Mr Burns beaked toad (Rhinella sp. nov.)

Also known as: beaked toad
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAmphibia
OrderAnura
FamilyBufonidae
GenusRhinella (1)
SizeLength:  c. 2 cm (1)
Top facts

Mr Burns beaked toad is not yet classified on the IUCN Red List.

The tiny Mr Burns beaked toad (Rhinella sp. nov.) was first discovered by an expedition of scientists from Conservation International and other organisations in 2010, and was named for its unusually long, nose-like snout. This bizarre appendage gives Mr Burns beaked toad a resemblance to the Simpsons television series character Mr Burns, earning the small amphibian its comical common name (1).

This beautiful, newly discovered frog is speckled with orange dots and blue wavy lines (2).The colouration and long snout of Mr Burns beaked toad help disguise it against the dead leaf litter on which it lives (1), and its small size also makes it less visible to predators (3). 

Mr Burns beaked toad was discovered in the Chocó region of western Colombia (2).

The Chocó region of western Colombia where Mr Burns beaked toad was found is mountainous, and covered with thick, intact and unexplored rainforest (4).

There is currently no information available on the biology of Mr Burns beaked toad. However, it is believed to lay its eggs on the forest floor, and the eggs are thought to hatch directly into toadlets, thereby skipping the tadpole stage. This behaviour is quite unusual among toad species (1). 

No specific threats to Mr Burns beaked toad are currently known. However, Colombia’s frogs are valued highly by collectors for their striking appearance, as well as for their potential in the pharmaceutical industry. Chemicals in the skin of many amphibians are being studied for potential cures to many human diseases, such as cancer and HIV (5).

It is predicted that the gold mining industry could soon take a greater interest in Colombia. If this were to happen, areas such as Chocó that are becoming safer to visit due to a crackdown on rebel groups could become threatened by habitat exploitation and destruction. Thousands of species within the region could also be extinguished (5).  

Organisation Fundación ProAves is aiming to purchase private land in the Chocó region from farmers, in order to establish guarded amphibian reserves to protect species such as Mr Burns beaked toad (5). No other specific conservation measures are currently known to be in place for Mr Burns beaked toad.

Find out more about Mr Burns beaked toad and about the scientific expedition to Colombia:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

  1. Conservation International (2010) Search for ‘lost’ frogs leads to three new amphibian treasures. Conservation International Press Releases, 15 November. Available at:
    http://www.conservation.org/newsroom/pressreleases/Pages/New_Frogs_Colombia.aspx
  2. Moore, R. (2010) Lost frogs update: three new species discovered in Colombia. Conservation International Blog, 16 November. Available at:
    http://blog.conservation.org/2010/11/lost-frogs-update-three-new-species-discovered-in-colombia/
  3. Kluger, J. (2010) Top ten new species of 2010. Time Magazine, 9 December. Available at:
    http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2035319_2034045_2034039,00.html
  4. Bergen, M. (2010) Lost frogs: Colombia. Conservation International Articles, 30 September. Available at:
    http://www.conservation.org/FMG/Articles/Pages/search_lost_frogs_colombia_robin_moore.aspx
  5. Cooke, L. (2010) In search of the lost frog of Colombia. The Telegraph, 18 November. Available at:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/8140419/In-search-of-the-lost-frog-of-Colombia.html