Last year I reported on hearing a chorus of narrow-mouthed toads (Gastrophryne carolinensis) here on Abaco (link to original post). However without a specimen I couldn’t confirm its presence here. Almost exactly a year later a high school student, Donte Richard, remembered that post and called my attention to an adult in his backyard.
This new observation is about 850 meters from where I heard them chorusing. This distance, while not huge, does suggest that these little frogs are relatively widespread within portions of Marsh Harbour that include Central Pines and Dundastown. This is corroborated by several folks that have reported the bleating call of narrow-mouthed toads from these areas.
The shallow, freshwater marshes common in this area likely provide breeding habitats although tadpoles or eggs have yet to be found. These tough little frogs are also fairly tolerant of salt (for a frog) and can use coastal habitats with moderate salt concentrations (I found a reference citing ~ 5ppt). For more on the natural history of these little frogs see the previous post (link) or simply give a quick Google.
These frogs which are native to the southeastern US are already established on Grand Bahama, New Providence, and the Cayman Islands (see Powell and Henderson 2012). With Abaco added to the list of islands we see a distribution pattern that echoes another recent invader (the corn snake). Perhaps they share a similar route of entry? Whether or not the narrow-mouthed toad poses any real threat to Abaco’s native flora and fauna is unknown. However, given their diet of small invertebrates (ants, mites, termites), it seems unlikely that they could pose any substantial risk. That said, who knows?
With this new observation, it’s clear that Abaco has a new addition to its vertebrate fauna, the eastern narrow-mouthed toad. Additional observations from Marsh Harbour, and elsewhere on Abaco would be great. It would also be important to know if these little frogs have made it to different islands like Eleuthera or the Exumas? Keep an eye and ear open on rainy summer nights when they call from the shallows and cross roads. Check here for a recording of the call (link).