Is it safe to say that all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads? What’s the distinction?
In my limitedly accurate opinion, I always thought they were two distintive types of animals. Frankly I also found them to be very confusing.
The terms “frog” and “toad” have no technical meaning; that is, they do not reflect scientific classification but are merely common names. In general, animals called “frogs” have smooth moist skin and tend to live in the water, while “toads” have warty dry skin and live mainly on land. There are plenty of exceptions, however. The family Bufonidae is considered to include the “true toads,” such as your common garden-variety toad of the genus Bufo. However, many species in other families are also called toads.
We’re using common english terms, which don’t always match up with what scientists would say. Toads are not generally considered to be a subset of frogs. Amphibians are divided into three groups: salamanders, anurans(frogs and toads), and caecilians. Toads are dry-skinned, usually bumpy, and terrestrial. Frogs are usually wet-skinned, smoother and semi-aquatic. These distinctions are not quite that distinct in practice. The archtypical toads belong to the genus Bufo, and the classic frogs are in the genus Rana.
So I’d be correct in saying that frogs and toads are different. There is a distinction. I was made fun of for saying they were different.
I would agree that they are different in layman’s terms. To scientists, the terms are pretty much useless. To you and me, there are toads of the genus Bufo on one end of a continuum, and the frogs of the genus Rana on the other end, very distinct groups of animals. These happen to be the most commonly seen amphibians in the US, so most people can picture toad and frog based on having seen a Fowler’s toad or a leopard frog. In between, there are tree frogs of the genus Hyla, which are sometimes called tree toads, sheep frogs, poison dart frogs (which have quite a bit in common with toads), and other anurans which are a little harder to lump in one group or the other.
Thanks. So the distinction is a usefull one(at least in casual conversation). Saying frogs and toads are the same would be like saying lions and cats are the same.
It might be noted that the distinction between “frog” and “toad” is based on the amphibian fauna of Britain, which is notably lacking in diversity. In fact, there are only four native species of anurans, two frogs of the genus Rana (family Ranidae), the Common Frog Rana temporaria and the Pool Frog Rana lessonae; and two toads of the genus Bufo (family Bufonidae), the Common Toad Bufo bufo and the Natterjack Toad Bufo calamita. These two genera are quite different in appearence and habits, and when English names were applied to species outside Britain, they were usually called either frogs or toads depending on their resemblence to one or the other of these groups, regardless of the actual relationships.
Yes. The names refer to animals that are different in appearence. Not everyone might agree, however, which species are frogs and which are toads. The Surinam Toad, for example, is aquatic, rather than terrestrial as are the classic “toads,” but is called a toad because it is short-legged and ugly.
Not exactly, since lions are cats. Perhaps a better analogy would be between whales and dolphins; the categories are based more on size than actual relationships.