A distinction between frogs and toads is not made in scientific taxonomy, but is common in popular culture (folk taxonomy), in which toads are associated with drier skin and more terrestrial habitats than animals commonly called frogs. In scientific taxonomy, toads are found in the families Bufonidae, Bombinatoridae, Discoglossidae, Pelobatidae, Rhinophrynidae, Scaphiopodidae, and Microhylidae. There is no definitive collective noun for toads, and like most collective nouns, the listed proposals are fanciful; one example is a knot of toads; others include a lump, nest, or knob of toads.
The function of the bumps on the skins of toads has been speculated to be to help the animal to blend more effectively into its environment by breaking up its visual outline. Usually the largest of the bumps are those that cover the parotoid glands. The bumps commonly are referred to as "warts", but this is fanciful; they have nothing to do with warts, being fixed in size, present on healthy specimens and are not a result of infection or injury.
Toads, like many amphibians, exhibit breeding site fidelity (philopatry). Individual Bufo americanus toads return to their natal ponds to breed where they are likely to encounter siblings as potential mates. Although incest is possible, siblings rarely mate. Toads recognize and actively avoid mating with close kin. Advertisement vocalizations given by males appear to serve as cues by which females recognize kin. Kin recognition thus allows avoidance of inbreeding and consequent inbreeding depression.
- "Toad". Dictionary.com, LLC. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Anura, Taxonomic Serial No.: 173423". ITIS Report. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- Fellows, Dave (29 September 2006). "Animal Congregations, or What Do You Call a Group of.....?". United States Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
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- Ray, Crystal. "Do Toads Really Cause Warts". Yahoo!. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- Waldman B, Rice JE, Honeycutt RL. Kin recognition and incest avoidance in toads. Amer. Zool. 1992. 32:18-30.
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