Mexican Burrowing Frog (Rhinophrynus dorsalis)

This robust fossorial (burrowing) frog lives most of its life underground, and only emerges to the surface to breed during heavy rains. A tough conical warty snout, strong back legs for pushing forward, and shovel-like front legs all help this animal burrow into the ground. It reaches a snout vent length (SVL) of 7 or 8 cm. Its small mouth and protruding tongue helps them feed on termites, which is the vast majority of their diet. R. dorsalis is found in various habitats, from the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and Southward to Costa Rica.

photographs by Callie Oldfield and Carlos Galindo-Leal

Mexican Burrowing Toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis)

…the sole member of the family Rhinophrynidae, the Mexican burrowing toad is a species of frog that occurs from south Texas through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. As evidenced by its common name R. dorsalis is fossorial in nature (adapted for digging), spending most of its time underground. After long periods of rain it will emerge from the soil and attempt to lay eggs in a suitable water source. Mexican burrowing toads are primarily insectivorous, feeding mainly on ants, termites, and other insects. 


Animalia-Chordata-Amphibia-Anura-Mesobatrachia-Rhinophrynidae-Rhinophrynus-R. dorsalis

Image: Pstevendactylus


Mexican burrowing toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis)

“The only species, within the only genus of the family Rhinophrynidae, and with over 190 million years of independent evolution, the Mexican burrowing toad is the most evolutionarily distinct amphibian species on Earth today; a fruit bat, polar bear, killer whale, kangaroo and human are all more similar to one another than this species is to any other amphibian. Although relatively common, the Mexican burrowing toad is rarely seen as this species spends the majority of the year living solely underground, only emerging after the first heavy rains to congregate for breeding in temporary pools.” (http://www.edgeofexistence.org/amphibians/species_info.php?id=1355)