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Drying-up toad (Xerobufo xeroderma)

By AlexSone
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Drying-up toad (Xerobufo xeroderma)
Order: Anura (Anura)
Family: Toads (Bufonidae)
Habitat: mountain "oases" of the Mediterranean hollow on a place of Cyprus island.
The habitat, than the Mediterranean hollow is difficult to find less suitable for amphibians. Almost constant day heat, layers of salts at the bottom of the dried sea, salt reservoirs – all this is hardly suitable for the majority of amphibians, owners of damp skin and almost deprived adaptations for moisture retention in the organism. And certainly, in such conditions there can't live their larvae at all – tadpoles. Nevertheless, one specimen of the amphibians could be found even in this severe desert. More precisely, it is the inhabitant of "oases", the former islands, and nowadays simply mountains rising from a bottom of the sea. Mountains serve as peculiar catchers and stores of moisture which can support life of the amphibious.
The inhabitant of the Mediterranean hollow is a drying-up toad. Dry skin of this creature allows to be some time in the sun though the drying-up toad spends considerable part of time in karst cracks. This is a light gray toad of typical shape, up to 8 cm long. It has bumpy skin and the large parotid glands containing strong poison, causing long irritation of mucous membranes of the predator which has grabbed this amphibian. Membranes on paws are strongly reduced, and the bottom surface of paws is covered with the become horny callosities, allowing to climb on stones and to maintain heat from a heated surface of the soil.
Without possessing remarkable appearance, this toad strongly differs from the relatives by features of physiology. It as the camel, can lose a large amount of liquids from tissues of a body and is capable to dry more strongly than other amphibians, without losing viability. In the most extreme cases the amphibian loses to a half of the water containing in a body in norm, and turns into the real live skeleton capable, nevertheless, to move and breathe. Skin of a drying-up toad possesses the developed system of capillaries, especially on a belly. It allows to absorb moisture, including dew quickly. At big losses of moisture, however, this toad falls into a peculiar catalepsy: the body shrinks in a lump, paws are drawn in under it, and all vital processes in such condition are the extremely braked. Having felt the moisture presence, the drying-up toad becomes animated. It creeps in the direction of bigger concentration of water vapor in air and in such a way finds a water source – usually dew on stones or a stream among a karst. Having found the water, the drying-up toad starts filling up internal stocks of moisture. For this purpose it simply lays down in water and absorbs it through skin capillaries. On the stones covered with dew, it dexterously climbs by means of tenacious paws.
The most vulnerable place in life cycle of this species is a larval stage which development surely requires water. Because of it the drying-up toad breeds very irregularly, one time in some years when in karstic reservoirs a few of water after a rain remains. At this time all individuals of this species direct to the reservoirs formed among a karst where arrange active marriage games. Male override females in a characteristic manner for toads and drive away rivals from the chosen female, biting them and making abrupt roaring sounds. In a laying about one hundred eggs usually is. In dry years some females, having found a water source, do "fast" layings of 20 – 30 eggs which fully develop. Tadpoles eat any food of the suitable size – in the beginning microscopic algas and protozoa, then larvaes of insects and the one another. Cannibalism outbreaks at tadpoles of this species usually happen shortly before a metamorphosis. Within about one month tadpoles grow, pass metamorphoses, turn in small toads and pass to life on a land. They keep in karstic labyrinths where it is easier to find a shadow and the damp soil.
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bhut's avatar
Здорово получилось!
AlexSone's avatar
JWArtwork's avatar
W:omfg:w, this is amazing! :wow: Very well done! :)
electreel's avatar
Wow, this is incredible!
Amplion's avatar
Отличная жабка! Лапы передние какие мощные!
AlexSone's avatar
Спасибо! Правда получилось несколько не так, как было задумано.
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