Written on: 07/09/2006 by e4chin (30 reviews written)
I have Fire-bellied Toads The Fire-bellied Toads are a group of eight species of small toads (typically 4-7cm in length) belonging to the genus Bombina. Common variants on the name 'Fire-bellied toad' include 'firebelly toad' and 'firebellied toad'.
Toads in the genus Bombina were formerly classified under the family Discoglossidae in reference to the fact that they cannot fold out their disc-shaped tongue, unlike the other toads and frogs. Differences in morphology, biology and behaviour, have led them to be classified in their own family, Bombinatoridae, together with the genus Barbourula.
They are found across much of Europe and Asia, staying in water or near the shore. They prefer a temperature of 18 -20 Celsius. The largest fire-bellied toad is the Giant Fire-bellied Toad (Bombina maxima), attaining a length of 6-7 cm, living in the highlands of Southern China.
Their name derives from the brightly coloured red- or yellow-and-black patterns on their ventral region, which act as aposematic coloration, a warning to predators of the toads' reputedly foul taste. The other parts of the toads' skins have more neutral colours such as green or dark brown. When confronted with a possible predator, it is not uncommon for these toads to engage in an Unken Reflex, "Unken" being the plural form of the German term "Unke" for firebellied toad, wherein the toad arches its back, raising its front and back legs to display the bold warning coloration of its underside.