Friday 3 May 2013

Tomato Frog

Image: Frank.Vassen
Tomato Frogs are as red as a tomato and almost as spherical. They're a bit more poisonous, though!

There are four species in the genus Dyscophus which more or less resemble a mutant tomato with eyes, legs and an appetite for worms. Three live in Madagascar, while their long lost cousin D. philippensis comes from the Philippines.

Image: Frank.Vassen
Dyscophus antongilii
The most vibrantly red Tomato Frogs are big females of the species D. antongilii, who reach up to 10 cm (4 in) long. They achieve much acclaim for their fantastic impression of a gigantic tomato. It's a mixed blessing, as they require constant protection against sandwich-threats. And the red carpet treatment doesn't work so well because they prefer to stand out from the crowd.

Image: Silvain de Munck
Dyscophus antongilii
Males are a little smaller and drabber than females, while younger members of both sexes are more yellow in colour before they ripen.

Image: Sibylle Stofer
False Tomato Frog (D. guineti) eating its own skin
A drastic solution for want of a loofah
Nasty white stuff on tomatoes usually means mould. For Tomato Frogs, it's a little worse...

Image: Frank.Vassen
D. insularis is, aside from the Philippine one, the least well known of the genus
When threatened, Tomato Frogs puff themselves up to increase their size and look like a really massive tomato. If a predator quite likes the look of this massive tomato and attempts to eat it anyway, the Tomato Frog will secrete a kind of toxic glue from glands on its back. It's a great way of warding off predators like snakes, who end up with a mouthful of sticky horrors gumming up their mouth.

Replicate the experience at home by eating a delicious tomato sandwich with putrid mayonnaise! If you want to, for some reason.

Image: David d'O
Dyscophus antongilii
Tomato Frogs mate early in the year after heavy rains. The smaller male grabs hold of his lady friend to copulate, after which she lays several thousand eggs in a shallow pool.

They hatch in 36 hours and the tadpoles develop into small, yellow tomatoes within 45 days.

But we all know what small, yellow tomatoes grow into...


TexWisGirl said...

okay, they were cute but your description of eating putrid sandwiches is not! :)

Joseph JG said...

Sandwiches have to defend themselves somehow!

blogger said...

Beautiful pictures, checkout my latest post at
don't be shy to leave a comment and like us on facebook

Anonymous said...

I should never have read this so close to lunch time! Now, I am starving and craving a fat tomato sandwich........minus putrid mayo, thanks.
What an adorable little froggie! Thanks for introducing him.

Joseph JG said...

@Steve: Glad you like it!

@stregajewellry: I'm pleased to introduce you! There's time for the putrid mayonnaise!