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Cane Toad1 locationReptile/Amphibian
.: Mike_Fels :.
Nov 26 2012
Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi'ai Falls
TypeReptile/Amphibian
FamilyBufonidae - Toads
Images Bing, Google

Bufo marinus

Common Names:Giant Neotropical Toad, Marine Toad

Habitat:Native to Central and South America, but has been introduced to various islands throughout Oceania and the Caribbean. The cane toad naturally exists in South Texas, but attempts (both deliberate and accidental) have been made to introduce the species to other parts of the country. These include introductions to Florida and to the islands of Hawaii, as well as largely unsuccessful introductions to Louisiana.

Initial releases into Florida failed. Attempted introductions before 1936 and 1944, made with the objective of controlling sugarcane pests, were unsuccessful as the toads failed to proliferate. Later attempts failed in the same way. However, the toad gained a foothold in the state after an accidental release by an importer at Miami International Airport in 1957, and deliberate releases by animal dealers in 1963 and 1964 established the toad in other parts of Florida. Today, the cane toad is well established in the state, from the Keys to north of Tampa, and they are gradually extending further northward. In Florida, the toad is a regarded as a threat to both native species and to pets, so much so, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommends residents euthanize them. 150 cane toads were introduced to Oahu in Hawaii in 1932, and the population swelled to 105,517 after 17 months.[57] The toads were sent to the other islands, and more than 100,000 toads were distributed by July 1934;[103] eventually over 600,000 were transported.[104]

The adult cane toad is entirely terrestrial, only venturing to fresh water to breed. Tadpoles have been found to tolerate salt concentrations equivalent to at most 15% that of seawater. The cane toad inhabits open grassland and woodland, and has displayed a "distinct preference" for areas that have been modified by humans, such as gardens and drainage ditches. In their native habitats, the toads can be found in subtropical forests, although dense foliage tends to limit their dispersal.

Description:The cane toad is very large; the females are significantly longer than males, reaching an average length of 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in). The skin of the cane toad is dry and warty. It has distinct ridges above the eyes, which run down the snout. Individual cane toads can be grey, yellowish, red-brown or olive-brown, with varying patterns. A large parotoid gland lies behind each eye. The ventral surface is cream-coloured and may have blotches in shades of black or brown. The pupils are horizontal and the irises golden. The toes have a fleshy webbing at their base, and the fingers are free of webbing.

The juvenile cane toad is much smaller than the adult cane toad at 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) long. Typically, they have smooth, dark skin, although some specimens have a red wash. Juveniles lack the adults' large parotoid glands, so they are usually less poisonous. The tadpoles are small and uniformly black, and are bottom-dwellers, tending to form schools. Tadpoles range from 10 to 25 mm (0.39 to 0.98 in) in length.

Comments: Originally, cane toads were used to eradicate pests from sugar cane, giving rise to their common name. The cane toad has poison glands, and the tadpoles are highly toxic to most animals if ingested. Because of its voracious appetite, the cane toad has been introduced to many regions of the Pacific and the Caribbean islands as a method of agricultural pest control. The species derives its common name from its use against the cane beetle (Dermolepida albohirtum). The cane toad is now considered a pest and an invasive species in many of its introduced regions; of particular concern is its toxic skin, which kills many animals—native predators and otherwise—when ingested.

The skin of the adult cane toad is toxic, as well as the enlarged parotoid glands behind the eyes, and other glands across their backs. When the toads are threatened, their glands secrete a milky-white fluid known as bufotoxin. Components of bufotoxin are toxic to many animals; there have even been human deaths due to the consumption of cane toads.

Bufotenin, one of the chemicals excreted by the cane toad, is classified as a class 1 drug under Australian law, alongside heroin and cannabis. The effects of bufotenin are thought to be similar to those of mild poisoning; the stimulation, which includes mild hallucinations, lasts for less than an hour. As the cane toad excretes bufotenin in small amounts, and other toxins in relatively large quantities, toad licking could result in serious illness or death. More recently, the toad's toxins have been used in a number of new ways: bufotenin has been used in Japan as an aphrodisiac and a hair restorer, and in cardiac surgery in China to lower the heart rates of patients.

In addition to releasing toxin, the cane toad is capable of inflating its lungs, puffing up and lifting its body off the ground to appear taller and larger to a potential predator.


Source: Wikipedia


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