This species ranges from southern Texas, USA, through tropical Mexico and Central America to northern South America (central Brazil and Amazonian Peru and northern parts of Amazonian Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela [including Margarita Island] and the Guianas, throughout Trinidad and Tobago). It is introduced in southern Florida, Puerto Rico (introduced in the 1920s), St Croix, St Thomas, Hawaii (introduced from Puerto Rico in 1932, now common on all main islands), Jamaica (including Cabarita Island) (introduced from Barbados in 1844, common throughout island in lowlands), the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), St Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, the Grenadines, Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent, Barbados, Aruba, Grenada, Guam (McCoid 1993), Saipan (Wiles and Guerrero 1996), and many other tropical and subtropical localities (Schwartz and Henderson 1988). It is also an invasive and introduced species in much of the lowlands of Papua New Guinea, the Admiralty and Bismarck Islands and the Solomon Islands. It was introduced to Australia in 1935, to north tropical Queensland to control sugar cane pests (which it failed to do). Now the southern limit of its distribution is near Coffs Harbour in northeastern New South Wales, and its range extends through most of Queensland and into the Northern Territory to Kakadu National Park (first recorded at Koolpin Gorge, 24 June 2002 and Twin Falls, 10 June 2002). It is also introduced and now widespread in the Philippines. It is found on most of the major islands. It was introduced into Japan first from Hawaii to Taiwan, Province of China, and then from Taiwan through Daito Islands (1930) to Ishigaki Island (1978). The population of Bonin Island was introduced from Guam, which in itself had the species introduced in 1937 (Christy et al. 2007). It is also found on Hatomajima. It occurs from sea level up to 3,000 m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
A nocturnal and terrestrial toad that inhabits humid areas with adequate cover, including cane fields, savannah, open forest, well watered yards and gardens. It also inhabits dry equatorial forests. It thrives in degraded habitats and man-made environments, and is occasionally found in pristine lowland and montane rainforests, but generally prefers open or disturbed habitat such as tracks, roads, low grassland and areas that are near human settlement, e.g. grazing land, suburban parks and gardens. It tends to avoid more densely vegetated areas (eg. wet sclerophyll and rainforest), which can then act as a barrier to their dispersal. It can be found by day beneath fallen trees, loose boards, matted coconut leaves, and similar cover (Lynn 1940). It feeds on arthropods (especially ants and termites) and small vertebrates. It is flexible regards breeding site (Evans et al. 1996); eggs and larvae develop in slow or still shallow waters of ponds, ditches, temporary pools, reservoirs, canals, and streams. Clutch size is between 8,000 and 17,000. Eggs and tadpoles are poisonous and displace native tadpoles. It may sometimes breed in slightly brackish water in Hawaii. Larvae are tolerant of high temperatures.
It is a very abundant species, and its range is increasing.
Overall, there are no significant threats to this very adaptable, invasive species. Introduced animals are carrying salmonella in Puerto Rico, putting other native species at risk. In some parts of its introduced range it competes with native frogs and has a negative impact on native wildlife that attempt to consume it. Survival and development of tadpoles in Bermuda are being affected both by contaminants found in a number of its ponds and by transfer of accumulated contaminants (Bacon et al. 2006).
There are no conservation measures needed for this highly invasive species; rather, conservation measures for those species adversely affected by the expansion of the range of this species are what is required. Research on biology, impacts and methods to control their population growth in Australia are in place, but to date no effective controls have been implemented. In Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Philippines and Japan, the impacts of this species on native frogs should be examined. An officially organized eradication programme has been initiated in the Grenadines (Daudin and Silva 2007).
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Rhinella marina is generally considered to be a complex of several species.
Frank Solís, Roberto Ibáñez, Geoffrey Hammerson, Blair Hedges, Arvin Diesmos, Masafumi Matsui, Jean-Marc Hero, Stephen Richards, Luis Coloma, Santiago Ron, Enrique La Marca, Jerry Hardy, Robert Powell, Federico Bolaños, Gerardo Chaves, Paulino Ponce 2009. Rhinella marina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T41065A10382424. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009-2.RLTS.T41065A10382424.en