Thursday, June 9, 2011
Bufo Americanus: Our Humble Toxic Toad
I'm seeing clouds of tadpoles these days in the nearby pond, which prompts me to post a few photos I've taken of the toad life cycle. The start of it all - once the familiar spring trilling of the males has lured in the females - is in the first picture: Amplexus (Latin for "embrace"). The second shot shows the strands of eggs, which take a few days to a couple of weeks to hatch. The third pictures what's going on right now: thousands of tadpoles, which morph over the course of a month or two into toadlets. Those are the most difficult, I think, to capture photographically; they are very active once they leave the water. Though none of these stages are particularly tasty - thanks to their "bufotoxin"-producing glands - there are definitely predators out there, just waiting. Take a look back in the Animal Trackers of New England archives (Apr. 22, 2010) to see one.