The Marine Toad

by: Alissa Charalambous

Non-Native Species

The marine toad is a non-native species.Non-native species have been either intentionally or accidentally introduced by humans or their activities. Non-native species do not cause environmental or economic harm. A distinction between non-native species and invasive species is that non-native species don't disrupt the natural functions and processes of our ecosystems.

About the Marine Toad

Cane toads are large, stocky amphibians with warty skin and are native to the southern United States, Central America, and South America. Their numbers are manageable in their natural range, but they have thrived in Australia because there are few natural predators, they breed easily, and they have abundant food. Their effects on Australia's ecology include the depletion of native species that die eating cane toads and the poisoning of pets and humans. Marine toad venom is a mix of toxins that affect the functioning of the heart. It is present throughout their bodies and is secreted as a liquid from glands located over the toad's shoulders.
Big image
Big image

More Information

  • Latin name is Bufo marinus
  • Common name: Cane toad, giant toad, South American cane toad
  • Criminal name:
  • They are native to South America, Central America, Mexico, and the extreme south of Texas
  • They are toxic to predators

Preferred Habitat

  • Forests with temporary or permanent standing water

  • Successful in disturbed areas where introduced, including around buildings and in yards

  • More likely to naturally be found in secondary growth forests or open habitats instead of primary or closed canopy forests


  • 2-9 inches
  • Heavily built with tough, warty skin
  • Females have smoother skin and are larger
  • Large head with bony ridges above the eyes
  • Short limbs with partly webbed toes

Crimes Committed

The marine toad has poison glands and the tadpoles are highly toxic to most animals, if ingested. Because of its insatiable appetite, the cane toad has been introduced to many regions of the Pacific and the Caribbean islands as a method of pest control. The marine toad is now considered an invasive species in many of its introduced regions; of particular concern is its toxic skin, which kills many animals and native predators when ingested. Some birds and native predators have learned to avoid the poison glands of adult toads, other predators are more vulnerable and die quickly after eating these toads. In Australia, they eat the native wildlife, but have no natural predators. They eat native frog species and compete directly with native frogs and other species for food. Many of these native frog species are now at a risk for extinction because of the marine toad.

REWARD: $1,500,000

There will be a huge reward for whoever can figure out how to completely eliminate this species. About 3,000 cane toads were released in sugarcane plantations in north Queensland in 1935. There are now millions, and are still expanding across northeastern Australia. They are considered pests, and eradication efforts include asking people to help collect and dispose of them. Their effects on Australia's ecology include the depletion of native species that die eating cane toads, the poisoning of pets and humans, depletion of native fauna preyed on by cane toads, and reduced prey populations for native species like skinks.
Big image