Thank Goodness It's Frog Friday – Cape Sand Toad
TGIFF!!! Thank Goodness It's FROG FRIDAY! The species in the spotlight today is the Cape Sand Toad Vandijkophrynus angusticeps. This is a medium sized toad and has the typical square, thick-set body which characterizes this genus. The skin is rough and dry with wart-like glandular elevations on the upper side and includes a pair of distinctive parotoid glands on the neck behind the eyes. The legs are longer than the body length and there are no hard ridges on the heel of the hind foot or discs on the toes and fingers. The edges of the toes are fringed with webbing (but two segments of the third toe are free of web). The tarsal fold is distinct and ridged. The upper body surface is light grey to light brown and covered in variable dark patches or blotches. Some of these are arranged in pairs that extend down the length of the back from the snout. There is usually a thin, pale vertebral line extending from the snout to the tip of the urostyle, and the upper surfaces of the feet are generally yellow. The underside is white and has a granular texture except for the throat which has a smoother skin. This species has a relatively soft call, and calling males can be difficult to locate as the calls are widely spaced and the frogs become silent when approached.
The Cape Sand Toad is endemic to the Fynbos Biome and mainly occurs in the winter rainfall region of the Western Cape Province of South Africa, but its habitat also extends eastwards into a winter/summer rainfall transition zone. The Cape Sand Toad is mainly associated with sandy, coastal lowlands but also occurs in some rocky montane areas further inland. It breeds in shallow temporary pools in seasonally flooded land, and this may also include modified habitat such as cultivated lands. Breeding takes place once sufficient rain has fallen for temporary pools to form. This generally happens in the winter period from May to September. During rainy periods in suitable habitat, many of these toads may be seen at night moving across roads to breeding sites (especially early in the breeding season). At the breeding sites, calling males tend to be sparsely distributed and their calls are soft and intermittent. They are known to call from exposed positions at the water's edge after dark. The eggs, which are 1–2 mm in diameter, are laid in long gelatinous strings of 5–7 mm in width. The eggs develop into free-swimming benthic tadpoles which are relatively small and dark. The tadpoles take about a month or less to metamorphose into tiny toadlets.
The photo shown here is record 393 from the FrogMAP database. The photo was taken in the Western Cape by Trevor Hardaker and it is the only photographic record of Cape Sand Toad in the database! Please help us to map this cool toad's 21st century distribution by submitting your photos, along with the location details, to FrogMAP (formerly known as SAFAP) at vmus.adu.org.za.
[ Staff login ]