Frog of the Week

Emei moustache toad (Leptobrachium boringii)

Emei Moustache Toad
photo by ZY Yao

Common Name: Emei Moustache Toad or Taosze Spiny Toad
Scientific Name: Leptobrachium boringii
Family: Megophryidae
Location: China
Size: male 3 inches (75 mm), while females are 2.6 inches (67 mm)

The Emei Moustache Toad receives its name after their mustache that the male frogs grow out during breeding season. The moustache is actually small keratinized nuptial spines that the males will use to fight each other. It is also believed that the males grow larger than the females to also aid in the fight. For frogs, usually the females are larger. The winner of the fight will get a better breeding territory and will have a better chance at mating.

Emei Moustache Toad
photo by Cameron M. Hudson, Jinzhong Fu

Breeding season is from February to March. The males will move into slow moving streams and will construct nests under rocks. Unlike most frogs, the males of the Emei Moustache Toad calls from underwater instead of above it. Once the female arrives at the nesting site, the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female will lay between 189 – 346 eggs eggs and the male will then fertilize them. After mating, the female will leave the water and return back to land. The male will stay and look after the eggs and protect them from predators. The eggs generally hatch in under two months. The tadpoles of the toad take a long time to complete their metamorphosis, up to three years.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the frog as Endangered The major threats to the frog is over collection for the pet trade and meals as well as habitat destruction due to tourism and dams. Also, the toads are only found in a few mountain regions in southwest China.

here’s a video of a fight

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