The frogs of the large family Bufonidae, known as TOADS, generally have relatively drier skin and reduced webbing between their toes. Other frogs commonly called toads include the North American spadefoots (family Scaphiopodidae), the Mexican burrowing toad (family Rhinophrynidae) and the European midwife toad (family Alytidae).
The tailed frog lives in mountainous streams in southern BC and has some interesting specializations. Adapted to fast-flowing streams, male tailed frogs use the "tail", which is a modified cloaca (bodily waste tract), for internal fertilization of eggs. Tadpoles have expanded mouthparts for adhering to rocks. The western toad is cold-tolerant enough to live at high altitudes in BC and Alberta, and some other frogs such as the wood, tetraploid grey tree and spring peeper can survive freezing.
The wood frog ranges above the Arctic Circle in the Yukon, where forest extends along river valleys. This species has an extensive Canadian range occurring from coast to coast except in arid areas and on the southwest coast. The bullfrog is the largest Canadian frog and, although originally an eastern species, has been introduced in BC. Green frogs have been introduced to the Vancouver area and leopard frogs to Vancouver Island. Newfoundland has no native frogs, but green, leopard, wood and chorus frogs, as well as American toads, have been introduced and have become established.
Reproduction and Development
Frogs are frequent subjects of folklore and ritual. In dry regions they are associated with life-giving rain and symbolize fertility. European folklore often features frogs and toads as evil. The nocturnal vocalizations of frogs, usually associated with storms or rains, are considered by some American native peoples to be spiritual outcries. In fact, male vocalizations serve to attract females to favourable breeding sites. In some species, the female perceives only a narrow frequency range, hearing only males of her own species. The call in some species may also delineate a male's breeding territory.
Author JAMES P. BOGART
Links to Other Sites
Canada's Biodiversity: Focus on Amphibians
A very extensive resource about Canadian species of frogs, salamanders, and newts. Provides illustrated notes about their life-histories, habitats and more. From Canada's Digital Collections.
Canadian Biodiversity Website
A great information source for all budding biologists. Learn about biodiversity theory, natural history, and conservation issues. From McGill’s Redpath Museum.
This multimedia website provides tips on monitoring frog populations and identifying frog species found in each region of Canada.
Why survey Herptiles?
This Parks Canada website is devoted to the study of amphibian and reptilian species native to Canada.
Amphibian Specialist Group
The Amphibian Specialist Group focuses on conservation of amphibians and their habitats around the world. Hop over to the link for “Froglog,” a bi-monthly newsletter which offers current information about the decline of amphibian species. Part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
The AmphibiaWeb website provides access to information on amphibian biology and conservation. From the University of California.
Amphibian Species of the World
A detailed, highly technical information source about amphibian species of the world. From the American Museum of Natural History.
Captive Breeding and Reintroduction
Click on the animal names at the bottom of the page to find out more about the Toronto Zoo's captive breeding and reintroduction programs for rare and endangered species.
Freezing North American Wood Frogs
Watch a video about the amazing physiological adaptations that enable wood frogs to survive winter temperatures. From YouTube.
The amazing wood frog
This article describes how the wood frog (Rana sylvatica) survives Canada's harsh winter conditions. From whistlernaturalists.ca