Tomato frogs are best identified by their striking colors. Males are a yellow-orange and females a brighter, red-orange. The frogs' undersides are an off-white color, and in some instances these frogs may have black spots on their backs. Two dorsolateral folds run down their backs, and a dark brown stripe extends from behind the eyes to each rear leg. The tomato frogs' forefeet are not webbed, and the webbing in their hind limbs is not pronounced.
Tomato frogs can release a toxic secretion through their skin. These frogs spend much of their time burrowed under leaves and mud. In addition to their toxicity, they can inflate themselves to deter predators.
Tomato frogs are listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.
Habitat destruction, in addition to introduced disease and collection for the pet trade, threaten tomato frogs and many other species native to Madagascar. Their forest habitat is threatened primarily by human interference in the form of subsistence agriculture, timber extraction and livestock grazing. The most notable disease affecting frog populations in Madagascar is chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.
Commonly known as chytrid fungus, this disease presents a dire threat. Collection from the pet trade is driven primarily by herpetological hobbyists, who covet these frogs due to their remarkable coloration. A sister species of Dyscophus guineti, D. antogili, has been placed on Appendix I of CITES and is listed as near threatened by the IUCN’s Red List, primarily due to pollution and collection for the pet trade.
With a wide distribution, presumed substantial population and the ability to tolerate habitat modification, the IUCN assessed tomato frogs as a species of least concern in 2008, believing that they were not under great threat. Since then, chytrid fungus has been discovered on Madagascar and has emerged as a real potential threat to this species. Tomato frogs are not currently listed on the CITES Appendices and are not known to occur in protected areas.
You Can Help
- Buy sustainably sourced timber products. Look for products certified by environmental protection groups when purchasing any wood or timber-based products.
- Avoid transporting live amphibians, and never release non-native animals into the wild. Chytrid fungus can be transported from one place to another through living animals, water or mud; this simple step can help stop the spread of this disease to new regions.
- Support chytrid fungus research and frog conservation initiatives. Chytrid is one of the most devastating disease epidemics impacting biodiversity in the world today, and there is still a great deal of information the scientific community needs to learn in order to properly combat it. Your support can make a difference!