Toads, or, as it is customary to call them real toads, or Bufonidae, are the only representatives of the family of free amphibians. The only ones, because in this family all representatives are called precisely this name, although some amphibians from this family can be attributed to frogs (say, atelopes). If we talk about the wider taxonomic use of this term, then usually its level is far from always limited to the Bufonidae family: quite often it is used for some types of amphibians and from other families.
Since toads are a fairly common family, the appearance and parameters of its representatives have very broad differences. So, if we talk about the length of the body, then it can fluctuate from 20 mm (this is the size of the Guyan Harlequin) to the incredible 550 mm (such dimensions have a toad of Blomberg). And relative to the weight of the body, then there is even more dispersion: from tiny several grams to almost four kilograms.
The torso of the toad usually differs in short limbs (usually the fingers on the hind limbs are combined with a swimming membrane), wide volumes, the absence of ribs and general allegedness. The skin of toads, unlike frogs, is dry both in appearance and to the touch; It is covered with a large number of pins-tanks varied in size (both smooth and more acute). In most cases, the teeth in toads are reduced (either partially or in full), and the language is developed and narrowed.
Typically, toads are painted in camouflage shades that allow them to successfully hide from enemies, and the bright color of the color of some species openly and loudly declares their extreme toxicity.
The toads have a horizontal pupil, and behind it there are remarkable parotids-parotides (though they may be absent if we are talking about some tropical forms of toads), which contain an alkaloid-type venom called buffotoxin, which is distinguished if the toad is stressed. Different types of toads differ in composition and proportions of this poison: for some it is very intense, and for some, on the contrary, it practically does not work. It is because of this quality that some types of toads (for example, the Colorado toad) have long been used as a psychotropic product.
Another remarkable external characteristic of this family is the presence of a unique nonrepayable body, which in the males of this family, under certain circumstances, can turn into an active female body the ovary and, in fact, the male calmly turns into a female. Such an organ of Bidder is a rudimentary ovary formed in males, which appears on the front edge of the larval testes: at the same time, it is able to persist in most adult representatives of the family.
Almost all types of representatives of the Bufonidae family, or real toads, are distinguished by a specific appearance: the absence of a dentition, characteristic of a tubercular (warty) skin layer, very poorly developed limbs (their rear ones are not much longer: it is precisely because of this characteristic of the toad that are more adapted to crawling than to jumps or other type of movement). They can be recognized by wholeshaped language, as well as by halftype swimming membranes. These amphibians prefer to lead a night lifestyle and prefer to choose a land for habitat (and winter in the same place), entering the aquatic environment exclusively for the propagation process, t.e. laying off the caviar. But some species can be characterized by a semiwatering way of life (for example, anzonia), as well as wood species that prefer existence on trees.
Large parwar toads and their discharge are able to serve as the cause of irritation and even deaths in small representatives of the animal world.
In general, in biology, about six hundred species of representatives of this family are known, which are classified by four dozen births. Moreover, only the third part of this huge amount can be found in Eurasia. If we talk about the territory of our country, then here you can find six species from this family that are divided into several large groups:
This type of toads can be recognized as the largest of all that live in Europe. Representatives of gray toads (mainly females) can reach a size of about 20 cm, their eyes are distinguished by an orange color and a horizontal location of the pupil. The color of this type of toads is completely dependent on the gender and age of the animal, even on the time of year: it varies from gray, olive (up to dark), terracotta or even sandy.
Their earsteps do not differ in active work, poison is distinguished by a small amount and for humans it is absolutely harmless.
An ordinary toad
Far Eastern toad
This type of toad is characterized by an olive tone of color, interspersed with volumetric spots of a darker tone, which are usually bordered by a strip black color. Such a camouflage color color is an effective disguise under the environment.
Despite this coloring, green toads also have the opportunity to secrete toxic mucus using special glands it is dangerous for enemies of this species. Like all toads, green are incapable of active jumps and prefers to move with walking. In addition to Europe, this type of toads can be found in Asia (from front to central), in North Africa.
On the territory of our country, the green toad is a more southern look than representatives of the northern toads, and in our north it is limited, as a rule, by the Vologda region the maximum. Likes to burn out open places, which are overgrown with low herbal cover (especially river floodplains).
