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Schismaderma carens (Smith 1848)

Brief Summary

Comprehensive Description

    African red toad
    provided by wikipedia

    The African red toad or African split-skin toad (Schismaderma carens) is a species of toad in the family Bufonidae.[2] It is monotypic within the genus Schismaderma.[3] It is found in Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and possibly Lesotho. Its natural habitats are dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, subtropical or tropical moist shrubland, subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, arable land, pastureland, urban areas, water storage areas, ponds, canals and ditches, and man-made karsts.[1]


    The African red toad is a fairly large species with adults reaching about 90 millimetres (3.5 in) in snout-to-vent length, females being slightly larger than males. The upper surface is reddish-brown with a pair of dark brown spots on the shoulders and another pair on the lower back. There is a dorso-lateral ridge with glands running from the tympanum to the back leg, and the outer part of this ridge is darker on its lower edge. The flanks in some individuals are dark and in others pale.[4]

    Distribution and habitat

    The African red toad is native to the southern half of Africa, ranging from Tanzania and southern Kenya through the southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo and eastern Angola southwards to South Africa. It is present in several different habitat types including grassland, wooded savannah and agricultural land and breeds in deep lakes, ponds and pools.[4]


    Male African red toads call from the surface of deep still water in mid-summer. Double strings of eggs are laid in the water and may be tangled in submerged vegetation. The tadpoles are gregarious and may form dense swarms. The time between egg-laying and metamorphosis of the tadpoles into juveniles is 37 to 52 days.[4]


    1. ^ a b IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (2013). "Schismaderma carens". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2013: e.T54885A3021025. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-2.RLTS.T54885A3021025.en. Retrieved 10 January 2018..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    2. ^ Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Schismaderma carens (Smith, 1848)". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
    3. ^ Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Schismaderma Smith, 1849". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
    4. ^ a b c Amy Ru Chen (2008-05-13). "Schismaderma carens ". AmphibiaWeb. Retrieved 4 September 2014.

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    Schismaderma carens, commonly known as the Red Toad, is a moderate to large-sized toad. Males can reach 88 mm, and females can reach 92 mm in snout-vent length. This toad has a less warty back than many toads of the same size. A distinct dorsolateral glandular ridge runs from above the tympanum to the hind leg. The outer part of the dorsolateral ridge is darker on the lower edge. The tympanum itself is large and round, with a diameter approximately equivalent to that of the eye. Parotoid glands are not visible. A tarsal fold is present. Breeding males have vocal sacs, as well as nuptial pads on their first three fingers for amplexus (Channing and Howell 2006).

    The back is characteristically marked by a pair of small dark brown spots on the lower back and another pair of markings on the shoulders. Dorsal coloring is reddish, hence the common name of Red Toad. The ground color is pale brown and even pinkish at times. The flanks are either pale or very dark. The underside is speckled with gray (Channing and Howell 2006).

    The tadpole has an unusual horseshoe-shaped flap of skin on the head (Channing 2001).

    The specific name carens is Latin for "lacking" and refers to the lack of parotoid glands (Channing and Howell 2006). Other common names include the Red-backed toad, African split-skin toad, kazoli in Lwena and Manganja, conga in Sena, naliwonde in Yao, rooiskurwepadda in Afrikaans, and zonde in Chewa.

    Biochemical evidence suggests that S. carens has been separated from other toads evolutionarily for approximately 55 million years (Channing 2001).


    Distribution and Habitat
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    Schismaderma carens is widely distributed throughout Central and Southeast Africa. The northern-most parts of its range cover northwestern Tanzania and Olorgesailie in southern Kenya. The species occurs down through southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, eastern Angola, and Western Zambia, and also reaches southeastern Botswana, southern Mozambique, Swaziland, Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Although it has not been recorded in Lesotho, it also possibly occurs there (Poynton et al. 2004).

    The Red Toad tolerates a broad range of habitats, but occurs primarily in grassland and wooded savannah. It also occurs on livestock ranches, around human settlements, and on agricultural land. This species is terrestrial and breeds in freshwater. Its breeding grounds are usually bodies of deep, still water, including dirty water (Poynton et al. 2004).


    Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
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    Although the Red Toad is common, it is much easier to find when it is breeding (Poynton et al. 2004). Calling occurs predominantly in the midsummer, and the males call while floating in the shallow water to advertise themselves to females (Channing and Howell 2006). The call sounds like a loud, long whoop, with a duration of 0.9-1.2 seconds and dominant harmonics between 0.1 and 0.8 kHz. Calls are made during the day.

    After heavy rainfall, the toad breeds during the day in deep muddy water. Males reach the breeding grounds, among the younger vegetation in the deep water, before the females. Dense spacing is the norm, with males separated by as little as 300 mm from each other. The males proceed to call and chase each other, while actively trying to mate with other frogs. Females then enter the area in response to the calls. The eggs are laid in a double string during amplexus while the pair moves slowly in the water, producing rows of egg strings. Eggs may be attached to vegetation, and females leave shortly after laying their eggs. The clutch size is 2500, with each egg 1.6-2.5 mm in diameter. Since myriad toads lay their eggs at similar times, the waters may be filled with upwards of tens of thousands of eggs at a time. The period of development from egg to toadlet ranges from 37 to 52 days.

    The Red Toad has gregarious tadpoles, sometimes found in mixed swarms with tadpoles of the African bullfrog Pyxicephalus adspersus. These tadpoles are unique morphologically due to a horseshoe-shaped flap of skin on the head (Channing 2001; Channing and Howell 2006).

    The adult molts at 4 day intervals (Channing and Howell 2006).


    Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
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    The Red Toad is a fairly abundant and widespread species that is not currently threatened. The tadpoles may be preyed upon by dragonfly nymphs, helmeted terrapins (Pelomedusa subrufa), the hammerkop (Scopus umbretta), and hinged terrapins (genus Pelusios). The savanna vine snake Thelotornis capensis eats juvenile Red Toads, while the white-lipped snake Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia and the eagle owl Bubo lateus consume adult toads (Channing and Howell 2006).


    Relation to Humans
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    The Red Toad often lives in very close proximity to humans.