Gastrophryne carolinensis, the Eastern narrow-mouthed toad, photographed in Lake county, Florida (28 June 2014).
Now, here’s a lovely little camper from last June. This is a rather plump and adorable Eastern narrow-mouthed toad, Gastrophryne carolinensis. The sole native member of Family Microhylidae in Florida, this species is not actually true toad (Family Bufonidae). It’s more akin to the frog. Because the species is predominantly terrestrial, however, they’ve picked up the “toad” moniker in every day parlance (despite having moist skin and other attributes more associated with frogs than toads). Check out this post for more details on the Eastern narrow-mouthed toad’s phylogenetic classification.
I found this individual buried beneath a small piece of discarded wood at Palm Island Park in Mount Dora, Florida. I often find Eastern narrow-mouthed toads at Palm Island — and even under the same pieces of wood that remain scattered throughout the underbrush. The inset photo to this paragraph shows how the toad was postured when I first uncovered it — flat and wide.
This individual was quite remarkable for its rather strong yellow patterning. Most of the Eastern narrow-mouthed toads I’ve seen and photographed are a bit darker overall.
What a fantastically plump and interesting amphibian, right? I sometimes look at images of frogs and toads from around the world and find myself astounded by the seemingly strange and bizarre physical forms they can take elsewhere… And then I come across another Eastern narrow-mouthed toad in the American southeast and I’m again reminded how seemingly strange and bizarre our own local species can be. The Eastern narrow-mouthed toad is somewhat reclusive and not nearly as encountered as other, better-known treefrog and true frog species, but they are still very much a common element throughout many of our local habitats. Truly, there’s nothing boring about my home region’s biodiversity. I’ll never grow tired of the American southeast.