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Asian Toadfrogs: Megophryidae

Behavior And Reproduction

The typical Asian toadfrog spends its days resting under rocks, logs, or leaf piles on land and comes out at night to look for food. They are mostly slow-moving frogs that rarely climb and are not particularly good hoppers or swimmers. The leaf litter frogs, for instance, do a slow, waddling walk on land. A few species, like the Asian mountain toad, do some climbing, especially during the mating season. They climb onto branches above the stream, where they mate. Despite the slow speed of most Asian toadfrogs, they are able to avoid the mouths of predators by blending into the background. Most of them have backs and heads in grays and browns that are similar in color to the leaf piles scattered on the forest floor. Many of them also have horn-like eyebrows that make the frog look like a dead leaf. At the slightest sound, these frogs hunker down and stay still and wait for the predator to pass by. The broad-headed toads have another defense tactic. If a predator comes too close, these frogs will spread open their big mouths and hold them wide. Sometimes the sight frightens off the attacker.


Some male frogs use other methods besides calling to convince females to mate with them. One of the Asian toadfrogs is the slender mud frog, also known as the mountain short-legged toad, which is a dark-speckled, orange to tan, somewhat warty frog. When a female comes close to a male, he lays his chin on her shoulder, then moves toward a rock in a shallow mountain stream. If she is interested, she follows him, they mate, and she lays her eggs underwater and beneath the rock.

For those that live in cool or dry areas, the mating season begins when rainy weather arrives. Those whose homes are in places that are mild and wet all year may mate over longer periods. During the mating season, the males usually move to stream shores and begin calling. Although a male may make a few half-hearted calls during the day, it mainly does its calling after sundown. Depending on the species, the male's call may sound like a honk, a loud clank, a low bark, a repeating whistle, or some other noise. During mating a male climbs onto the female's back. The males of some species then grasp her at her front legs, while other males hold on to her above her hind legs. The female lays her eggs so they attach, often in clumps, to the bottom of large rocks along the stream's bank. The adults leave, and the eggs soon hatch into tadpoles. The moustache toads mate a bit differently. In these species, several males may group together at a nesting site and, after mating with females, remain with the eggs until they hatch. Tadpoles of many Asian toadfrogs stay in slower parts of the stream, but a few, like the slender mud frog, prefer faster currents in stony streams. Some tadpoles do not change into frogs until they are two years old. A few species, like the Bana leaf litter frog, appear to lay their eggs on land.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansAsian Toadfrogs: Megophryidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Asian Toadfrogs And People, Conservation Status, Bana Leaf Litter Frog (leptobrachium Banae): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET