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Three-Toed Toadlets: Brachycephalidae

Conservation Status

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists three species of three-toed toadlets as Data Deficient, which means too little information is available to make a judgment about the threat of extinction. The three species are Brachycephalus nodoterga, which is sometimes called a saddleback toad, Brachycephalus pernix, and Brachycephalus vertebralis.


The three-toed toadlets of South America have a confusing name, because they are not actually toads at all. Scientists group all true toads into a single family, named Bufonidae. Young toads in this family are called toadlets. None of the other species of frogs are true toads, even if they have warty skin and look very much like toads. People who are not scientists, however, often are the ones who give frogs their common names, and they sometimes name warty-looking frogs "toads." The three-toed toadlets are an example. People called them toadlets because they look toad-y and they are small. Three-toed toadlets, however, are not part of the family Bufonidae and, scientifically speaking, are not really toads or toadlets at all.

Brachycephalus nodoterga lives in a very small area. In fact, it has only been found in one place: in forests that have never been cut down and about 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level. More studies will help scientists learn details about this frog's life and what specific type of habitat and other things it needs to continue to survive in the wild. Brachycephalus pernix also lives in a small area. This species makes its home in mountain forests about 1,475 feet (450 meters) above sea level. Although its entire habitat is inside a protected area, conservationists fear that too many tourists in the forests may be trampling over the leaf-covered ground and accidentally harming the frogs that live there. Brachycephalus vertebralis is the third species listed by the IUCN as Data Deficient. This small frog also lives in the mountain forests of southern Brazil along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Its home is about 2,625 feet (800 meters) above sea level. First discovered in the late 1990s, it has not been seen since despite repeated searches. Destruction of the forests in southern Brazil may harm the toadlet, as well as the other two Data Deficient species in this family.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansThree-Toed Toadlets: Brachycephalidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Pumpkin Toadlet (brachycephalus Ephippium): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, THREE-TOED TOADLETS AND PEOPLE