Stuck on Toads and Frogs

We enjoy watching BBC TV and the Africa’s Wild Year series is fascinating. Ever wonder how some frogs mate? Me neither.

On the other hand, Episode 3 had an interesting episode about a South African frog species that use glue to stick together when they mate. I think it’s the common rain frog, scientific name Breviceps adspersus although I think the narrator used a different name. In any case, the way they mate involves a strong adhesive which both male and female secrete on their skin. It’s about as strong as Velcro.

The males are really small compared to the big, round females. Because the males can’t get their arms around their mates, they secrete the glue, which wears off after 3 days.

I know what you may be wondering, and even if I’m wrong, I’m going to tell you anyway. Frogs and toads do the gluey love thing.

I found this out by reading about the Crucifix Toad—or Crucifix Frog, because in this corner of the amphibian world, all toads are frogs. But not all frogs are toads. Confused yet? Read the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on toads vs frogs.

Before I get to the glue toad, watch out for some web sites which claim to know all the ways to clearly differentiate frogs from toads. There’s no clear-cut way to do that. I found one site which says one way to tell them apart is that all toads are poisonous and all frogs are not.

I’m not sure how those guys missed the Poison Dart Frog. Cane Toads secrete a toxin which can kill you and X-Files fans might remember the guy who licked a Cane Toad to get high from the hallucinogenic compound secreted from the toad’s skin when it’s manhandled.

Getting back to manhandling, the sticky toad (or frog) is the Crucifix Toad. The male is small and the female is huge. The solution for mating is glue, just like it is for the common rain frog.

The male makes a “woop” noise when it wants to make whoopee. When a female shows up, he says “Stick with me, baby; this is how we glue it!” It then secretes a glue that is stronger than many non-toxic medical adhesives and gloms on.

She immediately dumps him and hops off with the Poison Dart Frog. You’re welcome.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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