Rhinella marina — Cane Toad
Some other names for this species:
Giant Toad, Marine Toad, Spring Chicken (Belize)
The genus Rhinella was split from Bufo by Frost et al in 2006, then redefined by Chaparro et al in 2007 to include this species. Most references still use the long-established Bufo marinus for this species.
This large ravenous toad has been introduced accidentally and deliberately in many places around the world. It's the infamous "Cane Toad" of Australia, for example. But it's native to Central America.
These tiny toadlets were a-hopping all over the shores of a peaceful lagoon in the Rio Claro. They had obviously just graduated from the tadpoling life and were about to begin eating their way to tremendously large adult toadhood.
Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Golfito region, Puntarenas province, Costa Rica—September 24, 2001
Here's a nice big chunky adult, one of dozens we saw galumphing around the Golfito area. A particularly large individual spent its evenings eating cat food from the dish of the lodge's resident kitty.
Garden of Red Mill House, Daintree, Queensland, Australia—February 13, 2003
Rhinella marina was introduced to northern Queensland in 1935 in an attempt to control the population of a type of beetle that was ravaging the sugar cane crops. The toads ignored the cane beetles, but began ravaging everything else in sight instead. They have immense appetites, breed by the zillions, and secrete poisonous gunk that makes them unpalatable to all but a tiny handful of native Australian animals (and dangerous to many). When we went out on wet nights in tropical northeast Queensland, we saw a variety of native frogs, but the cane toads outnumbered them at least 20 to 1. The toad pictured here looks like he's hanging his head in shame at what his species has done to the native wildlife.
This little toadlet was hopping around on the beach. It can be tough to tell tiny little toads apart, but as far as I've been able to tell Rhinella marina is the only real candidate in this area, and this sure looks exactly like the ones I saw in Costa Rica.
In their inexorable all-devouring march across Australia that started in Queensland in 1935, the cane toads reached the Top End just a few years ago. They are now the most plentiful amphibians in the area. The government has tried various programs to stop their spread, but they are unstoppable.
Ive written up an account of this three-week trip to Australia here.
This ex-toad apparently ended its life in a doomed attempt to squeeze into a too-narrow space, probably in pursuit of some tasty native invertebrate. Maybe the Australian government can find some way to turn this into an idea for a new toad eradication program.
Mommy, what large parotoid glands you have!
"This is my pool, bub. Stay the heck away."
There were a lot of tiny toadlets hopping about the Santa Cruz field station. This one caught my eye as looking different than the others, but Dick Bartlett told me that it was indeed just another R. marina.
Cane Toads patrolled a large concrete pond in front of the hotel by day and by night.
Cane toads always look to me as if they are in the midst of serious philosophical thoughts.
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