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ANIMAL
OF THE WEEK
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Puerto Rican crested toad

Scientific name: Peltophryne lemur


CLASS: Amphibia
ORDER: Anura
FAMILY: Bufonidae
 

FEEDING TYPE: Carnivore
STATISTICS: Length: 2.5 to 4.5 inches, Weight: Males - 1.75 oz; Females - 3.5-5.25 oz
 

DESCRIPTION:
Males are brown with yellow coloration on the sides of their bodies, while females are brown. Females are larger, have coarser skin and a larger crest than the males. Females also have a higher, more noticeable crest over the eyes. Both sexes have an upturned nose. There is an estimated 4:1 ratio of females to males.

RANGE:
Puerto Rico and Virgin Gorda

HABITAT:
This toad lives near bodies of water, along rock outcrops, ponds, and vegetated islands just off the shore. It can also be found in semi-arid climates.

ADAPTATIONS:
The Puerto Rican crested toad is nocturnal or active during nights. It escapes the sun’s intense heat during the day by hiding in holes within the limestone outcrops where it lives. The toads are generally not seen throughout the year except during breeding season.

REPRODUCTION / GROWTH:
Puerto Rican crested toads breed during the rainy seasons of late summer, and move back and forth from breeding sites. These breeding sites must have adequate surface water. After the eggs are laid, it takes about 24 hours before they hatch. Then, it takes 25 days for the tadpoles to metamorphose, or transform, into toads. When these toads are not breeding, they spread themselves out. They can be rather difficult to find during these times.

PREY / PREDATOR:
Prey to waterfowl, wild dogs and cats, mongoose, crabs, cane toad, and fire ants
Predator to invertebrates

WILD DIET:
Crickets, worms, insect larvae and other invertebrates

STATUS:
Listed as Critically Endangered with IUCN.

SPECIAL NOTES:

  • The Puerto Rican crested toad is constantly losing breeding sites because of habitat destruction. This is one of the factors that is contributing to the threatened state of the species.
     
  • This rare toad was the first amphibian to be considered for the SSP, or Species Survival Plan, of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums when there was an estimated 200 left on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico. The northern coast previously held a small population, but the future of the toads on the southwestern coast is much brighter. Many zoos and organizations are working to save this toad.
     
  • Habitat destruction is extremely harmful to the survival of these animals. In Puerto Rico, the last wild breeding site is in a parking lot at the end of a road.
     

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Puerto Rican Crested Toad. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Endangered Species.
  2. Taxonomy. 14 March 1996.
  3. Species Profile for Puerto Rican crested toad. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 11 November 2003.
  4. For Rare Toad to Survive, Breeding is Fundamental. Puerto Rico Herald. Tammie Wersinger. 21 July 2002. 
  5. Reptiles and Amphibians in Captivity. Tracks. Frank and Kate Slavens. 20 March 2003. 
  6. Puerto Rican Crested Toad Species Survival Plan. June 27, 2008.


Published: Sepember 2008

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