The Weekly Toad-bit

6 Jul

I was looking for some info about toads this morning–on the Internet, of course–when I realized many people don’t know how to tell the difference between a frog and a toad. So I figured I’d take a moment to enlighten everyone.

Though this will probably just confuse you more, all toads are actually frogs. Remember the classification scheme or “taxonomy” you learned about in high school biology? Frogs and toads are in the same order…

  • Kingdom = Animalia
  • Phylum = Chordata
  • Class = Amphibia
  • Order = Anura (frogs and toads)
  • Family = Bufonidae

It is when they get to “family” that things change. The critters, like those seen on the right, most people think of as toads are part of the Bufonidae family, also known as true toads. I borrowed the following text from FROGLAND:

These types of frogs are characterized by:

  • Stubby bodies with short hind legs (for walking instead of hopping)
  • Warty and dry skin (usually preferring dryer climates)
  • Paratoid (or poison) glands behind the eyes
  • The chest cartilage of toads is different also.
  • Toads tend to lay eggs in long chains. (There are some toads (genera Nectophrynoides), however, that are the only types of anurans to bear live young!)

True Toads can be found worldwide except in Australasia, polar regions, Madagascar, and Polynesia, though Bufo marinus has been artificially introduced into Australia and some South Pacific islands. Besides Bufo, the family includes 25 genera, all of which, like the frogs, are anura!

Since a nice, side-by-side comparison is available at FROGLAND, I won’t list it here. Instead, I’ll end this REALLY boring post with my favorite FROG photo.