While the frogs were celebrating life at Amboli during the rains, the toads were not far behind. The dominant calls in toads were of the Common Indian Toad (Bufo melanostictus)
Common Indian Toad is one of the commonest toad species often found close to human habitation. They are easily identified by horny warts all over their bodies and the prominent parotoid glands. Although their body color is highly variable, they are mostly brownish yellow in color with dark streaks and spots. The adult Common Indian Toads secrete a toxin when handled which emits a pungent odour and as some of the trail participants with me found out, they also urinate immediately. Continuous handling by humans may lead to itching in nostrils and eyes and directly exposed skin. Toads eat small insects and earthworms and keep their population in check.
In the monsoon, they can be breeding near water bodies. The breeding males sport an enriched yellow hue. At Amboli, we just heard the males calling. But in Mumbai itself, I was lucky enough to come across a mating pair in the forest which I already posted in an earlier blog post. The link for the image is posted below. As you can see from the pictures, the female is considerably larger than the male.
What we saw next and the only other toad species that I have seen yet was the Amboli Toad or the Tiger Toad (Xanthophryne tigerinus). Endemic to Amboli, this species is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN list beacuse it’s area of occupancy is estimated to be less than 10 sq kilometres. The habitat of this species is considered to be severely fragmented (S.D. Biju pers. comm. December 2010). Major threats to this species are large-scale agricultural activities, logging and tourism (S.D. Biju pers. comm. January 2011). The Tiger Toad is easily identified by the tiger like stripes on its flanks. We saw an individual toad as well as a mating pair. All individuals were quite shy. The mating pair also kept hopping away unlike the mating pair of the Common Indian Toad. And so even though I could not manage to get a good click, we left them alone.