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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Species Fact Profile: Suriname Toad (Pipa pipa)

Suriname Toad
Pipa pipa (Linneaus, 1758)

Range: Northern South America, Caribbean
Habitat: Tropical Rainforest, Flooded Forest
Diet: Small Fish, Invertebrates
Social Grouping: Solitary
Reproduction: Mate at the onset of the rainy season; 3-10 eggs laid by the female are transported onto her back, where they became covered with skin (each egg in its own pocket) - process is repeated until the female is carrying up to 100 eggs.  3-4 months later, the eggs hatch and the toadlets (which undergo metamorphosis while within the pockets of skin) burst out
Lifespan: 10 Years
Conservation Status: IUCN Least Concern

  • Body length 10-17 centimeters (males generally smaller than females); very flattened body with outward-splayed limbs and a small triangular head with small flaps of skin and small, lidless eyes
  • Drab coloration - upper parts are blackish-brown with a paler underside, spotted or banded with brown
  • Lacking a tongue, the Suriname toad feeds by pushing food into its mouth with its forelegs 
  • Almost completely aquatic, the Suriname toad can remain underwater for up to an hour without surfacing for air
  • Juveniles often stay towards the surface of the water, but swim and dive by the time they are one month old
  • COmmunicate with a series of clicking calls, both to space themselves out and to determine receptiveness to breeding; males will fight one another by butting heads, biting, and kicking
  • Not considered endangered, but possibly in decline due to loss of habitat and collection for the pet trade

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