A new non-native species on Abaco: the Eastern narrow-mouthed toad.

While grabbing a late-night dinner in Dundas town last night, I heard a chorus of shrill, nasal bleats emanating from behind the building. I recognized the call right away as the mating call of the Eastern narrow-mouthed toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis). The Eastern narrow-mouth toad is native to the Southeastern United States and while it has been recorded from New Providence, and Grand Bahama, this is the first observation of them (as far as I can tell) from Abaco (see here for a list of species).

The narrow-mouthed toad is not actually a toad, but a strange and wonderfully diverse group of frogs – Microhylidae. These frogs are found throughout the warmer portions of Africa, South America, Australia and Asia. This group includes some exceptionally beautiful species (for example) as well the world’s smallest vertebrate (Link). They also have some interesting relationships with other species. For example, many species have close (not metaphorically) symbioses with tarantulas in which they share burrows – presumably to their mutual benefit, but that is still simply a hypothesis.

The Eastern narrow-mouthed toad is a small and innocuous little beast.

The Eastern narrow-mouthed toad is a small and innocuous little beast.

Eastern narrow-mouthed toads are small frogs, only about 2.5 cm long. And as their name suggests, they have small mouths at the end of their pointed faces. They can be quite variable in coloration ranging from gray to reddish, but they typically display two lateral stripes along the sides of their back. Their habitat is also quite variable, but they need fresh water to breed (puddles or shallow ponds will do) and can be found hiding underneath logs and rocks near these ponds. Their diet consists of tiny invertebrates like ants and termites, but as tadpoles they filter small particles from the water.

Anyways, the Eastern narrow-mouth chorus I heard was fairly large (at least a few dozen) suggesting that this population is fairly well established here in Marsh Harbour. Over the next month or so I will be keeping an eye and ear out for more choruses. I would really like to find a specimen since I was only able to identify them based on their call – which is quite distinct and sounds like a bleating lamb with a stuffy nose (Listen here). If you hear this call, which is distinct from the Cuban Treefrog’s call (Listen here) please let me know as I would love to get more information about where they are on the island. 

Hopefully, I’ll have an update soon.



By | 2017-12-01T14:02:15-04:00 May 7th, 2015|Categories: Featured, herpetology, Invasive Species|4 Comments

About the Author:

Sean Giery
I am an evolutionary ecologist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. My research investigates how basic ecological interactions control fundamental biological processes such as sexual selection, communication, and predation.


  1. Avatar
    Rolling Harbour May 30, 2016 at 8:13 am

    I realise that in appearance, this is clearly a toad. Yet it’s a actually frog. So the name seems a bit odd. Maybe ‘Eastern narrow-mouthed toad-like frog’ might cover it? I wonder if there are frog-like species that are in fact toads. Time for a Google session!

  2. Avatar
    Austin October 12, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Are these common in North Carolina, while playing with my son I believe we may have found one burrowing in a hole filled with loose dirt, it’s redish in color I myself have never seen this type of frog around these parts

  3. Sean Giery
    Sean Giery December 14, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Austin,
    Yes, these little frogs are rather common in North Carolina. They like to dig in loose dirt and can often be found by flipping rocks and logs. It’s not hard to overlook them, even when abundant. The color can vary from place to place, but the fold of skin behind the eyes is diagnostic.
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Avatar
    Justyn Phelps May 20, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Very informative!! I just found 2 under a pot that was sitting on a dead tree stump!! Learned a new species today!! I will listen for their call tonight. Love finding new creatures!! Thank you!!

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