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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Species Fact Profile: Tomato Frog (Dyscophys antongilii)

Tomato Frog
Dyscophys antongilii (Grandidier, 1877)

Range: Northeastern Madagascar
Habitat: Lowland Forests, Shallow Pools, Wetlands
Diet: Small Insects and Other Invertebrates
Social Grouping:
Reproduction: Breed in February or March, following heavy rains.  Females lay up to 15,000 eggs on the surface of small pools.  Tadpoles hatch out 36 hours later, complete metamorphosis by the time they are 45 days old.  Sexually mature at 9-14 months old.
Lifespan: 8 Years
Conservation Status: IUCN Near Threatened, CITES Appendix I

  • Body length is 6.5-10.5 centimeters, weighing 40-230 grams.  Females are much larger than males
  • Common name comes from bright red-orange color (females usually brighter than males) with paler undersides; some frogs have black spots on the throat
  • Active by night during the warmer months of the year, commonly found burrowed in moist leaf litter, sitting motionlessly and waiting for prey
  • When frightened, tomato frogs will puff themselves up to look larger and more menaching.  If seized by a predator (such as a snake), the frog secretes a sappy, toxic substance which not only sickens the predator, but also gums up the eyes and mouth.  This secretion sometimes causes an allergic reaction in humans
  • The Malagasy name for this species is "Sangongon", an attempt to mimic their breeding call
  • There are three very similar species of tomato frog found in Madagascar; Dyscophys antongilii is the species most commonly encountered in zoos and aquariums
  • Numbers declining due to habitat loss (though they will live in disturbed habitats, such as plantations and drainage ditches) and pollution, as well as illegally collection for the pet trade.  Conservation is difficult due to the similarity to other tomato frogs

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