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Portal:Frogs and toads

The Frogs and Toads Portal

Introduction

Various types of frogs.

A frog is any member of a diverse and largely carnivorous group of short-bodied, tailless amphibians composing the order Anura (Ancient Greek ἀν-, without + οὐρά, tail). The oldest fossil "proto-frog" appeared in the early Triassic of Madagascar, but molecular clock dating suggests their origins may extend further back to the Permian, 265 million years ago. Frogs are widely distributed, ranging from the tropics to subarctic regions, but the greatest concentration of species diversity is in tropical rainforests. There are approximately 4,800 recorded species, accounting for over 85% of extant amphibian species. They are also one of the five most diverse vertebrate orders.

The body plan of an adult frog is generally characterized by a stout body, protruding eyes, cleft tongue, limbs folded underneath, and the absence of a tail. Besides living in fresh water and on dry land, the adults of some species are adapted for living underground or in trees. The skins of frogs are glandular, with secretions ranging from distasteful to toxic. Warty species of frog tend to be called toads but the distinction between frogs and toads is based on informal naming conventions concentrating on the warts rather than taxonomy or evolutionary history. Frogs' skins vary in colour from well-camouflaged dappled brown, grey and green to vivid patterns of bright red or yellow and black to advertise toxicity and warn off predators. Read more...

European fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina)

Toad is a common name for certain frogs, especially of the family Bufonidae, that are characterized by dry, leathery skin, short legs, and large bumps covering the parotoid glands.

A distinction between frogs and toads is not made in scientific taxonomy, but is common in popular culture (folk taxonomy), in which toads are associated with drier skin and more terrestrial habitats. Read more...

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An Australian green tree frog
The Australian green tree frog, simply green tree frog in Australia, White's tree frog, or dumpy tree frog (Litoria caerulea) is a species of tree frog native to Australia and New Guinea, with introduced populations in the United States and New Zealand, though the latter is believed to have died out. The species belongs to the genus Litoria. It is morphologically similar to some other members of the genus, particularly the magnificent tree frog (L. splendida) and the white-lipped tree frog (L. infrafrenata).

Larger than most Australian frogs, the Australian green tree frog reaches 10 cm (4 in) or more in length. Its average lifespan in captivity, about 16 years, is long compared with most frogs. Docile and well suited to living near human dwellings, Australian green tree frogs are often found on window sills or inside houses, eating insects drawn by the light. The green tree frog screams when it is in danger to scare off its foe, and squeaks when it is touched.

Due to its appearance and behavioural traits, the green tree frog is a popular exotic pet throughout the world. The skin secretions of the frog have antibacterial and antiviral properties that may prove useful in pharmaceutical preparations and which have rendered it relatively immune to the population declines being experienced by many species of amphibian. It is a common species and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being "least concern". (see more...)

Selected article on frogs and toads in human science, culture and economics

A frog sitting on a saucepan handle
The boiling frog is an anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to threats that occur gradually, such as climate change.

According to contemporary biologists, the premise of the story is false: a frog submerged and gradually heated will jump out. However, some 19th-century experiments suggested that the underlying premise is true, provided the heating is sufficiently gradual. The story's common metaphorical use is a caution for people to be aware of even gradual change lest they suffer eventual undesirable consequences. (see more...)

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description

Photograph of the Italian tree frog Hyla intermedia. Its natural habitats are the temperate forests, rivers, and freshwater marshes of countries like Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland. It feeds on small invertebrates such as flies, mosquitoes and midges. In the breeding season, dominant males establish territories near a pond or other body of water and advertise themselves by calling. Other male frogs, known as "satellites" may lurk nearby and try to intercept females attracted by the territorial males' calls.
Photo credit: Benny Trapp

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Restoration of two Hurdia victoria

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