily for mating.

Though, in this close up picture it may seem an enormous frog, The Crucifix Toad reaches a length of only 2.5 in(male)/2.7 in(female). Their small mouths are perfect for a diet of ants and termites.

A small male calls to prospective mates. As with most anurans, it is the males that sing or call to the females. The females are believed to judge fitness as a mate, initially, on the quality of the song.

Mating usually occurs during the rainy season, when the frogs emerge from their subterranean burrows (where they have been encased in cocoons made from hardened skin secretions, to keep from losing body water).

These tiny froglets hop around in the shallows of the temporary desert pool where their parents deposited them as fertilized eggs. These pools are the main source for breeding and tadpole deposition for anurans that live in arid zones.

Side Note:

For many Anurans, that are in families other than the True Frogs (Ranidae) or True Toads (Bufonidae), you may see either the word "frog" or "toad" used for it. This can be arbitrary, based on evolutionary relationships with the aforementioned families, or based simply on appearance. Many people tend to call shorter, fatter, and/or anurans, "toad", while referring to more stream lined smoother anurans as "frog". Some people refer more terrestrial species as toads, while referring to more aquatic species as frogs. Often different people will refer to the same species by different labels. (ie. Crucifix Frog or Crucifix Toad)

Malayan Painted Toad or Malayan Painted Frog (Kaloula pulchra)?

Depends who you ask. They're fairly terrestrial and in the family Microhylidae (the Smallmouth Toads/Frogs), which is evolutionarily close to the True Toads, so I'm going with "toad" on this one.

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