Frogs vs. toads – what’s the difference? Well, technically, the answer is nothing! Frogs are short-bodied, tail-less amphibians from the order Anura (from Ancient Greek, meaning “without tail”). Taxonomically, “toads” are really just frogs!
However, according to folk taxonomy (common cultural ways of distinguishing things), there are some differences. Frogs are considered to have smooth, wet skin, while toads are known for their bumpy, drier skin.
There is also a family of frogs, Bufonidae, that is considered to contain “true toads,” as all its members are known as toads. So perhaps this colloquial distinction isn’t so arbitrary after all!
So will it be team Frog or team Toad? Choose your fighter and let the competition begin! The fun starts at 11 AM ET on 9/26 and goes for 48 hours!
Frogs really dominate the amphibious landscape, with 88% of all amphibians being classified as frogs! There are 7,100 species of frogs in 55 families, with the big players being Craugastoridae (850 species), Hylidae (724 species), Microhylidae (688 species), and Bufonidae (621 species).
Characteristics of adult frogs include: 9 or fewer presacral vertebrae, no tail, shorter fore limbs than hind limbs, elongated ankle bones, a three-pronged pelvic structure, a lower jaw consisting of three pairs of bones and no teeth (with a couple exceptions), lymph spaces under the skin, and a muscle called the protractor lentis attached to the lens of the eye.
Frogs, of course, are known for their impressive jumps, and their bodies have adapted to aid greatly in this ability. In modern frogs the main leg muscles account for over 17% body’s total mass! They also have longer toe bones (the metatarsals) and fused bones in the arms and legs to assist with take off, and absorb impact on landing.
Another trait frogs are commonly known for is their bulging eyes. But besides making them look like cute little aliens, these bulbous eyeballs have purpose. Provide the frog with a 100° binocular vision to the front, and nearly 360° total visual field! Eyes are certainly a distinguishing feature of many frogs, and they come in many shapes and colors. Irises can come in colors like red, gold, black, or patterned for camouflage. They can have pupils that are horizontal slits, vertical slits, round, and even triangle!
Though the categorization of “toad” may be a bit murky scientifically, members of the Bufonidae family of Anurans have earned their title as “true toads.” All members of this family are known as toads, and with 35 genera containing 621 species, there are certainly a lot of them!
Folk lore says that touching a toad can give you warts, but this is just a myth! True toads do generally have bumpy skin, but its purpose is to help with camouflage. It cannot spread the bumps to human skin.
However, touching a toad can still be dangerous. Members of Bufonidae have a pair of parotoid glands, which look like large bumps on the back of their heads. They excrete Bufotoxin from these glands when stressed, which can have varying effects depending on the species of toad. Most toads are only mildly poisonous but the Cane Toad and the Colorado River Toad can be lethal to animals who ingest them. Watch out if you’re hiking with your dog near the habitat of one of these species!
On the other hand, some humans seek out the Colorado River Toad’s Bufotoxin on purpose, as it has psychoactive properties. However, you shouldn’t go around licking toads, their are still poisonous and have occasionally resulted in human fatalities as well!
The most commonly known toads come from the Bufo genius, which contains 17 extant species. The most well known of these is, unsurprisingly, the common toad, also known as the European Toad, or simply “toad.” It’s scientific name is Bufo bufo or “toad toad.” They are brown and squat, with short legs, a wide body, no teeth, and no discernible neck. Indeed the toad of all toads!
- Starting Lineup – top 3 players on each team, who earn 75% of their score in bonus points
- All Other Players – earn 50% of their score in bonus points
- Winning Team – 20,000 additional points
- Each Team’s MVP – 5,000 additional points
The winning team is determined by average points per player, with 2x weight given to Starting Lineup players. To qualify for any of the above bonuses or affect the team score, players must earn a minimum baseline of 2,000 points.