Incilius coniferus (Cope, 1862)
Green Climbing Toad
© 2007 Twan Leenders (1 of 34)
Dorsal coloration is usually yellow green to olive green, although sometimes dull gray to brown. The color is uniform or with contrasting dark or white blotches, or dark blotches with one or two gold spots. Small juveniles (up to 30 mm SVL) are usually green with light outlined red orange warts. The venter is dirty white. The iris is green and brown. (Savage 2002).
Larvae at stage 36 measure 19.7-21.3 mm SVL. The body is ovoid with an average width of 5.6 mm, and it is widest at 1/3 the distance back from the tip of the snout; the tail is longer than the body. The snout is rounded in the dorsal profile, and the tail tip is rounded. The nostrils are dorsal and eyes dorsolateral. The spiracle is sinistral, is closer to the posterior end of the body, is located at the midbody, and directed posteriodorsally at a 45° angle. The vent tube is medial. The mouth is moderate and anteroventral. The oral disc is emarginate with the papillae of the upper labium confined to the corners of the mouth; on the right side there are 10-13 small papillae in the outer row and 3-6 inner, and on the left side there are 10-11 outer and 2-4 inner. The lower labium is also free of papillae except at the corners; on each side there are 9-15 papillae. Beaks are finely serrated, and the upper beak is very slightly convex while the lateral portions are sharply angled downward. The lower beak is shallowly V-shaped. There are 2/3 denticle rows, with both upper rows extending completely across the mouth from under the lateral papillae and the lower row slightly longer and separated above the beat by 1/4-1/3 the length of the beak. The lower denticle rows are complete with the longest at the top of the oral disc and each of the next lower slightly shorter than the preceding (Livezey 1986).
In life, the tadpoles are black above and gray below. The dorsal fin is slightly more heavily pigmented than the ventral, and both the caudal and dorsal fins are relatively clear and translucent. The tail musculature is dorsally very heavily pigmented from 3/4 to almost the entire depth; the portion without pigment is creamy-white to gray. In preservative, the dorsal body coloration is deep brown with black pigment blotches laterally and anteriorly. The venter is gray with the intestinal coil clearly visible (Livezey 1986).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama
This toad is commonly found in lowland wet and moist forest zones, and is less frequently found in premontane wet forest and lower montane wet forest zones. It is usually in undisturbed forests and is often climbing above the ground on shrubs or trees (Savage 2002).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Bufo coniferus breeds in shallow ponds or pools in the forest or nearby pastures during the dry season (December to April). During the reproductive season, male choruses may be heard during the day as well as at night, and males call from the edge of a pond or pool (Savage 2002). The call is a long trill lasting 18-30 seconds with a dominant frequency of 1.0 kHz, and the trill rate is 39-40 per second (Porter 1966). Large choruses sound like gasoline-powered generators. Amplexus is axillary (Savage 2002).
Oviposition occurs at the beginning of the wet season, and the eggs are often deposited in temporary ponds or water-filled depressions that form after heavy rains (Crump 1989). Double rows of eggs without partitions are laid within a continuous, double-layered gelatinous tube. The eggs are black on the upper 2/3-3/4 and gray on the lower portion. Average diameter of eggs is 1.77 mm (ranging from 1.67-1.86 mm), and there are 12-16 eggs per 2.00 cm. Average diameter of the egg capsule is 1.85 mm. The encasing tube consists of a thin outer envelope surrounding a second inner envelope. Average diameter of the outer envelope and inner envelope are 4.16 mm and 3.71 mm, respectively. Occasionally, there may be single and triple rows of eggs; the average diameter of eggs in single rows and triple rows are 1.70 mm and 1.76 mm, respectively. Eggs hatch in about five days, resulting in tadpoles at stages 19 to 21 with a SVL of 5.95-6.95 mm, fully developed gills, opaque cornea, developing oral disc, and obvious suckers. Metamorphosis is achieved 33 days from hatching, resulting in a toadlet with an SVL of 9.1 mm. (Livezey 1986). Small juveniles are 14 mm (Savage 2002).
This species appears to feed almost entirely on ants and mites (Toft 1981).
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).
Bogart, J. P. (1972). ''Karyotypes.'' Evolution in the Genus Bufo. W. F. Blair, eds., University of Texas Press, Austin.
Chaparro, J. C., Pramuk, J. B., and Gluesenkamp, A. G. (2007). ''A new species of arborea Rhinella (Anura: Bufonidae) from cloud forest of southeastern Peru.'' Herpetologica, 63, 203-212.
Cochran, D. M. and Goin, C. J. (1970). ''Frogs of Colombia.'' United States National Museum Bulletin 288. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C..
Crump, M.L. (1989). ''Life history consequences of feeding versus non-feeding in a facultatively non-feeding toad larva.'' Oecologia, 78, 486-489.
Duellman, W. E., Schulte, R. (1992). ''Description of a new species of Bufo from northern Peru with comments on phenetic groups of South American toads (Anura: Bufonidae).'' Copeia, 1992, 162-172.
Lips, K.R., Reeve, J.D., and Witters, L.R. (2003). ''Ecological traits predicting amphibian population declines in Central America.'' Conservation Biology, 17(4), 1078-1088.
Livezey, R.L. (1986). ''The eggs and tadpoles of Bufo coniferus Cope in Costa Rica.'' Revista de Biologia Tropical, 34(2), 221-224.
Porter, K.R. (1966). ''Mating calls of six Mexican and Central American toads (genus Bufo).'' Herpetologica, 22(1), 60-67.
Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica:a herpetofauna between two continents, between two seas. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA and London.
Toft, C. A. (1981). ''Feeding ecology of Panamanian litter anurans: patterns in diet and foraging mode.'' Journal of Herpetology, 15, 139-144.
Originally submitted by: Christin Hong (first posted 2007-11-09)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2010-06-22)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2010 Incilius coniferus: Green Climbing Toad <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/147> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Nov 30, 2022.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 30 Nov 2022.
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