Its raining toads!
Follow the tales of Saptarshi Mukherjee’s chance finding of a pair of mating Marbled Toad in Asansol, Chotonagpur Plateau.
It was a rainy evening of 3rd July 2017 in Asansol, when I sat on my balcony to enjoy the rains. Suddenly I heard a mating call of a toad which was definitely not the call of an Asian Common Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus). I walked down to my garden and found that the mating couple was a pair of Indian Marbled Toad (Duttaphrynus stomaticus). This was perhaps the first record of that particular species from the Chotonagpur Plateau region of West Bengal.
The Marbled Toad is a medium sized toad, easily distinguishable from the Common Toad by the absence of Cranial Ridges, the black cornified area of the upper lip and less warty skin. Its coloration is Grey or olive above with darker marblings. Ventral side and upper lip are white, which easily distinguishes it from the Asian Common Toad.
The females of this species are larger than males. A male develops a light bright yellowish tint season and has a singular vocal sac and has black cornified patches on the inner aspect of the first and second finger during the breeding season. The dorsum is tuberculated, with the crown of the head above parotid glands smooth or with few scattered tubercles. A row of white tubercles and wart with horny layer are found along outer aspect of the forearm; ventrally coarsely granular with wart but the chin and throat are smooth. The Marbled toad is brownish with white dorsal and dorsolateral stripes and speckled with a ‘V’ – shaped mark on the shoulder. The flank and limbs are also light brownish grey with white stripes and speckle. A white line connects the orbit while the ventral surface is dull.
Their recorded mating behavior within the city have been observed in shallow rainwater pools, although I found them under heavy rainfall, on a concrete slab. The male was on the female. The call of the male was distinctive which is easily distinguishable from that of the Common Toad.
This species is widely distributed in Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh, also common in West Bengal, along with the Gangetic plain. But in Chota Nagpur Plateau region of West Bengal, it is a rare species and is perhaps the first photographic documentation from the region.
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