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Location: Amphibians

Tomato Frog (Dyscophus antongilli)



Tomato Frog (Dyscophus antongilli)
Order: Anura, Family: Microphylidae

Tomato frogs are sexually dimorphic. The female ranges from reddish-orange to bright vermilion, and the male from dull orange to brownish-orange. Both males and females have a yellowish underside and black throat. Juveniles are dull in color, developing brighter coloration as they mature. The female tomato frog is larger than the male, measuring 3 to 4 inches long. The male is 2 to 21/2 inches long. The tomato frog has a squat body and narrow mouth; it has ridges of folds on the roof of its mouth.



I. DESCRIPTION:
  • Tomato frogs are sexually dimorphic. The female ranges from reddish-orange to bright vermilion, and the male from dull orange to brownish-orange. Both males and females have a yellowish underside and black throat. Juveniles are dull in color, developing brighter coloration as they mature.
  • The female tomato frog is larger than the male, measuring 3 to 4 inches long. The male is 2 to 21/2 inches long.
  • The tomato frog has a squat body and narrow mouth; it has ridges of folds on the roof of its mouth.
II. LOCATION AND HABITAT:
  • The tomato frog inhabits the forested lowlands of northwestern Madagascar.
  • It also lives in swamps and shallow pools of water.
III. DIET:
  • Adult tomato frogs eat large insects, larvae and invertebrates.
  • Young tomato frogs are "filter-feeder," meaning they strain tiny bits of nutrients from water to get everything needed to grow and develop.
IV. LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
  • Tomato frogs are nocturnal.
  • Primarily terrestrial, they also sometimes inhabit areas of quiet, shallow water.
  • The tomato frog is a sit-and-wait predator. It sits beneath a protective rock or plant and keys in on movement, acting quickly to ambush prey.
  • The tomato frog reaches its adult size and usually becomes sexually mature in less than a year.
  • Tomato frogs breed during cool months; males call from a ditch, marsh or shallow pool after rain, summoning females to breed.
  • Female tomato frogs lay 1,000 to 1,500 small black-and-white eggs at the water's surface; tadpoles hatch 36 hours later.
  • Juveniles complete their metamorphosis after about 45 days.
  • Tomato frogs live for approximately 10 years.
V. SPECIAL NOTES/ADAPTATIONS:
  • The tomato frog's bright coloration acts as a warning mechanism against predators.
  • When threatened, the tomato frog inflates its body. If the predator grabs the tomato frog in its mouth, the frog's skin secretes a thick, whitish substance that gums up the predator's teeth and mouth, causing the predator to release the frog to free up its mouth. The gummy substance clears out of predator's mouth after several days; it contains a toxin that occasionally causes allergic reactions in humans.
VI. POPULATION STATUS:
  • The tomato frog is endangered, due to deforestation and worldwide trade.
VII. MORE FACTS ABOUT TOMATO FROGS:
  • Amphibia means "life on both sides" and refers to the double life that most amphibians live half in water and half out.
  • Female tomato frogs really do resemble ripe tomatoes.
  • The tomato frog can grow to be fairly large, sometimes the size of an adult human's fist.



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