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|Madagascar Tomato Frog
This is a rather large frog, with females being 3-4 inches long and weighing about 8 ounces. The back is uniformly orange to red in color, the underside is yellowish, and there may be black spots on the throat. Males are slightly duller and smaller than females.
Tomato frogs secrete a whitish substance from their skin that, while not poisonous, can cause a severe allergic reaction when touched.
Distribution and Habitat
This frog is found only on the northeast coast of Madagascar, mainly around Antongill Bay. It lives in swamps, shallow pools and sewage water ditches.
Tomato frogs feed on arthropods and other small animals it can catch. They are ambush feeders, preferring to sit in one place and wait for prey to come by and seldom go after prey if they miss the first opportunity.
Males begin calling after rains in an attempt to summon females. Breeding takes place in stagnant or very slow-moving water, after which 1,000-1,500 small black/white eggs are deposited on the water surface. Eggs hatch 36 hours after laying. Tadpoles are filter feeders, straining tiny bits of nutrients from water. Metamorphosis is complete after 45 days, and adult size is reached in less than a year. Juveniles are yellow on the back, dark on flanks and extremities.
Tomato frogs may live up to 10 years in the wild.
Other Habits and Behaviors
Tomato frogs are nocturnal and terrestrial. Their call, which consists of 3 to 7 unharmonious notes, is most often heard during the evening and night. When disturbed, a tomato frog can inflate itself to appear much larger and more threatening.
The Madagascar Tomato Frog is an endangered species. It is vulnerable to collection for the illegal animal trade, as well as to runoff of pesticides and other pollutants into its habitat.
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This page was last updated on June 22, 2017.