All the toads that can be found in our country are distinguished by a dense body of a round-type and quite large proportion of the body of the head in relation to others, and they are very easy to distinguish in the presence of long-awaited glands-parotids.
Other types of toads
Where they live
Representatives of this family, in view of the emergency variety of species, are quite widely widespread: they can be found on the territory of all continents of the planet (the exception is the northern territories of the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland). They are also difficult to see on the territory of Madagascar, many islands of the Pacific Ocean and New Zealand. There were no toads in Australia and Guinea before, however, representatives of Zhab-Aga were imported from the American continent and a population was artificially created.
On the territory of our country, as stated, there are so many representatives of this family of amphibians, and they are mainly concentrated in the central areas.
The geographical habitat of this family is also very wide: they can be found from very swampy coast of ponds (including floodplain meadows) to steppe territories, even a desert belt.
All toads prefer habitat on land, and water bodies are used only at the time of reproduction. These animals differ in a single way of life, and in small groups can be collected exclusively at the time of marriage, or if there is an oversupply of food. But if they have a choice, then the toads settle in more dry places: forests, parks, fields.
The diet of these species usually consists of invertebrates, which can be found on land, including insects and larvae, which the toad captures with a lightning movement of the adhesive tongue.
All representatives of this family are characterized by an inconsistent appetite: their diet includes any animal food of small format, which they are elementary to capture. In captivity, these can be rainworms, slugs, a larva of zoophobus and even cockroaches. Large individuals can cope even with mice or rats, chicks and representatives of smaller frogs. Typically, hunting is exclusively for moving prey (as a rule, most species hunt just like that), during which a strong sticky tongue (for fine prey) or jaw is used, if we are talking about large food.
In their nutrition of toad, typical predatory animals and in their diet, as a rule, small invertebrates (butterflies, snails, worms, and even fish fry) are mostly represented). If we talk about large types of this family, then they can calmly eat small rodents and lizards. Typically, hunting is carried out from an ambush, mainly in the twilight and night period of the day, I clearly react to the movements of the future victim.
Most often, toads winter in the burrows of representatives of small species of mammals, either organize shelter under the stones, or in powerful roots. And before the wintering process, in the summer, the toads are a fat layer that provides them with protection from the cold and is a great way not to die from hunger.
It is interesting that if a small animal attacks the toad of some large species, it is able to rise on its hind legs and take a very threatening scarecling pose. However, in a very discouraging state, toads are able to resort to jumps when there is a real danger (usually at the sight of a person or a very large danger, the toad just freezes, and then just jumps like a frog). Typically, toads move on the surface using walking, but not jumping due to their dimensions and elongated hind limbs. And in a calm state prefers this particular method of movement on the surface.
The enemies of this family are usually reptiles (eji, snakes), predatory birds, hedgehogs and rats.
After wintering, the toads come to the surface (usually in the spring, depending on the ambient temperature, when it reaches a stable indicator of at least +10 degrees), and they go to wintering, starting from September to the end of autumn (as a rule, the wintering process begins instillation into the soil, taking into account the indication of the depth of freezing).
Propagation occurs in the spring and necessarily in the water element (lakes, ponds, streams). In this case, the temperature of the water should be at least 8 degrees, and be sure to not higher than 27. Marriage games of toads can last from three days to two weeks and end with external fertilization.
Aactivity in the spawning period continues for the round day, and a little later, only at twilight and night, approximately until midnight. In adverse, rainy conditions, you can find representatives of this species in the daytime. And young individuals show activity even during the day.
The spawning period usually ends with laying caviar in the form of rather long cords in several rows (usually up to six meters, but it is quite possible to find caviar up to 10 meters). The female puts it off for quite some time (usually during the day) to the bottom of the reservoir or vegetation, which is completely immersed in water.
As a rule, males of toads reach puberty after reaching certain sizes (usually about 50 mm), which does not happen earlier than in the third year of life. The male can be distinguished from the female with thicker front paws, and shorter fingers on them. In the wedding period, the membranes between the fingers on the front paws of males get a darker color.
Poles prefer to multiply in the same aquatic environment (reservoir) throughout the entire period of existence. And the males expect females there: each of the males has its own territory, which he actively protects and protects from all other applicants. The female is capable of laying up to 4 thousand eggs for masonry. And literally a few days after the moment of spawning, adult toads leave the reservoir, but the largest representative remains to protect the masonry.
