Madagascar Red Toad - Origin, Characteristics and Conservation

Madagascan red toad: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The order Anurans is a group of amphibians commonly...

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The order Anurans is a group of amphibians commonly known as frogs and toads. Many of these animals are listed under the category of endangered species due to illegal trade or habitat modification, which is very detrimental to these species due to their high sensitivity to variations in the ecosystems that 'they live.

In this issue of PlanèteAnimal, we wanted to provide you with information on the Madagascan red toad, an animal which has attracted a lot of attention for its particular coloring and which has been endangered due to its illegal trade. .Here are some interesting facts about its origin, biological and ecological characteristics, as well as its current state of conservation.


  • Africa
  • Madagascar

Origin of the Madagascar Red Toad

Amphibians include the Microhylidae family and the Dyscophus genus, which contains three species, including the Madagascar red toad (Dyscophus antongilii). However, the species Dyscophus guineti has a similar coloring, which is why it is known as the tomato frog. Some scientific reports indicate that the differences between these species are unclear, only highlighting a variation in the hue of coloration between them. However, other studies indicate that they are clearly evolutionarily distinct individuals.

The Madagascan Red Toad, as its name suggests, is native to Madagascar and is widely distributed in the northeastern part of this island region, it is particularly present in the localities of Maroantsetra and Ambatovaky.However, it is believed to be distributed in several regions of the island.

Characteristics of the Madagascar Red Toad

The most distinctive characteristic of the species is its red-orange color. In addition, it has two black stripes on each side. The back is more yellowish in males and reddish in females, while the ventral part is whitish for both. Males are smaller than females, measuring between 60 and 65 millimeters and weighing around 40 grams, while females are between 90 and 95 millimeters and weighing just over 200 grams.

The skin of the Madagascar Red Toad is smooth, has two folds on the sides of the back and it usually has small reticulations. His body is round and he can expand, when he faces danger, in order to give the impression of being taller. They may also secrete a toxic, white, glue-like substance through their skin.For this reason, it is ranked among the most poisonous frogs, although it is not fatal to humans.

Habitat of the Madagascar Red Toad

The Madagascar red toad lives in wet areas or near bodies of water, such as rainforests, scrublands, wetlands, marshes, lowland wetlands, cultivated areas, canals, drains and even in gardens in urban areas.

An important aspect to consider in relation to its environment is that although the species is widely distributed and considered adaptable, many of these areas are heavily impacted by residential and commercial development . Despite this ability to adapt, there are always limits in this regard, because no species can tolerate indefinite transformations in its ecosystems.

Food of the Madagascar red toad

The Madagascar Red Toad is a carnivorous animal that can consume different types of small invertebrates, such as insects, worms and spiders.Furthermore, these animals are biological controllers of certain arthropods present in the ecosystems they share. They usually hunt their prey by ambushing it under the leaf litter where they hide.

On the other hand, they are not very active animals that have nocturnal habits, so they mainly feed during the night. Reports indicate that the Madagascan Red Toad's diet impacts its distinctive coloration.

Reproduction of the Madagascar red toad

They breed in still, permanent or temporary water, in swamps, flooded areas and even in ditches with water. Their breeding season is between January and March, with the onset of heavy rains, during which the males emit sounds to attract females. This process occurs in areas near water, where they tend to cluster and, after the onset of amplexia, the female lays one of hundreds of eggs in a sticky mass on the surface of the water.

Tadpoles emerge in about 36 hours and metamorphosis can be completed in 45 days. Tadpoles are often very vulnerable, as they can be eaten by different types of aquatic animals. For more information, you can read this other article on the life cycle of frogs.

Conservation status of the Madagascar red toad

The populations of this animal have been greatly affected by water pollution, the environment where it breeds. On the other hand, the alteration of its habitat is another factor that negatively influences the development of the Madagascar red toad. In addition, for a long time, its illegal trade generated a significant negative impact on its populations.

Currently, the Madagascar Red Toad is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, although it was listed a few years ago as Vulnerable and Near Threatened.The change in classification was justified by the wide distribution of the species and its ability to adapt and tolerate disturbance in its environment.

On the other hand, the Madagascar Red Toad has been included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), more specifically, in Appendix II since 2016 which includes species that are not necessarily endangered, but over which there are trade regulations.

A species such as the Madagascar Red Toad, which has been vulnerable in the past, must be subject to strict surveillance and monitoring controls, which indicate its status over time, in order to avoid possible new risks in its range.

Photos of Madagascar Red Toad

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