AmphibiaWeb - Sclerophrys dodsoni


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Sclerophrys dodsoni (Boulenger, 1895)
Dodson's Toad, dufda 'a 'ilba
family: Bufonidae
genus: Sclerophrys

© 2012 Frank Deschandol (1 of 2)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Bufo dodsoni, or Dodson's Toad, is a medium-sized, East African frog. The largest recorded specimen is a female with a snout/vent length of 59 millimeters. It has a short and rounded snout and prominent, smooth, oval parotoid glands. The tympanum is large and distinct, approximately equal in length to the eye diameter. The second finger is shorter than the first. Hind limbs are short, and limited webbing is present between digits. A tarsal ridge is present. While the dorsum has scattered, rounded, flattened porous warts, the venter is slightly granular. Males of the species possess a subgular vocal sac (Baha el Din 2006).

The dorsum is olive gray with small black and light orange spots. Distinctive dark spots are also present below and slightly anterior to each eye. Limbs have dark bands, while ventral sides are primarily whitish. The male subgular sac is white. Juveniles are more brightly colored than their adult counterparts (Baha el Din 2006).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan


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Bufo dodsoni is only found in East Africa. It is particularly widespread in Djibouti, and northern and central Somalia. It is fairly common in the Port of Sudan, but rarer and more localized in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is also present in very limited populations in southeastern Egypt, having only ever been observed in the mountainous neighborhood of Gebel Elba in the Hala'ib Triangle (Baha el Din 2006).

Bufo dodsoni regularly occurs in rocky wadis (valleys or dry riverbeds) in dry subdeserts with temporary or permanent water sources. It is generally found from sea level to 1800 meters above sea level (Baha el Din 2006).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
During dry spells, Bufo dodsoni aestivates for long periods in its humid microhabitats (generally deep fissures among rocks or wells). It emerges immediately after rainfall, at which point it breeds in temporary pools. Breeding does not generally occur in permanent water bodies due to the large number of potential predators capable of consuming eggs and tadpoles (Baha el Ein 2006). However, this species has been reported to sometimes breed in water in caves, or gheltas (permanent pools at the mouth of caves or at the bases of cliffs) (Balletto et al. 2006).

The call is a single note that sounds like a dog's bark. Tadpole development is rapid, with metamorphosis occuring in six weeks, and full adult size requiring only about one year of development (Baha el Din 2006).

In the Egyptian neighborhood of Gebel Elba, specimens have been found during winter and spring, in and near wells among rocks at night. Members of the species often sit in elevated positions on rocks and small boulders looking out for moving prey. In captivity, B. dodsoni feeds on relatively large prey. Juveniles, for instance, consume "pinkies" about half their own size. During periods of extended drought, individuals may retreat to higher elevations, for the higher relative humidity (Baha el Din 2006).

Trends and Threats
Bufo dodsoni is classified as "Least Concern" by IUCN, due to its wide distribution in many parts of East Africa. Its wide distribution owes in part to its tolerance of a broad range of habitats, and ability to live in areas with scarce opportunities for steady water. The major threat is the expansion of human settlement, which leads to increased numbers of domestic livestock, affecting the quality of breeding pools (Balletto et al. 2006).

It occurs in Awash National Park in Ethiopia. It also occurs in the protected Gebel Elba area of Egypt. The area of largest population, Somalia, is not protected (Balletto et al. 2006).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

Intensified agriculture or grazing
Prolonged drought


Baha El Din, S. (2006). A Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo.

Balletto, E., Lanza, B., Largen, M., and Baha El Din, S. (2006). Bufo dodsoni. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 24 April 2009.

Originally submitted by: Taha Jabbar (first posted 2009-03-03)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2009-04-24)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Sclerophrys dodsoni: Dodson's Toad <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 17, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Apr 2024.

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