Frog of the Week

Large-Webbed Bell Toad (Bombina maxima)

Large-Webbed Bell Toad
photo by Benjamin Tapley

Common Name: Large-webbed Bell Toad and Yunnan Firebelly Toad
Scientific Name: Bombina maxima
Family: Bombinatoridae – Fire bellied Toad family
Locations: China
Size: 1.7 – 2 inches (44 – 51 mm)

The Large-webbed Bell Toad lives high in the mountains near swamps, ponds, and ditches. Like other fire bellied toads, they have a bright colored belly that shows off that they are toxic. When threatened, the toad arches its back to show off their stomach to warn off the predator. Also, they can secrete a white mucus to deter the predator from eating them. The toad breeds from May to June.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list assessed the Large-webbed Bell Toad as Least Concern with Extinction. The toad has a large range and are thought to be numerous throughout it.

Frog of the Week

Hot Creek Toad (Anaxyrus monfontanus)

Hot Creek Toad
photo by William Flaxington

Common Name: Hot Creek Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus monfontanus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: United States – Nevada
Size: 2.3 inches (60 mm)

The Hot Creek Toad is a new species to science. Once considered to be a population of the Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas), they were elevated to full species status in 2020. Like most toads, the Hot Creek Toad is nocturnal. Not much about its life history has been confirmed but its probably similar to the Western’s Toad

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not assessed the conservation status of the Hot Creek Toad. However, the toad is thought to be rather threatened. They live in a small area in the Hot Creek Canyon area.

Frog of the Week

Long-snouted Tree Frog (Taruga longinasus)

Long-snouted Tree Frog
photo by Milivoje Krvavac
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Long-snouted Tree Frog, Sharp-snout Saddled Tree Frog, and Southern Whipping Frog
Scientific Name: Taruga longinasus
Family: Rhacophoridae – Asian Tree Frog family
Locations: Sri Lanka
Male Size: 1.6 – 1.8 inches (41-47 mm)
Female Size: 2.2 – 2.3 inches (57-60 mm)

The Long-Snouted Tree Frog lives in the tropical mountainous forests of southwestern Sri Lanka. The frog spends most of its life high up in the trees. They come down lower in the tree during mating season. The mating season coincides with the rainy season. The frogs make a foam nest on a branch overhanging a pool of water. The nest helps keeps the eggs from drying out. Eventually, the eggs hatch and tadpoles fall out of the tree and into the water below.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Long-snouted Tree Frog as Endangered. The frogs live in a small area on the island. This area is threatened by increasing urban development, agricultural development, and harvesting wood in the area.

Frog of the Week

Iberian Midwife Toad (Alytes cisternasii)

Iberian Midwife Toad
photo by Benny Trapp

Common Name: Iberian Midwife Toad
Scientific Name: Alytes cisternasii
Family: Alytidae – Midwife Toad and Painted Frog family
Locations: Portugal and Spain
Size: Males – 1.4 inches (36 mm) | Females 1.7 inches (42 mm)

The Iberian Midwife Toad lives in the drier scrub-like environment of eastern Portugal and western Spain. The toad is rather fossorial, burrowing down into this loose dry soil.

Mating season lasts from September to March, peaking around October and November. The males call out every night on land to attract the females. Once the female arrives, the male grabs her from behind in the amplexus position. Next, she lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. Now comes the interesting part. The male wraps the egg mass around his legs. He can then go out and mate with more females, capable of carrying up to 4 clutches at a time.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Iberian Midwife Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The species has a wide range and are thought to be numerous throughout it. In some areas, the toads are disappearing due to destruction of their habitat.

Frog of the Week

Japanese Common Toad (Bufo japonicus)

Japanese Common Toad
photo by Yasunori Koide 

Common Name: Japanese Common Toad
Scientific Name: Bufo japonicus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Japan
Size: 3.1 – 6.9 inches (80 – 176 mm)

The Japanese Common Toad lives on the islands of Kyusyu, Shikoku, Hokkaido, and Honshu of Japan. They have also been introduced to the island of Izu Oshima. Additionally, they live in a wide range of habitats from coastal areas to high in the mountains. The toads vary in color from a dark green, yellowish brown, to dark brown. Like most toads, they are active during the night and hide during the day.

Two subspecies of the toads are recognized by some researchers. The subspecies are the Eastern Japanese Common Toad (Bufo japonicus formosus) and the Western Japanese Common Toad (Bufo japonicus japonicus). The western subspecies is slightly larger than the eastern.

Mating

The breeding season for the toads is late winter / early spring from February to March. The toads migrate to ponds and swamps to breed. They use odor cues to find their way to these water bodies. In the pond, the males outnumber the females, leading to fighting and scrambling for a mate. The males try to grasp the females from behind in the amplexus position. Next, the female starts to lay her eggs. The females lay between 1,500-14,000 eggs. Then, the male fertilizes the eggs. Neither parent provides any care for their offspring. The eggs hatch into tadpoles shortly after. Then, the tadpoles complete their metamorphosis in June.

Conservation for the Japanese Common Toad

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Japanese Common Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The species populations are decreasing but not at an alarming rate. The main cause of the declines is habitat loss from the urbanization of their land.

Frog of the Week

Hurter’s Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus hurterii)

Common Name: Hurter’s Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Scaphiopus hurterii
Family: Scaphiopodidae – American Spadefoot Toad family
Locations: United States and Mexico
US Locations: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma
Size: 1.75 – 3.25 inches (4.4 – 8.3 cm)

The Hurter’s Spadefoot Toad is named after naturalist Julius Hurter, former curator of the St. Louis Academy of Science. They were once considered a subspecies of the Eastern Spadefoot Toad but was moved to being a full species. Like all Spadefoot Toads, the Hurter’s Spadefoot Toad is mostly fossorial, spending most of its time in burrows underground. They have keratonized sheaths on their rear feet that they use to help dig. Spadefoot toads can be distinguished from other groups of toads due to their vertical, cat-like eyes.

