PRGAP

Scientific name: Bufo marinus

Spanish Common Names: Sapo Común English Common Names: Giant Toad Synonyms: Rhinella marinus

Taxonomy:

Author: Linnaeus
  • Class: Amphibia
    • Order: Anura
      • Family: Bufonidae
        • Genus: Bufo
          • Species: Marinus

Conservation Status

  • USECA Status: Not Listed
  • IUCN Category: Least Concern
  • DNER Status: Uncategorized
Resident Status
  • In Puerto Rico: Established Exotic
  • In USVI:  Exotic

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Summary:

The Giant Toad can be found in mainland Puerto Rico and in Vieques Island. It was introduced to the mainland, Santiagoand Algodones Cays, Vieques and Culebra islands to control sugar cane pests in the 1920's. It inhabits humid areas with adequate cover, including cane fields, savanna, open forest, well –watered yards and gardens. It can be found by day beneath fallen trees, loose boards, matted coconut leaves, and similar cover. B. marinus eats all kinds of insects or any moving animal that they can handle, including mice, birds, and chicks.

Introduction

The Giant Toad can be found in mainland Puerto Rico and in Vieques Island. It was introduced to the mainland, Santiagoand Algodones Cays, Vieques and Culebra islands to control sugar cane pests in the 1920's. It inhabits humid areas with adequate cover, including cane fields, savanna, open forest, well –watered yards and gardens. It can be found by day beneath fallen trees, loose boards, matted coconut leaves, and similar cover. B. marinus eats all kinds of insects or any moving animal that they can handle, including mice, birds, and chicks.

Geographic Distribution

Bufo marinus can be found from Southern Texas toSouth America. It was introduced in Puerto Rico fromJamaica andBarbados in 1920s.  It was consequently introduced into St. Croix,St. Thomas,Hawaii,Jamaica, Lesser Antilles, Bermuda, Guam,Saipan, and many other tropical and subtropical localities (Schwartz and Henderson 1988).

B. marinus can be found in mainlandPuerto Rico and in Vieques (Saliva 1994). It was initially introduced to the mainland, Cayo Santiago, Cayo Algodones, Vieques and Culebra to control sugar cane pests in the 1920's (Heatwole et al. 1981). 

Habitat Associations

B. marinus may be found from coastal to inland areas (Saliva 1994). Humid areas with adequate cover, including cane fields, savanna, open forest, well-watered yards and gardens are also habitat for this toad. Palustrine habitats where this species may be occurs include forested wetlands, herbaceous wetlands, riparian habitats, scrub-shrub wetlands and temporary pools (NatureServe 2003). It can be found in both xeric and mesic regions (Schwartz and Henderson 1991). B. marinus has an elevational range extending from sea level to about 2,900 ft (880 m) (NatureServe 2003). 

Natural History

Cane toad is active at night (Schwartz and Henderson 1991). It eat all kinds of insects, especially ants and beetles, also any moving animal that they can handle, including mice, birds, and chicks (Rivero 1998). B. marinus may eat inanimate foods such as processed pet food and discarded food scraps. Larvae eat suspended matter, organic debris, algae, and plant tissue (NatureServe 2003).

B. marinus may have 1 to 2 breeding seasons per year, usually reproduces at the beginning of the rainy season (Schwartz and Henderson 1991). Males call from almost any standing water including rivers and creeks (Schwartz and Henderson 1991). The eggs may number up to 35,000, and are laid in rosary strings (Rivero 1998).  Larvae develop in slow or still shallow waters of ponds, ditches, temporary pools, reservoirs, canals, and streams. The larvae are tolerant of high temperatures. In Hawaii, this species may sometimes breed in slightly brackish water (NatureServe 2003). 

Conservation

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 (Solís et al. 2009)

Acknowledgements

This research has been supported by the USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) GIS and Remote Sensing Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey Biological Resources Division Gap Analysis Project: Puerto Rico Gap Analysis Project (agreement no. 01HQPG0031), USVI Gap Analysis Project (06HQ0G0014), and Integrated Gap Analysis Project (G09PG00201), and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources Gap Analysis Project and Sportfish Gap Project (F-57). Kevin Gergely, program manager of the USGS Biological Resources Division, National Gap Program has supported this work. In addition a large number of individuals and institutions have helped the project through contributions of data, analyses, and review of products. Thanks to the expertise of many scientists and students at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras and Mayaguez campuses, Metropolitan University (UMET) in Río Piedras, and The University of the Virgin Islands. Thanks to Jaime Collazo and his staff at North Carolina State University. Thanks the USFS IITF scientists for expertise and contributions, particularly Dr. Joe Wunderle. Thanks to the members of the Ornithological Society of Puerto Rico (SOPI). The following also contributed time and expertise in many aspects of the project: Brick Fevold, Sebastián Martinuzzi, Jose Salguero, Alberto López, Javier Mercado, Ivan Vicens, Tomas Carlo, Ariel Lugo, José Berrios, José Chabert, Jocelyn Aycrigg, Jill Maxwell, Anne Davidson, Nicole Coffey, Thomas Brandeis, Michael Jiménez, Eddie Ventosa, Maria Camacho, Nilda Jiménez, Milagros González, Caryl Alarcón, Jessica Acosta, Isabel Pares, Brittany Barker, Lisa Yntema,Russell Slatton, Mario Francis, and Angelica Vega. We thank Brian Daley and Marcia G. Taylor from the University of the US Virgin Islands. We thank Laurel Brannick, Christy McManus and Zandy Hillis-Starr from the National Park Service in the USVI. We thank St. Croix Environmental Association including Carol Cramer-Burke, the Island Resources Foundation, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources including Renata Platenberg, Jennifer Valiulis, Judy Pierce from the Division of Fish and Wildlife, US FWS Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge including Claudia Lombard, the Nature Conservancy including James Byrne and Shawn Margles, the U.S. Geological Survey National Wetlands Research Center, and Magen's Bay Authority. This particular species was reviewed by Alberto Puente and Renata Platenberg. All research at IITF is done in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico.

Literature Cited

Heatwole, et al. 1981. Biogeography of the Puerto Rican Bank. Atoll Research Bulletin. No. 251

NatureServe. 2003. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 1.8. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia.

Platenberg, R. 2007. Impacts of introduced species on an island ecosystem: non-native reptiles and amphibians in the us virgin islands.USDA. National Wildlife Research Center Symposia Managing Vertebrate Invasive Species, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Rivero, J. A.  1998.  Los anfibios y reptiles de Puerto Rico/The Amphibians and Reptiles of Puerto Rico.  Segunda ed. Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 510pp.

Saliva, J.E. 1994. Vieques y su fauna: Vieques wildlife manual. US Fish & Wildlife Service, Boquerón, PR.

Schwartz, A. and W. R. Henderson 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. Descriptions, Distributions, and Natural History, Univ. Press Florida, Gainesville, FL.  pp. 720

Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Hammerson, G., Hedges, B., Diesmos, A., Matsui, M., Hero, J.-M., Richards, S., Coloma, L., Ron, S., La Marca, E., Hardy, J., Powell, R., Bolaños, F., Chaves, G. & Ponce, P. 2009. Rhinella marina. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. 

Suggested citation

Gould, W., Alarcón, C., Fevold, B., Jiménez, M.E., Martinuzzi, S., Potts, G., Solórzano, M., and Ventosa, E. 2007. Puerto Rico Gap Analysis Project – Final Report. USGS, Moscow ID and the USDA FS International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Río Piedras, PR. 159 pp. and 8 appendices.