Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mexican Burrowing Toad

Rhinophrynus dorsalis
Mexican Burrowing Toads are the most evolutionarily distinct amphibians in the entire world. They are the only members of their genus, and of their entire family, and are separated from their nearest relatives by 190 million years of independent evolution!  That means that the last time they diverged from another modern family was at the beginning of the Jurassic Period!

Though many evolutionarily distinct animals are rare and endangered, the Mexican Burrowing Toad is actually pretty common in its current range in Mexico and Central America. And before they died out millions of years ago, other members of this distinct family spanned across North America!
Mexican Burrowing Toads are named for the burrows that they spend a great deal of time in. They remain in them during winter and times of drought. And they aren't often seen outside during the other times of year unless heavy rains force them above ground or they wish to mate.
They can mate during all months of the year, and lay their eggs in water above ground. Mexican Burrowing Toads make very loud, low-pitched calls, both to attract mates and to cry out in alarm. When alarmed, these Toads also puff up and resemble flattened balloons!

The Mexican Burrowing Toad population is now stable, and they really don't face any major threats as far as the IUCN is concerned. They are protected under Mexican law, and live in protected zones of other countries as well.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Mexico, Central America
Size : Length up to 3in (7.5cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Amphibia -- Order : Anura
Family : Rhinophrynidae -- Genus : Rhinophrynus -- Species : R. dorsalis

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