Frog of the Week

Eastern Narrowed Mouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Eastern Narrowed Mouth Toad
photo from the USGS

Common Name: Eastern Narrowed Mouth Toad
Scientific Name: Gastrophryne carolinensis
Family: Microhylidae
Location: United States
US Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia
Introduced Locations: Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Puerto Rico
Size: 1 – 2.1 inches (25 – 53 mm)

The Eastern Narrowed Mouth Toad is found naturally in the southeastern United States but have been introduced to some Caribbean Islands. They are a fossorial species, often hiding in burrows of other species or under logs and leaf litter. The toads come out during the night to hunt for food items such as ants, termites, or small beetles.

photo by Fredlyfish4

The males can be distinguished from females because their throats are dark and highly pigmented while the female’s throat doesn’t have this coloring. The breeding season is between March and October, depending on location. More southern locations breed earlier than northern locations. The male frogs start calling starts after a heavy rain fall event in temporary pools created by the rain. Once, the female arrives, the male will grasp them from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female will lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. Total number of eggs laid is all over the place. Some say 850 and other say at least 1000. Who knows how many eggs are laid but its a lot of eggs. Neither parent will provide any parental care.

The eggs hatch fast, only 2 days after being laid. The tadpoles take 20 – 70 days to complete their metamorphosis. Interesting fact, the tadpoles of the toad are filter feeders of plankton.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the toad as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range and are pretty stable throughout it.

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