Duttaphrynus melanostictus

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Duttaphrynus melanostictus
Bufo melanosticus 01.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Bufonidae
Genus: Duttaphrynus
Species: D. melanostictus
Binomial name
Duttaphrynus melanostictus
(Schneider, 1799)

Bufo melanostictus

Duttaphrynus melanostictus is commonly called Asian common toad, Asian black-spined toad, Asian toad, black-spectacled toad, common Sunda toad and Javanese toad. It is probably a complex of more than one toad species that is widely distributed in South and Southeast Asia.[1]

The species grows to about 20 cm (8 in) long. The species breeds during the monsoons and their tadpoles are black. Young toads may be seen in large numbers after the monsoons.


The wart patterns of the toads are unique and have been used for individual identification in studies.

The top of the head has several bony ridges, along the edge of the snout (canthal ridge), in front of the eye (pre-orbital), above the eye (supra-orbital), behind the eye (post-orbital), and a short one between the eye and ear (orbito-tympanic); The snout is short and blunt and the space between the eyes is broader than the upper eyelid width. The ear drum or tympanum is very distinct and is at least as wide as two thirds the diameter of the eye. The first finger is often longer than the second and the toes at least half webbed. A warty tubercle is found just before the junction of the thigh and shank (sub-articular tubercle) and two moderate ones are on the shank (metatarsus). There is no skin fold along the tarsus. The "knee" (tarso-metatarsal articulation) reaches the tympanum or the eye when the hind leg is held parallel along the side of the body. The dorsal side is covered with spiny warts. The parotoids are prominent, kidney-shaped or elliptical and elongated. The dorsal side is yellowish or brownish and the spines and ridges are black. The underside is unmarked or spotted. Males have a subgular vocal sac and black pads on the inner fingers that help in holding the female during copulation.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Asian common toads occur widely from northern Pakistan through Nepal, Bangladesh, India including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and southern China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau to Malaysia, Singapore, and the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Anambas and Natuna Islands. They have been recorded from sea level up to 1,800 m (5,900 ft) altitude, and live mostly in disturbed lowland habitats, from upper beaches and riverbanks to human-dominated agricultural and urban areas. They are uncommon in closed forests.[1]

They were introduced to the Indonesian islands of Bali, Sulawesi, and Ambon and to (Indonesian) New Guinea at Manokwari on the Vogelkop Peninsula. The species is now common at Sentani in far eastern Papua Province.[3][4] The species arrived in Madagascar in 2011 at the port of Toamasina and by 2014 was found in a 100 km2 zone around that city. [5]

The Asian common toad has recently been detected in Australia, at least 4 times since 2000.[6][7] The most recent incursion, in 2015, was in suburban Sydney.[8]

Ecology and behaviour[edit]

Asian common toads breed in still and slow-flowing rivers and temporary and permanent ponds and pools. Adults are terrestrial and may be found under ground cover such as rocks, leaf-litter, logs, and are also associated with human habitations. The larvae are found in still and slow-moving waterbodies.[1] They are often seen at night under street lamps especially in times when winged termites swarm. They have been noted to feed on a wide range of invertebrates including scorpions.[9] Tadpoles grown in sibling groups metamorphosed faster than those that were kept in mixed groups.[10] Tadpoles have been shown to be able to recognize kin.[11]

An invasive species in Australia[edit]

The Asian common toad has been described as one of Australia’s "10 most unwanted” species, and “potentially more damaging than the cane toad”.[12] The Asian common toad may cause serious ecological problems due to "competition with native species, its potential to spread exotic parasites and pathogens and its toxicity".[13] Like cane toads, the Asian common toad secretes toxins from glands in their backs to deter predators. These toxins could severely affect native predators, such as snakes, goannas and quolls.[14]

The recent rate of incursions suggests a high likelihood of establishment in Australia. As such, experts are calling for the Australian Government to develop a "high priority contingency plan" that includes stronger environmental quarantine and surveillance strategies.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b c d van Dijk; P. P.; et al. (2004). "Duttaphrynus melanostictus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Version 2012.2. IUCN. 
  2. ^ Boulenger, G. A. (1890). Reptilia and Batrachia. Fauna of British India. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 505–507. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.5490. 
  3. ^ Frazier, S. (Dec 15, 2011). "Asian Common Toad". Project Noah. 8077245. 
  4. ^ Frazier, S. (Jun 13, 2011). "Southeast Asian Toad, Asian Common Toad, Spectacled Toad". Project Noah. 6894260. 
  5. ^ R., Arnaud (2014-04-17). "Invasion de crapauds venimeux à Toamasina: une menace pour l'écosystème malgache". Midi Madagasikara. 
  6. ^ Henderson W, Bomford M. 2011. Detecting and preventing new incursions of exotic animals in Australia. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra.
  7. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, March 28, 2015, Northern Sydney faces Asian black-spined toad plague.
  8. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, March 28, 2015, Northern Sydney faces Asian black-spined toad plague
  9. ^ Berry, P. Y.; Bullock, J. A. (1962). "The Food of the Common Malayan Toad, Bufo melanostictus Schneider". Copeia. 1962 (4): 736–741. JSTOR 1440674. doi:10.2307/1440674. 
  10. ^ Saidapur, S. K.; Girish, S. (2001). "Growth and Metamorphosis of Bufo melanostictus Tadpoles: Effects of Kinship and Density". Journal of Herpetology. 35 (2): 249–254. JSTOR 1566115. doi:10.2307/1566115. 
  11. ^ Saidapur, S. K.; Girish, S. (2000). "The Ontogeny of Kin Recognition in Tadpoles of the Toad Bufo melanostictus (Anura; Bufonidae)". Journal of Bioscience. 25 (3): 267–273. PMID 11022229. doi:10.1007/BF02703935. 
  12. ^ Page A, Kirkpatrick W, Massam M. 2008. Black–spined Toad (Bufo melanostictus) Risk Assessments for Australia; Department of Agriculture and Food: Western Australia. http://www.feral.org.au/wp -content/uploads/2010/11 Black_spined_toad_DAFWA_220410.pdf; retrieved 2017-05-28
  13. ^ Invasive Species Council, 2014, Biosecurity Failures in Australia, The Asian Black-Spined Toad, https://invasives.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Biosecurity-failures-asian-black-spined-toads.pdf; retrieved 2017-05-28
  14. ^ Department of Environment and Primary Industries. 2014. Asian black -spined toad. Victorian Government. http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/agriculture-and-food/pests-diseases-and-weeds/pest-animals/a-z-of-pest-animals/asian-black-spine-toad; retrieved 2017-05-28
  15. ^ Massam M, Kirkpatrick W and Page A (2010). Assessment and Prioritisation of Risk for Forty Introduced Animal Species. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra
  16. ^ Invasive Species Council, 2014, Biosecurity Failures in Australia, The Asian Black-Spined Toad, https://invasives.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Biosecurity-failures-asian-black-spined-toads.pdf; retrieved 2017-05-28

Further reading[edit]

Lu, W.; Qing, N. (2010). "Bufo melanostictus (Asian Common Toad). Record size". Herpetological Review. 41 (1): 61. 

External links[edit]