The easiest time to find a Hurter’s Spadefoot Toad is during the breeding season from late spring into summer. They breed following heavy storms that fill up temporary pools of water. Mating only lasts a day or two so you need to get out there quick. The males will call out from the shallows of the pools to attract a mate. Once the mate arrives, the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female will lay her eggs and then the male will fertilize. Neither parent provides any care for the offspring. The eggs hatch in 48 hours and the tadpoles complete their metamorphosis in two weeks. This is due to the limit time they have before the pond dries up. Surprisingly, the tadpoles will eat each other if there isn’t enough food in the ponds.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Hurter’s Spadefoot Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The toad has a wide range and presumed large population.

Uncategorized

Two New Toad Species from the Western USA

Two new species of true toads from the family Bufonidae, the True Toad family was discovered in the state of Nevada in the United States. They were confused with the Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas), very much like the newly discovered Dixie Valley Toad (Anaxyrus williamsi). Researchers, Michelle R. GordonEric T. SimandleFranziska C. SandmeierC. Richard Tracy, performed genetic testings to discover the new species.

photo by M. R. Gordon

 Railroad Valley Toad (Anaxyrus nevadensis)

The name of the toad comes from the area it was found, the Railroad Valley. They are a rather small toad, averaging only 2.5 inches long. Another distinguishable trait of the Railroad Valley Toad is their mottled stomach.

photo by M. R. Gordon

Hot Creek Toad (Anaxyrus monfontanus)

Just like the Railroad Valley Toad, the Hot Creek Toad is named after the area that they are found in. They are smaller than the Railroad Valley Toad, only averaging around 2.3 inches (59.6 mm). The Hot Creek Toad has rather larger parotoid glands (ball behind the eye) for such a small toad.

The life history of the toads are not much different than the most other toads. They are nocturnal, emerging from their burrows at night to hunt and eat.

You can read the full scientific paper here – https://bioone.org/journals/Copeia/volume-108/issue-1/CH-18-086/Two-New-Cryptic-Endemic-Toads-of-Bufo-Discovered-in-Central/10.1643/CH-18-086.full

Toad Tuesday

Western European Spadefoot Toad (Pelobates cultripes)

Jean-Laurent Hentz

Common Name: Western European Spadefoot Toad, Iberian Spadefoot Toad, Spanish Spadefoot Toad, and Wagler’s Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Pelobates cultripes
Family: Pelobatidae – European Spadefoot Toad Family
Locations: France, Portugal, and Spain
Size: 4.9 inches (12.5 cm)

The Western European Spadefoot Toad gets its name due to the spades on its rear feet. The toad uses these spades to burrow down in the ground, over 7 inches deep. They prefer habitat with sandy soils or loosely compact soils since its easier to dig there. The toad is nocturnal so it is hard to find but they often come to the surface after rains.

The Western European Spadefoot Toad breeds from October to May. Males will call from temporary pools to attract females. Females will sometimes call too. Once the female selects a mate, the male will grasp the female frog behind in amplexus. The female will then lay her eggs and the males will fertilize them. Females will lay between 1000 – 4000 eggs. The tadpoles take 4 to 6 months to complete their metamorphism.

The Western Spadefoot Toad is listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The habitat they call home is being destroyed for more urban development. Introduced species, such as the Louisiana Crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and the Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki), feed on the tadpoles and eggs, decreasing their population.

Uncategorized

Sonoran Green Toad (Anaxyrus retiformis)

photo by William Flaxington

Common Name: Sonoran Green Toad, Pima Green Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus retiformis
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Arizona
Size: 1.5 – 2 inches (40 – 49 mm)

The Sonoran Green Toad is known for their yellow / green spots on the dark black background. The toad has lived over 15 years in captivity, which is relatively long for a toad. They are a highly fossorial frog, spending most of their days underground.

Once the summer rains come, the male Sonoran Green Toad comes to temporary filled pools to breed. The males will start to call from grass surrounding the pools to attract females. They are known as explosive breeders due to them only mating for a few days compared to weeks like other frogs. The females will carry the male from the grasses to the water where the females will lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. The two toads will then part ways and provide no care for the offspring. Females will lay between 5 to 200 eggs. The eggs will hatch into tadpoles in 2 – 3 days. Then, the tadpoles take 2 to 3 weeks to complete their metamorphosis.

Uncategorized

European Green Toad (Bufotes viridis)

euro_green_toad.jpg
photo by Umberto Salvagnin

Common Name: European Green Toad
Scientific Name: Bufotes viridis
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the Ukraine
Size: 4.7 inches (120 mm)

The European Green Toad is a beautiful toad found in varies habitats throughout Europe including forests, steppes, and deserts. Like most toads, the Green Toad is mostly fossorial, spending their time burrowed underground. They are estimated to live as long as 10 years.

The European Green Toad can reproduce in a wide range of habitats, including ponds, swamps, stream pools, and lakes. Most toads and frogs can only breed in fresh water while the Green Toad can breed in fresh and brackish (slightly salty) water. The reproduction season is wide ranging from February to July depending on location. Males will call from the shallows to attract females. Males and females will pair up in amplexus position. The females will lay their eggs and males will then fertilize them. The females can live between 5,000 and 13,000 eggs.