Toad-ally Wrong?

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Andy Arthur writes...

On Monday's episode Mr Fry mentions that there is "virtually no difference" between frogs and toads. This is incorrect because as far as I know they have different eyes.  Toads have slitted reptile eyes and frogs have round pupils.

An Elf Replies...

While I'm sure that your technique is a good rule of thumb for distinguishing between frogs and toads (especially in the UK) there are still exceptions to this rule.  For example, check out this Grey Tree Frog whose eyes are slit and this spadefoot toad with round pupils.

http://www.richard-seaman.com/USA/States/Illinois/VoloBog/GrayTreeFrogOnBranch.jpg
http://staffwww.fullcoll.edu/tmorris/elements_of_ecology/images/spadefoot_toad.jpg

There's no strict difference between frogs and toads - toads are a subset of frogs. Generally speaking, toads crawl instead of hopping, have rough skin, are fat-bodied, and live drier lives than frogs. Most frogs have teeth; most toads don't.

As far as the eyes of these animals is concerned: they certainly are quite interesting.  All toads and frogs blink when they swallow. This pushes the eye right up against the roof of the mouth, which helps force the food down the throat.

Toads' poisons come from glands behind their eyes (and in some species skin warts.) Some toads can squirt poison from behind their eyes.  
We're also told that some frogs have a non-lethal mutation that means their eyes develop on the inside of their heads, so they have to open their mouths to see.

So there you have it, we stand by the fact that toads and frogs are virtually indistinguishable.  You might be interested that the same is true of moths and butterflies and of doves and pigeons.

Quibble Quashed.

Sources
http://www.naturehaven.com/Frog/toad.html
http://www.rps.psu.edu/0205/toads.html

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15 Comments

HE SAID VIRTUALLY NO DIFFERENCE

"virtually no difference"

he said virually no difference and different eyes aren't a huge difference

on one of the christmas ones where Alan and Stephen change places, alan gives an incorrect answer to the number of states of matter. He says S,L,G, plasma, bose-einstein condenstate, and fermionic condenstate. This is incorrect or incomplete. bose-einstein and fermionic are subsets (of low energy states), if he wanted all known subsets there are about 18. Alternatively there are 9 classified kinds of state: Low-energy states, Solid, String-net liquid, liquid, Gas, Super critical fluid, plasma, degenerated matter and very high energy states

surely a frog "hops" and a toad "walks"

I've just had a look at amphibian taxonomy on Wikipedia (so it must be right):

Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Amphibia
Order - Anura

The class Anura are the frogs and toads, there are 3 sub-orders, each split into multiple families:
i) Archaeobatrachia - 4 families, 6 genera, 27 species
ii) Mesobatrachia - 6 families, 21 genera, 168 species
iii) Neobatrachia - 21 families, more than 5,000 species

Each sub-order contains families of both toads and frogs.

PS There's a great mnemonic for the taxonmic hierarchy:
Kingdom-Phylum-Class-Order-Family-Genus-Species becomes Kinky Perverts Can Often Find Good Sex, nice.

Frogs and toads are more language convention than categorisation of different species types. Check out Mushrooms and Toadstools. Any difference? Well not according to France or Spain, where there is only one word for the two types of growth.

Speaking as a zoologist, the main difference between frogs and toads lies chiefly in their choice of habitat. Frogs are limited to damp places, and thus have wet, smooth skin and noticeably webbed feet. Toads, on the other hand, live solely on land and thus have dry, warty skin and reduced webbing on their feet.

In introduction to Wikipedia article "Frog":

"A distinction is often made between frogs and toads on the basis of their appearance, caused by the convergent adaptation among so-called toads to dry environments; however, this distinction has no taxonomic basis. "

Well, there you go.

at the end of the day "nicktheo" you are very sad man and "richard"? wtf dude? this site/program is called quite interesting, not fry my brain with stuff that no one cares about/understands.

thanks, keep it interesting guys

not every frog is a toad but every toad is a frog...

Hmm, an unusual opinion for this site. Most people here welcome new information, however I would admit that Nicktheo did put his quibble in the wrong place...

I thought there was a difference between the croak of the toad and the frog. I dunno maybe im getting mixed up with some other animals

But medieval princesses could tell the difference, after all, no-one ever heard of a princess kissing a toad, so the definitive test would be to offer said amphibian to a fairy-tale princess and depending upon her action, one could tell if the beast was a toad or a frog.

I agree with Emma - frogs have moist skin while toads have dry skin. Also toad legs are shorter than frog legs, they walk rather than hop. This is probably why our French friends do not eat Toad legs.

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