Common Suriname toad
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|Common Suriname toad|
|Suriname toad range.|
Pipa americana Laurenti, 1768
The common Suriname toad or star-fingered toad (Pipa pipa) is a species of frog in the Pipidae family found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. In Spanish it is called aparo, rana comun de celdillas, rana tablacha, sapo chinelo, sapo chola, or sapo de celdas. In Portuguese, it is known as sapo pipa due to its shape, as "pipa" means kite. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical swamps, swamps, freshwater marshes, and intermittent freshwater marshes. It is threatened by habitat loss.
The common Suriname toad is similar in appearance to a mottled brown leaf, and is almost completely flat. Its feet are broadly webbed with the front toes having small, star-like appendages. Specimens of close to 20 cm (8 in) in length have been recorded, although 10–13 cm (4–5 in) is a typical size. The Suriname toad has minute eyes, no teeth, and no tongue.
Suriname toads are best known for their remarkable reproductive habits. Unlike the majority of toads, the males of this species do not attract mates with croaks and other sounds often associated with these aquatic animals. Instead, they produce a sharp clicking sound by snapping the hyoid bone in their throats. The partners rise from the floor while in amplexus and flip through the water in arcs. During each arc, the female releases 3 to 10 eggs, which get embedded in the skin on her back by the male's movements. After implantation, the eggs sink into the skin and form pockets over a period of several days, eventually taking on the appearance of an irregular honeycomb. The larvae develop through to the tadpole stage inside these pockets, eventually emerging from the mother's back as fully developed toads, though they are less than an inch long (2 cm). Once they have emerged from their mother's back, the toads begin a largely solitary life.
After giving birth to the new toads, the mother slowly sheds the thin layer of skin that was used to birth them, and can begin the cycle again.
- IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Conservation International & NatureServe. 2010. Pipa pipa. In: IUCN 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. http://www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 10 July 2015.
- Piper, Ross (2007), Extraordinary Animals: An Encyclopedia of Curious and Unusual Animals, Greenwood Press.
- La Marca, E., Azevedo-Ramos, C., Silvano, D., Coloma, L.A., Ron, S. & Hardy, J. 2004. Pipa pipa. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 July 2007.
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