to Gallery of Frogs of the World
American Toad (1999)
7" x 7"
-- the toads
This large family is well known
across most of the planet thanks mostly to its largest genus,
Bufo, the true toads, which has around 200 described species
distributed globally except for Madagascar and most of the Australasian
region, although the cane toad (Bufo marinus) has recently
been introduced to much of the latter. This mostly terrestrial
family has adapted to live in nearly every imaginable habitat.
The twenty-three or so genera are fairly uniform in structure,
mostly squat and heavy-bodied with a warty skin texture. A large
paratoid gland is often present behind each eye. These organs
secrete milky toxins that defend the animal against predators.
The pupils of all species are horizontally oval, and males have
a structure called a Bidder's organ, a vestigal ovary which can
become functional if the testes are damaged.
American Toad (Bufo
Across most of
Eastern North America the American toad is a common amphibian
that is frequently encountered in a variety of habitats. Spending
the daylight hours in hiding, it emerges at night to actively
gorge itself on invertebrates. On spring evenings the lovely
trill of the males can be heard around water bodies. The responding
females attach their eggs in long strings to submerged plants.
The newly hatched tadpoles are black, swim in shoals and develop
into toadlets after a few weeks.