(see family information on Tree of Life site)
1 species in 1 genus

Burrowing Toads

The only living representative of this family is Rhinophrynus dorsalis. It is known as the “burrowing toad” due to its burrowing lifestyle, for which it is physically specialized by having a pointed snout for digging into the ground face first, short and strong arms and legs, and a pectoral girdle that overlaps the back of the head. The pointed snout, globular body, and small eyes give it a teardrop appearance. These frogs are specialized for eating ants, and do so with a specialized ant-eater like tongue that is protruded through a narrow opening at the front of the mouth, unlike most frogs which open their mouths and project a tongue. They also lack teeth. Because they are burrowers, they spend most of their lives underground and only come to the surface to mate during the rainy season. Considered to be a close relative of the Pipidae due to the tadpole stage of both groups lacking beaks and denticles and possessing paired spiracles (Type I tadpole).

Rhinophrynus dorsalis
Photo by Paul Licht
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Genus Rhinophrynus (1 species)
Rhinophrynus dorsalis AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video

Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: (Accessed:

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