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Fire-Bellied Toads and Barbourulas: Bombinatoridae

Conservation Status

Half of the ten species in this family are at risk, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Four are Vulnerable, which means they face a high risk of extinction in the wild. These are the Philippine barbourula, the large-spined bell toad (also known as the Guangxi fire-bellied toad), the Lichuan bell toad, and the small-webbed bell toad (also known as the Hubei fire-bellied toad). The biggest threats to these frogs include pollution, habitat destruction, and collection for the pet trade. In addition, some are extremely rare. The large-spined bell toad, for example, is so uncommon that scientists have only found a few individuals and only in a small part of China. Fortunately, most of this area is protected inside a national nature reserve. Likewise, the Lichuan bell toad only appears to live in ten locations inside two Chinese provinces, and the habitat in many of these areas is being destroyed as new farms and homes move in. At least one of these populations, which makes its home inside a nature reserve, is protected.

The fifth of the five at-risk species is the Bornean flat-headed frog. This species is Endangered and faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild. The Bornean flat-headed frog lives in a single, tiny area that measures less than 300 miles by 300 miles (500 kilometers2), and scientists know about it from just two individuals collected from forest rivers. Unfortunately, human activity near the rivers, including illegal gold mining, is making the rivers muddy and polluted, which may hurt the frogs that still live there.

Although the other five species in this family are not listed as being at risk, scientists are watching them closely because some groups of these frogs are disappearing. Human development in the habitat of the fire-bellied toad is wiping out entire populations of this animal.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansFire-Bellied Toads and Barbourulas: Bombinatoridae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Fire-bellied Toads, Barbourulas, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT