Amphibian

Frog, Tomato

RANGE
Lowland areas of Madagascar.

HABITAT
Swampy areas and small pools.

SIZE
Females average 3.5 – 4 inches in body length. Males average 2 – 2.5 inches.

LIFE EXPECTANCY
Normally live 6 – 8 years.

DIET
Wild: Mainly insects, other invertebrates. Basically will eat anything they can overpower and swallow.
Zoo: Crickets, mealworms, small rodents.

REPRODUCTION
Males are capable of breeding after their first year. Females reach sexual maturity in about 2 to 3 years. Breeding takes place during rainy season in stagnant or slow moving water. Females can produce from a few hundred to several thousand eggs. On average about 70 to 90% of the eggs might get fertilized.  Eggs may be laid in mass or in loose clusters that float if fertile. Development is fast, with 1 cm length tadpoles emerging in less than 2 days (Baltimore Zoo).
Tadpoles feed on algae and other plants until developing into froglets, approximately 15 cm in length, and weigh about half a gram. This metamorphosis takes about 30 – 45 days. Young frogs are generally black in color with a tan streak and are completely carnivorous. Adult size is reached in about 10 months.

BEHAVIOR
They are nocturnal in nature. Tomato frogs are not highly active predators, they tend to lie in wait for potential prey to venture in front of them and then pounce.

POINTS OF INTEREST
Tomato frogs have been known to adapt to living in areas around Eucalyptus plantations. Tomato frogs produce a white, sticky secretion on the skin that is highly distasteful to predators. The secretion causes irritation to mucous membranes of the potential predator. The main predator of the Tomato frog is snakes.
Tomato frogs range in color, however they are usually orange to red on their back, with a yellowish underside. Sometimes they have black spots along the throat. Males tend to be less vivid in their coloration than are females.

STATUS
Appendix I of CITES. Near threatened mainly due to deforestation and collection for pet trade. Total number unknown. (There are three species of Tomato frogs in Madagascar.)

REFERENCES

  1. Tomato Frogs, The Louisville Zoo Magazine, Trunkline. Quatman, William.
  2.  August–September 2000. Volume 23, Issue 4.
  3. http://allaboutfrogs.org/info/species/tomato.html
  4. All The Animals Of The World: Reptiles & Amphibians. Torstar Books, New York. Copyright 1986.