Asian spined toad

Alert

Have you seen Asian spined toad?

Be on the lookout for Asian spined toad and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling Asian spined toad.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Native to Asia from Pakistan to Indonesia, the Asian spined toad looks similar to the cane toad. The two species are closely related and share many biological attributes.

The Asian spined toad is an invasive species that has naturalised in many regions of the world, including in Indonesia outside of its native range, on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean, and in New Guinea and East Timor. It has not yet been recorded in Queensland, but its ability to hitchhike on cargo means it is likely to arrive here at some point. If naturalised in Australia, the Asian spined toad is likely to have impacts comparable to those of the cane toad.

The Asian spined toad is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Bufo melanostictus

Other names

  • Asian spined toad, Southeast Asian toad, Asian common toad, spectacled toad, common Indian toad, black-spined toad, common Sunda toad, black-lipped toad, keeled-nosed toad, South Asian garden toad, black-spectacled toad, house toad, Asiatic toad, Asian eyebrow-ridge toad, Asian black-spotted toad, Javanese toad

Similar species

Description

  • Stocky toad generally 55-85mm long.
  • Head has elevated bony ridges.
  • Parotoid glands behind each eye are prominent, oval, and as long as eye and snout combined.
  • Colour is highly variable, most commonly yellow-brown marked with dark red-brown streaks and spots, but can also be grey, red or dark brown.
  • Back is covered with round warts.
  • Easily confused with cane toads.

Habitat

  • Prefers disturbed forests, forest margins, riparian areas, urban and urban fringe areas.
  • Survives in temperate, subtropical and tropical habitats from sea level to 2,000m.
  • Adults require shelter during day under rocks, leaf litter, logs, drains, rubbish piles and houses.
  • Breeding requires still and slow-flowing water, including temporary and permanent ponds, pools, creeks and drains. Tadpoles can tolerate brackish water.

Distribution

  • Not yet recorded in Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Metamorphosis depends on environmental factors, but occurs in approximately 34-90 days.
  • Life expectancy is 4 years in wild and 10 years in captivity.
  • Sexual maturity depends on body size (approximately 23g).
  • Breeding depends on rainfall and temperature.
  • Up to 40,000 eggs are laid per clutch and develop into larvae in 24-48 hours.

Affected animals

  • Native fish
  • frogs
  • birds and possibly quolls

Impacts

Environmental

  • Poisonous to most predators.
  • Tadpoles may prey on native invertebrates and aquatic vertebrate larvae.
  • Competes with native species for resources.

Social

  • Urban nuisance in backyards.
  • Potential poison threat to pets.

Natural enemies

  • Tadpoles are prey for water snakes and carnivorous tadpoles.
  • Asian spined toads are prey for crows and checkered keelback snakes. Larger toads are likely to poison a range of predators.

Control

Early detection is essential for preventing pest establishment. If you have seen or are in possession of an Asian spined toad please contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Legal requirements

  • Asian spined toad is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be kept, moved, fed, given away or sold without a permit.
  • The Act requires that all sightings to be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of Asian spined toad escaping until they receive advice from an authorised officer.

Further information