The process of propagation of most types of toads is external, but the limited reproduction is also characteristic of a limited circle of species.
Methods of reproduction are also diverse: from the deposition of caviar, from which freefluid tadpoles are subsequently displayed to eggpower, which differs direct terrestrial development process.
The vast majority of toads choose standing ponds for spawning, occasionally preferring flowing. But sometimes there are incredible exceptions: for example, the Philippine toads are able to put the game into the leaves of plants at an impressive height above the water, and the tadpoles of some species of toads have peculiar abdominal suction cups that provide attachment to underwater objects.
Caviar, taking into account the temperature indicators, develops from several days to several tens, and the larvae (tadpoles) develop for up to two months.
Populations and status
The toads in their vast majority are a widespread species, but sometimes they can rarely meet on the periphery of the range. So, some species are listed in federal red books (Bashkortostan, Irkutsk, Tatarstan).
The most stable can be called the population of the lake toad and ordinary garlic (an equal number of young and adults is observed here), while the green toad has recently been characterized by a decrease in the indicator of the population with an increase in the age of individuals (usually this indicates a high indicator of mortality and the instability of this population to change environmental factors, even if reproductive potential is highly high).
Pescles are a delicacy and are highly appreciated in Asian countries (China, Vietnam and many others) where the process of their breeding is put on production rails, for which special farms are created here, which is a priority, since such meat is much more expensive than any familiar types of meat. Frozen paws of toads are the usual assortment of most local supermarkets.
Today, due to the active spread of many species of bird diseases and other livestock, the demand for such meat has grown significantly. In our country, it remains low, since the consumption of toad meat is not something familiar to our nation, so the more promising in our country is the breeding of this type of export.
The cultivation of the types of this family is not something extremely complex and technologically represents the likeness of breeding in pond fish farms (amphibians are fed for up to 20 months).
The toads are also very popular inhabitants of terrariums, since they are very unpretentious in breeding and are able to live up to almost forty years in terms of captivity. Typically, a horizontal terrarium with gravel soil is used to breed them and a small shelter from an inverted pot.
Today, terrariumism finds many admirers and toads are an ideal object for her with their unpretentiousness, interesting behavior and calm disposition.
- During evolution, toads were able to form a fairly effective means of protecting against environmental dangers. This is, first of all, about poison. The skin of these amphibians is covered with mucus tubercles, and in the area of the eyes there are special glands that produce this poisonous mucus: and sometimes the poison can be quite strong. As a rule, in most cases, this poison is not as dangerous for humans as for small animals, however, when it enters the mucous membrane, there can be rather unpleasant consequences: from nausea to inflammation and pain, up to death.
- According to popular belief, toad can serve as a carrier of warts, which has not found scientific confirmation. If we are talking about tropical forms, then not everything is so unambiguous, since they have the habit of applying preventive blows towards danger, firing poison and can indeed be a danger.
- On the territory of South America you can find a tiny frog terrible leaves, whose size does not exceed three centimeters. The skin of this amphibian is saturated with toxins that ensure the death of the victim when poison enters the bloodstream. Local Indians’ tribes adapted to make poison from this toad, while trying to guard their hands with the help of leaves in the process of extraction. The poison of these toads is so active that one individual is enough for processing up to five dozens of arrows, and in its effect it coincides with the action of the poison of Kurare, and provides the possibility of death from muscle paralysis.
- On the territory of Eurasia, you can find a garlic whose poison is not fatal, but from this no less unpleasant in consequences, causing lacrimation.
- In addition to leafolasis, in Latin America you can also find a harsh toad——–uga, which, first of all, differs in incredibly large sizes, and its average dimensions exceed 20 cm and 2 kilograms.
- Indians use toad poison as a narcotic drug that can cause hallucinogenic reactions (often they help local shamans in their activities), and toads are often found in ancient sanctuaries of the Indians.
- The use of toads for therapeutic purposes also has a long history: for example, even in Chinese medicine, their skins (powder) were used from many diseases from dropsy to heart problems, and also were an ingredient in antiinflammatory and painkillers of medical impacts. The meat of these amphibians was considered an excellent remedy for asthma and dysentery. Some healers advised to apply toad skins to the gums with dental pain: but if it is a sheetolasis skin, then the case may end death.