For instance, many members of the families Bombinatoridae,
Discoglossidae, Pelobatidae, Rhinophrynidae, Scaphiopodidae, and
some species from the Microhylidae family are commonly called
"toads". However, the only family exclusively given the common
name "toad" is Bufonidae, the "true toads". Some "true frogs" of
the genus Rana, have also adapted to burrowing habits, while the
species within the toad genus Atelopus are conversely known by
the common name "harlequin frogs".
The type species of the family Bufonidae is the Common Toad, Bufo bufo, and around it cluster a large number of species of the same genus and some smaller genera. B. bufo is a tailless amphibian of stout build with a warty skin and any animal that shares these characteristics is liable to be called a toad, regardless of its location in formal taxonomy.
Almost all toads of the family Bufonidae have two lumps on either side of the back of their head, called the parotoid glands. These glands contain a poison, which oozes out if the toad is stressed. Some, like the Cane Toad Bufo marinus, are more toxic than others. Some "psychoactive toads" such as the Colorado River Toad Bufo alvaris, have been used recreationally for the effects of the bufotoxin, by either their skin secretions or eating boiled toads.
This Toad Page is Copyright The Animal Web Guide © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub