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(vertebrate zoology)
A family of toothless frogs in the suborder Procoela including the true toads (Bufo).
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a family of tailless amphibians with a procoelous vertebral column that includes most toads. They are found on all continents and comprise over 1,200 species, divided into seven subfamilies: Criniinae (Australian toads), Heleophryninae, Pseudinae, Rhinophryninae, Elosiinae, Leptodactylinae, and Bufoninae (true toads). The Australian toads are the most primitive, differing from the rest in having a remnant of the notochord continuous throughout the vertebrae.

Representatives of the subfamily Bufoninae are distinguished by the complete absence of teeth and by dilated sacral diapophyses. They are found throughout the world, except in New Guinea, Polynesia, Australia, and Madagascar. There are but five genera, of which the most primitive is the viviparous Nectophrynoides of East Africa. The widespread true toads (genus Bufo), with some 250 species, are mainly terrestrial and nocturnal; they swim and jump relatively poorly and lay their eggs in strings. Representatives of some species may attain a length of 25 cm.

In the USSR there are four species of the true toad: the European, green, Mongolian, and natterjack toads. The European toad (B. Bufo) is widespread in the northern and temperate zones, living in forests, gardens, and meadows and hiding under rocks and in stumps during the day. It is found in mountains to altitudes of 3,000 m. It feeds voraciously on insects, spiders, slugs, and earthworms. Its body is up to 20 cm long, with a solid or mottled grayish brown or olive green coloring. The green toad (B. viridis) is found chiefly in the Crimea, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia, inhabiting drier regions, sometimes even desert oases. It may attain a length of 14 cm, and its coloring is mottled, with black spots on a greenish background. The Mongolian toad (B. raddei) may be found throughout Eastern Siberia and the Far East, and the natterjack toad (B. calamita) is widespread in the western part of the USSR.

Skin secretions of toads irritate the mucous membrane of animals, sometimes killing small animals. Toads are useful in controlling pests in gardens and orchards.


Terent’ev, P. V. Gerpetologiia. Moscow, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The present study assessed the disparity in cardiac variability/complexity of two different Bufonidae species when the animals were exposed to different ambient temperatures.
Taxonomy and distribution of the South American toads, Bufo poeppigii Tschudi, 1845 (Amphibia, Anura, Bufonidae).
A total of 199 amphibians were captured during the survey period, including five families: three families of anurans (Ranidae, Bufonidae, and Hylidae) and two of salamanders (Plethodontidae and Salamandridae).
The Amargosa toad is a member of the family Bufonidae, which includes North American true toads.