New toad species happy with one-day stands

(No.3, Vol.3, Apr 2013 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

I discovered cóc vàng xanh or green-yellow toad in July, 2012 at Song Mong River, Ham Thuan Nam District, Binh Thuan Province, South Central Vietnam. The female toads are 3.5cm long and male toads 3cm long. Both of them are green, but the males will change to light yellow in their breeding season. The toad has not been given a scientific name yet. And the discovery has not been announced in any international scientific journal.
The yellow and green toad lays eggs twice a year, in fifth and seventh months of the lunar calendar, next to the edge of still waters. Finding mates and laying eggs will take them only one morning. They start calling at 4 a.m., and the males will change to yellow to attract the females. By 8 a.m., the males who can will find their mates; they will hold the females’ backs tight and they will dive under the water together.

Green-yellow toad couple

However, not every male will find its mate. In fact, about 30 per cent of them can’t find one, and it creates a challenge. Toad pairs with experience can ‘fall in love at first sight’ and immediately hold each other and dive under the water; others who are ‘shy’ and don’t get to ‘business’ fast will have to compete with the other males who haven’t had their mates yet.
The toad is an amphibian. It lives terrestrially, but if needed, it can dive under water for hours. The female toad can lay a string of eggs, up to 1m long, which can include hundreds of them. The toads’ eggs will stick tightly to any fixture under water.
After three hours of underwater mating, the male and female toads will come out of the water and leave each other. The male will immediately change to green, crawl to the ground and quickly jump away. After three days, the eggs will hatch into tadpoles and a new life cycle will begin.
* Le Hoai Phuong is a freelance animal researcher

A male green-yellow toad

Green-yellow toad couple

Green-yellow toads changing their colour

Text and photos by Le Hoai Phuong*
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