Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad
Gastrophryne carolinensis

Common Name:

Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad  

Scientific Name:

Gastrophryne carolinensis



Gastrophryne is derived from the Greek words gaster  meaning "belly" and phrynos meaning "toad".


carolinensis refers to South Carolina, where the toad was first found and described.

Average Length:

0.9 - 1.3 in. (2.2 - 3.2 cm)

Virginia Record Length:

Record length:

1.5 in. (3.8 cm)

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: This is a small species with a length of 22-38 mm (7/8 to 1.5 in). It has smooth skin, a pointed snout, and a distinctive fold of skin across the bakck of the head *11407* *1014*. The dorsoum varies from gray to brown to reddish in color. The typical pattern is a broad stripe down the center with light stripes down the sides. The pattern is often broken up by mottling or spotting *11407* *1014*. The coloring may change with the individual's environment *11407*. The venter is heavily speckled or mottled, and the males usually have dark throats *1014*. This toad species is also distinctive for its lack of parotoid glands, warts, and webbed toes *1014*.

REPRODUCTION: Breeding is typically triggered by warm rains from May to July. At this time, individuals gather in large groups in shallow puddles, ponds, streams, and swamps *1014*. This species typically uses sites with grassy margins *11284*. Deeper water will be used if mats of dense floating vegetation are available *11407*. The male mating call resembles the bleating of a lamb often preceded by a short peep. The call has a vibrant quality similar to an electric buzzer. Each call lasts 1/2 to 4 seconds. The male often calls while floating in clumps of plants *11407*. Call duration, frequency, and pulse rates are more distinctive in sympatric populations than in allopatric populations *11406*. This species is adherent during amplexus *11406*. Packets of eggs, with typically 850 eggs per packet, are laid on the water surface. Metamorphosis takes place in 20 to 70 days. The newly transformed toad is typically 8.5-12 mm long *1014*. Adults become sexually mature in 1-2 years *11406*.

BEHAVIOR: This species is mainly terrestrial. It is very secretive spending much of its time in burrows, sometimes found under logs, rocks, or boards *1014* *11284*. This species is found in a variety of habitats, but must have shelter and moisture. It can frequently be found on the margins of water bodies *11407*. This species is known to eat ants, termites and beetles *11284* *1014*. Males call during breeding season. Breeding occurs in shallow water bodies *11407*.

ORIGIN: Native

LIMITING FACTORS: This species requires moist shelter typically found under logs or boards. It also requires ants or termites for food *11284*.

POPULATION PARAMETERS: This species was the most abundant anuran in a study of a South Carolina lake. It made up 36% of the total number of individuals found at this lake *11406*.

AQUATIC/TERRESTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS: This species is found in a wide variety of habitats but seems to require shelter and moisture. Breeding occurs in shallow water bodies or in deeper water bodies with abundant floating vegetation *11407*. Is can be found in pine flatwoods, pine woods, bottomland hardwoods, and cypress swamps *11284*.

References for Life History

  • 1014 - Martof, B.S., Palmer, W.M., Bailey, J.R., Harrison, III J.R., 1980, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, 264 pgs., UNC Press, Chapel Hill, NC
  • 11284 - Wilson, L.A., 1995, Land manager's guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the South, 360 pp. pgs., The Nature Conservancy, Southeastern Region, Chapel Hill, NC
  • 11406 - Duellman, William E. and, Trueb, Linda, 1986, Biology of Amphibians, 671 pgs., The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore
  • 11407 - Conant, Roger and, Collins, John T., 1998, Peterson Field Guide: Reptiles and Amphibians, Eastern/Central North America, 616 pgs., Houghton Mifflin Company;, Boston


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