AskDefine | Define toad

Dictionary Definition

toad n : any of various tailless stout-bodied amphibians with long hind limbs for leaping; semiaquatic and terrestrial species [syn: frog, toad frog, anuran, batrachian, salientian]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old English tāda, a shortening of tādiġe, of unknown origin.



  1. An amphibian similar to a frog with bigger back legs and more ragged skin.
  2. A very unpleasant man.
An amphibian similar to a frog with bigger back legs and more ragged skin
A very unpleasant man
Translations to be checked

See also

Extensive Definition

Toad refers to a number of species of amphibians. A distinction is often made between frogs and toads by their appearance, prompted by the convergent adaptation among so-called toads to dry environments. For instance, toads often have leathery skin for better water retention, and a brown coloration for camouflage. Many so-called toads also burrow, which requires further adaptations. However, these adaptations merely reflect the environment a species has adapted to, and are not reliable indicators of its ancestry. Since taxonomy reflects only evolutionary relationships, any distinction between frogs and toads is irrelevant to their classification.
For instance, many members of the families Bombinatoridae, Discoglossidae, Pelobatidae, Rhinophrynidae, Scaphiopodidae, and some species from the Microhylidae family are commonly called "toads". However, the only family exclusively given the common name "toad" is Bufonidae, the "true toads". Some "true frogs" of the genus Rana have also adapted to burrowing habits, while the species within the toad genus Atelopus are conversely known by the common name "harlequin frogs".
The type species of the family Bufonidae is the Common Toad, Bufo bufo, and around it cluster a large number of species of the same genus and some smaller genera. B. bufo is a tailless amphibian of stout build with a warty skin and any animal that shares these characteristics is liable to be called a toad, regardless of its location in formal taxonomy.
Almost all toads of the family Bufonidae have two lumps on either side of the back of their head, called the parotoid glands. These glands contain a poison, which oozes out if the toad is stressed. Some, like the Cane Toad Bufo marinus, are more toxic than others. Some "psychoactive toads" such as the Colorado River Toad Bufo alvaris, have been used recreationally for the effects of the bufotoxin.


True toads

Family Bufonidae (Gray, 1825) - True Toads:

Other toad families

Family Bombinatoridae (Gray, 1825) - Fire-bellied Toads:
Family Brachyctpoephalidae (Günther, 1858) - Shield Toads:
Family Discoglossidae (Günther, 1858)
Family Microhylidae (Günther, 1858)
Family Pelobatidae (Bonaparte, 1850) - European Spadefoot Toads:
Family Scaphiopodidae (Cope, 1865) - North American Spadefoot Toads:
Family Rhinophrynidae (Günther, 1859) - Burrowing Toads:


The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped animals and often depicted toads in their art.
To Vietnamese people, toad is the uncle of the Sky. According to a Vietnamese ancient story, whenever toads grind their teeth, it is going to rain.


It is commonly believed that if you touch a toad or if it urinates on you, that you will become infected with warts. This is in fact false. Warts are caused by an internal viral infection. Therefore, it is impossible for warts to be caused by an external source, such as a toad. In addition, the paratoidal glands, which toads use to secrete poison for protection, are often mistaken for warts. It is likely this misconception that led to the 'toads cause warts' myth.


General reference

  • Frogs: Inside their Remarkable World

External links

toad in Bulgarian: Крастави жаби (семейство)
toad in Danish: Tudser
toad in German: Kröten (Familie)
toad in Spanish: Bufonidae
toad in French: Bufonidae
toad in Galician: Sapo
toad in Korean: 두꺼비류
toad in Hebrew: קרפדות (קבוצה)
toad in Lithuanian: Rupūžės
toad in Malay (macrolanguage): Katak puru
toad in Dutch: Padden
toad in Norwegian: Padder
toad in Polish: Ropuchowate
toad in Portuguese: Sapo
toad in Quechua: Hamp'atu
toad in Russian: Жабы
toad in Vietnamese: Cóc
toad in Thai: คางคก
toad in Finnish: Konnat
toad in Chinese: 蟾蜍
toad in Contenese: 蛤乸
toad in Simple English: Toad

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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