Marine toad, Bufo marinus
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Thursday September 1, 2011

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Marine toad, Bufo marinus

This monster is a marine toad, also called the giant neotropical toad - the largest was measured at 38 centimeters and weighed 2.65 kilograms. It was introduced into Australia, Fiji, the Philippines and other sugar-growing areas to control insects, so it also became known as the cane toad. The name "marine toad" is derived from its scientific name Bufo marinus, which was given in the mistaken belief that it could live in the ocean.

This one was at Rio Blanco, but this species has become a major problem in the places it was introduced, because of its voracious appetite, its prolific breeding rate and the poison produced by the large glands on either side of its head. It will eat anything it finds, living or dead, including native wildlife like other frogs and even snakes. It has few enemies in the places it was introduced, so it can proliferate without being held in check. If anything does eat it, including domestic dogs, there's a good chance they'll die because of the toxins in its skin. A female can lay up to 25000 eggs each time she spawns, and even the eggs and tadpoles are toxic enough to kill other animals.

Photographs by Richard Seaman

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