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Amphibians - Frogs and Toads

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Do you know...  the difference between a frog and a toad?

All toads are in fact frogs.  Frogs are adapted for living in wet habitats, while those that we call “toads” are better suited for living on land. 

Frogs are amphibians that metamorphosize from water-breathing juveniles to air-breathing adults.  Frogs and tadpoles have soft, porous skin that absorbs oxygen from the air and water that surrounds them - they don’t have perfectly evolved lungs.  It is important to remember that if you should handle a frog, make sure you don’t have sunscreen on insect repellent on your hands since their skin can absorb pollutants easily.  Some chemical pollutants can even cause DNA damage or developmental problems.  Pollutants can interfere with a frog's metamorphosis and cause deformities or death.

The health of frogs in an area is a good indicator of the environmental health of a lake or river.  Signs of pollution in the area are indicated by frogs with deformities such as multiple legs, deformed appendages or missing limbs.


Fun Frog & Toad Facts...

A fear of frogs is called "Ranidaphobia";  A fear of toads is called "Bufonophobia".

Some bullfrogs can live to be 30 years old.

Only the male frog can croak.

A group of frogs is called an "army"; A group of toads is called a "knot".

Frogs don't drink water, they absorb it through their skin.




Important factors to consider when identifying frogs....

Look for the size of a frog's tympani (eardrums). Those are the large circular disks near a frog's eyes.  Is it smaller or large than the eye?

Whether or not a frog has a prominent dorsolateral fold (fold of skin that runs partly down its back) should also be noted.

What colour is the frog's belly?  Are there any tinges of colour?

Take a look at the pattern of spots or markings.  Are the spots circular, angular?  Are they arranged sporadically or in rows?




Looking for lateral and dorsal folds...

American Bullfrog
(Lithobates catesbeianus)

Unlike other frog species, note the lateral fold that wraps downward around the tympani rather than trailing down the back.

Green Frog
(Lithobates clamitans)

Note the prominent dorsal fold running down the frog's back.



Frogs, Toads & Tadpoles -  Species Categories



American Bullfrog

The American Bullfrog [Lithobates catesbeianus – Rana catesbeiana] is the largest frog in North America . 
49 - images




Mink Frog

A Mink Frog [Lithobates septentrionalis – Rana septentrionalis] varies in colour from green to brown often having both colours.  While this frog is often mistaken for a Green Frog, the Mink Frog has smaller dorsolateral folds if any at all. 
2 - images 


Northern Green Frog

The Northern Green Frog [Lithobates clamitans – Rana clamitans melanota] closely resembles a small bullfrog since the colouring and obvious tympanic membranes look the same.  The Northern Green frog can be distinguished from other frogs in that the dorsolateral ridges run only partway down the back and do not reach the groin.
17 - images


Northern Leopard Frog

The Northern Leopard Frog [Lithobates pipiens – Rana pipiens] is easy to identify by its large dark circular spots which are often surrounded by a thin lightly-coloured line.  The frog may be either green or brown with a white belly that sometimes has a yellowish tinge.
9 - images



Panamanian Golden Frog

Don't let the name fool you, this species is actually at toad!
3 - images




View images and learn about the similarities and differences between frogs & toads.
2 -  images


Tadpoles - Life Cycle of a Frog

Learn about the various life stages of a frog with multiple images of tadpoles.
21 -  images


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Fun Facts


- Amphibians are divided into three groups:  Newts & Salamanders; Frogs & Toads; and Caecilians.



- Caecilians are amphibians that don't have arms or legs.  They look like snakes or worms.

- There are 5,000 - 6,000 amphibians species known today.



- The term "amphibian" means "two-lives" - one in the water and one on land.





- More than 75% of all toad and frog species in the world live in tropical rainforests.



- Toads have dry, bumpy skin while frogs have smooth, clammy skin.



- The life cycle of an amphibians involves three stages:  egg, larva and adult.




- Frogs breath with their lungs AND through their skin.


- Frogs can see forwards, sideways and upwards - all at the same time!



- According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), nearly one-third of all amphibians are known to be threatened or extinct!





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